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Moving on to my next adventure

I’ve always believed in the power of an open web. It’s hard to remember now, but we came from a world where only a small number of people could publish and be heard. Those people were chosen by an even smaller set of gatekeepers: predominantly white men who got to decide whose voice mattered. The promise of the web - something we have to work and fight for - is that anyone’s voice can find an audience, without gatekeepers or middlemen.

My work has always been mission-driven. I started by co-founding a white-label social networking platform that was used to teach, to train aid workers at non-profits like Oxfam, and for knowledge sharing inside governments. I was CTO of a startup that allowed video footage to be quickly sent back to newsrooms from some of the most connectivity-challenged environments on Earth, empowering reporting from Syria and the top of Everest. I built a way for anyone to own their own social profile. And I was privileged, as the west coast Director of Investments at Matter Ventures, to support diverse entrepreneurs at 73 startups with the potential to create a more informed, inclusive, and empathetic society.



I started as an engineer, then became a product lead, a startup founder, a human-centered designer, a strategic advisor, and an investor.

It was this work that led me to Unlock: a protocol and platform that allows anyone to make money from their work on the web, independently, without having to ask for permission. Its CEO, Julien Genestoux, believes in the same principles of the open web that I do, and the New York based team we built is one of the best I’ve ever worked with.



My mother is terminally ill, and I need to be in the San Francisco Bay Area to support my parents. While he had originally wanted to build an entirely in-person NYC team, Julien was open to my working remotely. Unfortunately, we’ve come to the conclusion that the team really does need to be all in one place, and that it’s time for me to move on. I continue to be a strong believer in Unlock’s mission, and in particular in Julien and the rest of the team. I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to be able to help wherever I can.

So I’m open. I’m looking for a new role, either in San Francisco or remotely, with a team that shares my ambition to use technology in a way that positively impacts society. But I’ll be honest: I’m not sure what that looks like yet, and I’m not willing to rule anything out. Maybe I’ll wind up founding a new venture; maybe I’ll join an existing team that is doing amazing things; maybe I’ll help a company in another industry, like news or education, with their innovation needs; maybe I’ll cross back over the table and join another investment firm. What I do know is that it’s all about the values and mission of the people I’ll be working with, and about making a positive impact in the world.

If you’d like to chat with me, shoot me an email: I’m at ben@benwerd.com. You can also text or Signal me at +1 (510) 283-3321.