Episode #46 – Peter Thornton: Moving Towards Creative Consumption
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“We have this wheel of destruction which is based on consumption, it’s like a blind consumption. It’s people consuming things looking for short-term pleasures, which have long-term costs.”
As you probably know, this is a podcast about creating a plant-based future. And to do that, we need big ideas.
To give you a heads up – Peter Thornton’s idea does not revolve solely around plant-based solutions, although they feature prominently in it. And it’s about as big as they come – on the scale of blueprints for recreating our society.
As Director of Impact Investment at iProsperity Group in Australia, Peter works with ultra-high net-worth individuals wanting to change the world. And at that level, recreating society is not out of reach.
I am really pleased to have the chance to wrap 2017 with an interview that, instead of focusing on a specific area of plant-based business, takes a bird’s eye view of how things are now, and how they may change. How we might recreate and integrate our educational system, our health system, our food system and our energy systems into an interconnected system designed to lead people towards what Peter calls ‘Creative Consumption’. Where the desires driving our production and purchases revolve around long-term benefits for individuals, society and the environment.
As I said, it’s a big idea. Just the kind we need. And Peter is putting it in motion. If you think this is something that you can contribute to – his LinkedIn contact is in the Show Notes.
Enjoy, and a very happy 2018 from everyone at The Plant-Based Entrepreneur!!
Main things discussed in this episode
- How meditation changed Peter’s life.
- Viewing time as a resource, and investing it in yourself.
- The potential for profit in ‘cleaning things up’.
- Destructive Consumption vs Creative Consumption
- Building an ultra-impact services organization.
- What areas and what companies Peter is looking for.
- What sort of individuals are needed to drive the change.
Jerry Sever [00:43] Because this is our last episode before the holidays, I thought it would be a great opportunity to wrap the year up with an interview that will touch on the overarching theme of this podcast, which is, what sort of future can be built with plant-based business and what negative aspects of our society and culture and be countered by focusing our work and effort on things that make the most impact.
To do that I have with me today Peter Thornton, who is the Director of Impact Investment at iProsperity Group in Australia, and right now, he’s raising a fund specifically aimed at tackling some of the biggest issues that stand between us, and, well, prosperity. It’s a big ambitious idea, but we need those to move forward. I hope that this talk does it justice. Peter, welcome to the show.
Peter Thornton [01:37] Hi Jerry, thanks very much for inviting me.
Jerry Sever [01:40] Thank you for joining me. I’m really glad we’ve got this opportunity to talk about what you’re doing before you actually roll it up because this is right now in the inception phase, you’re just putting everything together to get the ball rolling. I’m really glad that we have the chance to talk about it at the ground floor.
Before we start that, let’s spend a few minutes just talking about you – where you’re coming from, and what drove you to this point.
Peter Thornton [02:13] Okay. Well, that’s a nice segue way to look into why I’m here. I think, like all of us, we’re on this planet and we go… who are we, what are we doing…why are we here.. and we sort of roll along with life as it unfolds in front us. We navigate as best we can to look for happiness. If you’re like me, you’re very lucky…I was born in a country which has so much of everything, so much abundance. Yet in the midst of all that, I found that I was very unhappy. Even though I had everything that I needed. I had a roof, I had shelter, I had food, I had pretty much everything I wanted, but I could never fill that bottomless bucket with what society was offering. I just couldn’t find any sustained happiness.
About 25 years ago, I was fortunate to take 10 days out and experience meditation for the first time in my life in a pristine environment with a great organization where I got to meditate in silence like a monk or a nun for 10 days.
Jerry Sever [03:20] Was it Vipassana?
Peter Thornton [03:21] Yes, that was Vipassana, yes. It was actually an enthralling event and it changed my life for the better. I was somebody that was quietly troubled…I don’t know the correct phrase…ADHD or AHDD, or all of the terms, but I probably had them all, and a little bit disturbed internally. I had been reading a whole lot of things about how to be in the moment, how to let go…and what works to resolve…all of these things that I was going through, yet nothing seemed to be working for me. When I went to this course and I experienced the silence, and the meditation technique, and just the way that it was very practical and scientific, it really just opened up my eyes. I had hope in my life that I suddenly knew that I had the ability to change my life for the better.
So,twenty-five years later, and I’ve been practicing meditation daily now for that period of time. I get to go away for long periods of time, 45 days at a time, in silence. I still manage to get that into my life. When you have that kind of a practice, and you look at the world, you can’t really be part of the world and not want to be part of the solution when you see so many problems that are around you. I’ve been struggling with this ever since I first meditated.
I tried, at first, to do a plant-based show, which was called Live and Let Live on community TV in Brisbane, where I was at the time. I got about six episodes up. I think that was in the early 90s. It was pretty much food, fun, fitness, fashion and finance, and how all of those things are interlinked, and how each of those activities can be part of the solution. I was looking back then at a vegan lifestyle and had a vegan chef on there, and ethical finance and ethical investment, looking at all the companies that were providing part of the solution. I think there were some guys that were creating Not Burgers and a whole range of things, who came on the show. It was very exciting, but I was an entrepreneur, and entrepreneurs, sometimes they fail quite a lot, or they find new bright shiny things and they chase them! I went on this journey, and unfortunately, I never got to fulfil that, maybe I was a long time before my time. You can certainly see all those types of programs and shows growing now, such as your own in getting some purchase and offering a lot of support and information to people around the world.
So how did I get here to iProsperity Group? I was just very lucky. I was a serial entrepreneur. I tried a lot of things and had some quite big failures in my life. I got married to my wife, whom you met, who’s very passionate about plant-based food right now. But, I had to go into a call-centre, I actually had to start again. I was getting married and I just had to get back into the workforce. Fortunately, within a couple of years, I progressed. I was in a telco environment and was made redundant, and as I was made redundant, I was forced to go back to entrepreneurial ways.
This time I was very lucky, I had really good partners, and it became quite successful. Our first customers were Malaysian Airlines, and Bayview Hotels in Australia, which enabled us to move on. The company has grown and is still doing quite well today. From that opportunity, my partners were able to go and raise some capital in China, which opened up a whole new avenue of opportunities for us, and that’s where the iProsperity Group began. We’ve been successful in growing and now have 1.6 billion assets under management. Being fortunate enough to be part of this group, I feel a great responsibility to look at how we can be part of the solution. So, that seed is still there. If I’m not being part of the solution, I feel that I am being part of the problem. I find that some of the time I’m part of the problem, some of the time I’m part of the solution. So the focus is how I can be more continuously part of the solution. I looked at impact investment last year, and I couldn’t quite get my head around how to enter the impact investment arena. Then this year, my wife introduced me to a whole food plant-based diet. I had been vegetarian for 20 odd years, predominantly, but I’d been an unhealthy vegetarian, very high in oils, and fats and cheeses. I would eat junk food and all sorts of things. My weight ballooned at one stage to 135 kilograms. Now, in the last 12 months, since my wife has got me onto a wholefood plant-based diet, all the junk food has just gone, all the addictions have gone, and my weight has stabilized and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. And it came to me as I was studying all the literature and listening to all of the great teachers in this movement of whole food plant-based that that was an ideal catalyst for change on the planet because it looked after the health of the individual, and at the same time it looked after the health of the planet. So I thought there’s a 360-degree benefit here. It’s the only diet that is scientifically proven to reverse heart disease and at the same time has such a profound positive effect on the environment. It seems to me, as said by Dr Greger, it should be the default diet for humanity until something comes up otherwise.
From an impact investment perspective, I said well how do we do that from farm to table, how do I actually make food central; looking at food systems, looking at education, looking at how we can support this growth or the health of the individual throughout society through business. What kind of businesses are out there that we can invest in? So, the impact investment fund started, and we’ve identified about five opportunities now that we’re securing for our portfolio and it’s a very exciting time, and we have a great vision for the future.
Jerry Sever [09:38] I think you’ve just fed me so much there that I want to dig into a little deeper before we actually start talking about the impact investment part.
First of all, you said that you’re taking up to 45 days off in silence. Is that like going on a retreat, or just going somewhere all on your own and meditating in silence for 45 days?
Peter Thornton [10:02] No, I’m very fortunate in that there is a number of meditation centres around the world where I can attend a 45-day retreat in silence and they happen throughout the year. It’s organized through the Vipassana organization, and it’s a course that once you’ve completed a number of 10-day courses and gone through some foundational training, that there’s a great opportunity to go deeper into the practice which I find absolutely extraordinary. I feel as though when I am there on the 45 days, I am doing the right thing for myself and for the planet, because I’m changing the habit pattern in my mind. I see that the biggest issue that we have in society is that it all starts at the level of the mind, and if we can master our minds, we can master a way to live on the planet sustainably.
Jerry Sever [11:00] That’s one part of the equation. The other that really seems phenomenal to me is that with everything that you do, and this fund that you’re managing, you still find 45 days when you can just disconnect from everything. I think that’s a very rare skill that probably more entrepreneurs should be working on, but it’s super rare.
Peter Thornton [11:24] It is the thing, it’s difficult to find time. Time is the number one resource on the planet that we all require, and it’s the one that’s limited. There’s only so much time that we have on the planet. When you discover something that makes best use of your time in a way that nothing else does, it becomes a prerogative. It’s like “ I don’t really have a choice in my life, I still feel as though, if I don’t make that effort I’m wasting a huge opportunity because life is so short.”. So while it seems like a lot of time, it’s an investment; an investment into developing myself so that I can make the best use of my time. It ends up being approximately 10% of the year, and thereabouts, so it’s like a charitable donation to myself.
Jerry Sever [12:11] That’s a very good way to describe it. And the other term that you used ”investment”, I totally agree on that because things like that, taking care of yourself, even just making sure you get an extra hour of sleep per night. Those are the things that can actually multiply your output in the time that you are working, but once again, I think it’s a rare skill that much fewer people have developed than that should have.
Peter Thornton [12:39] Yes, I would certainly recommend to anybody here that hasn’t had the opportunity to take 10 days out for their life in such a beautiful environment, which is non-dogmatic, it’s actually a gift. It’s like this pay it forward opportunity where there is no charge for you to go and do the course. And you’re able to, at the end of it, depending on your experience and your capacity, make a donation for someone else, and pay it forward so somebody else can go and attend the course. That’s such a beautiful thing in this world. It’s unbelievable, the food, and everything there is provided for you, and the education, the training and the support are quite outstanding.
Jerry Sever [13:20] It’s available actually in centers around the world.
Peter Thornton [13:24] Yes, everywhere.
Jerry Sever [13:26] That’s the nice thing about Vipassana.
The other thing that I wanted to explore before we get to impact investing, you said that iProsperity actually grew from the other business that you started before. Was that the ICT business that you started?
Peter Thornton [13:45] That’s correct, yes. I’ll give it a plug, it’s called Planet Tel. It’s a small business-to-business telecom company in Australia, which is still doing quite well and it has quite a number of great clients, that it looks after extremely well. That was just good fortune and good partners, the team is everything.
Jerry Sever [14:07] We’re getting closer now, but I know that you work with a lot of Asian investors, and mostly Chinese, right, from what I understand?
Peter Thornton [14:15] Yes, that’s correct.
Jerry Sever [14:17] What’s their approach to impact investing? Or how much interest is there among those individuals to support such world-changing ideas as you’re putting forth here?
Peter Thornton [14:29] Well it’s extraordinary. Some of the greatest impact investors in the world come from China. If you look at Huang Ming who built Solar Valley in Dezhou; he’s extraordinary, he’s out there, that’s 550,000 people in a solar city.
So, for me, it’s like collaborating with people like Huang Ming and other great people around the world and saying how can we integrate the food solution into that whole model, the education solution. If we can integrate that in with renewables and recyclables, food systems, education systems and government systems, then we can really start to make a change. And I see that currently, we have this wheel of destruction based on consumption, it’s like a blind consumption. It’s people consuming things looking for short-term pleasures, which have long-term costs. It’s like we’re not really aware of the impact of what we’re doing to ourselves and to the planet. We don’t actually see it because there are things inside it that give us momentary pleasure, which blinds us to the reality, it’s like sugar-coated poison pills. To make change in that environment where people are literally addicted to their habit patterns and to the food that they’re eating, it’s like walking into an opium den where everybody’s on crack and trying to tell them right now, “It’s time to get off, it’s time to change.”
It’s an enormous opportunity to work with people and collaborate and see how we can integrate solutions within business that are profitable, that create the cycle of change. So it’s something that’s based on creative consumption, things that we can share which have got benefits in the present, and benefits in the future.
Jerry Sever [16:26] How did you phrase it; ‘short-term pleasure with long-term negative impact?’. Was that the term that you used?
Peter Thornton [16:35] Yes, well ‘destructive consumption’.
Jerry Sever [16:39] I think that’s a very good way of describing what’s probably one of the biggest problem of the world, is right now, the way that we are consuming things without really giving much thought to what that means.
Peter Thornton [16:57] We have no idea. We have a very short-term focus on our requirements. If, for example, and I’m not a doctor or anything like that, but as I understand it, when cancer starts growing in your body you don’t suddenly go; “Oh, cancer’s growing in my body, I better do something about it, I better prevent it, I better take care”. As I’ve heard many people end up at the doctors not even knowing that they have cancer, and then have tests, and somebody says; “ Oh, you need to come back and have further tests.” They don’t feel as though there’s anything wrong with them. Then suddenly they find out they have things growing inside them that are going out of control.
That’s a bit like what’s happening with us in society. We turn up to our lives, into our screens, into our devices, and everything is great. We do hear things in the peripheral about problems, like through your show, or through documentaries, or through talking to other people that are acutely aware and wanting to make a change. But otherwise, once those small moments pass, everything looks fine and everything’s ok, the problem is not on our doorstep, the problem is not in our house.
Jerry Sever [18:14] Yes, it just that nagging voice that’s telling you that maybe you should stop smoking, or maybe you shouldn’t drink so much, or maybe you really shouldn’t reach for those cookies late at night, but you just kind of push it away.
Peter Thornton [18:19] Yes, so the opportunity is there through your program and other programs, and through education, and through a collaborative approach to raise the awareness. Not only just raise the awareness of the problem, because it’s like, “Ok, we know there’s a problem!”, but provide solutions that enable people to change their habit patterns, to have alternatives. You know, to have a wholefood plant-based diet at the moment is really difficult. No one really actually provides wholefood plant-based restaurants.
Jerry Sever [18:50] Remember what happened in the restaurant in that hotel in Cancun when we ordered a meal?
Peter Thornton [18:56] Yes, so no one really understands what that means. We know vegan, everyone knows vegan is not animals, but it does not necessarily mean’ healthy’. There are a lot of healthy vegans, but to be vegan you don’t have to be healthy, there’s a lot of vegan junk food, it’s like mixing salt, sugar, and fat together and we’re helping the environment. But hey, we’re not doing much for our obesity, or for our health, or for our heart attacks, or for any of those follies of lifestyle that make life better.
Jerry Sever [19:27] Now we are kind of starting to get into the thrust of your idea. How do you propose to address all this?
Peter Thornton [19:37] Great question. Fundamentally, profit and purpose interlink. The cost of actually cleaning up the planet right now is prohibitive, as the more damage we cause, the more opportunity there is to clean it up, so there’s actually a lot of money to be made in cleaning up the planet. Pollution is an epidemic throughout the world , and health is an epidemic, so there are a lot of opportunities for providing solutions that can be very profitable. Finding those profitable solutions is one, because we actually need energy to reverse the wheel and working collaboratively with entrepreneurs who are great at what they’re doing and helping them by supplying them with information and education for them and for the people that they work with will enable them to develop more and more ideas that can increase the energy required to change the direction.
Profit is the extremely important one. So where are the profit centers at the moment? Obviously, there’s a lot of opportunity in the clean meats and the plant-based milks and the alternatives to dairy and the alternatives to meat, and all of those things that are going out. But that’s not what where I want to focus, because people are focusing on that, there’s a lot of money going into that sector right now, into vegan enterprise. I want to focus from the perspective of health, because I see that’s where the biggest benefit is. It may be a little bit slower to start with, but it’s focusing on the influences, and focusing on education. Without going into detail, cause I would love to, but anyone that’s interested to find out more about the portfolio and the exact things that we’re doing, I’d love to share that with you under confidentiality, just in the interests of some of the things that we’re working on at the moment at an early stage.
Predominantly there’s an opportunity for health to provide services that are integrated in a way that they can go into our gymnasiums, into our hospitals, into our schools, into our governments working with people who want to set up an inter-government organization capable of doing that, and have set up the structures where they’re integrating the education so that it gets into the precedence of countries, working with industry…putting together a mastermind group of people that are aligned…that would like to leverage their time, intelligence, money, and desire to make a change…putting those groups of people together and creating an even stronger and more collaborative experience for everyone, where we can utilize everyone’s great desire to make the planet change…putting it into an integrated services model, or a hub and spoke model where, as you’re investing in the different things, they all come back into a central integrated services offering, which continues to strengthen the model overall.
I think, to get into details, we have renewables and recyclables; there are some extraordinary opportunities there, in solar and in recycling materials and recycling waste into energy, or recycling waste to be reused in more effective and more efficient ways of recycling, which are very exciting. I think they’re game-changing types of technologies in which we’re looking at the moment, some are in rubber, which is one of the biggest issues on the planet, there’s so much waste.
Jerry Sever [23:10] Yes, you can’t recycle rubber really, not as you can with other plastics.
Peter Thornton [23:16] There’s one company that has got that mastered after a long period of time, and it’s very, very exciting. There are some solar tiles that Tesla made famous that we’ve come across which are a little bit more efficient, and a little bit more effective. They are technology-agnostic and you don’t have to add hot water systems to them. It’s very exciting that there are people building homes that are already off the grid, recreating cities, recreating communities, that have been affected by hurricanes, that have got power shortage problems, and making them more sustainable from the get-go.
The whole idea is how do we integrate these services, and provide the education services into each of these companies, so not only the company’s output, and what is it doing externally, but what’s it doing internally as well. If you’re environmentalists and you’re not eating a plant-based diet, that’s a conflict. If you’re providing your stuff to actually solve the environment’s problems, but everybody in your company is going out there and having a Big Mac or a big barbecue on the weekends, or every day, and they’re not doing anything for their own health, it doesn’t actually match. So, we’re integrating all of these services so that we get a united cause. Then there’s changing the system’s government. It’s quite exciting, but it needs some very smart people.
Jerry Sever [24:38] Yes, it almost sounds like you’re creating this blueprint for recreating the society from the ground up.
Peter Thornton [24:48] It has to change. If we keep doing the same things that we’ve done to get here …
Jerry Sever [24:54] Yes, it sounds like it would ideally; I think the best way to make it work is if you have a blank slate and you could just build it from the ground up. How do you put it into practice on the level of society and development that already exists? How do you make things change so they become more integrated, more sustainable, and more linked together with what you’re proposing?
Peter Thornton [25:22] That’s a great question. The answer is collaborative creation. Everything that we have right now is through agreement, everything we’ll have in the future will come from agreement. It’s agreement between people, so it’s people like you and I coming to a point where we see the vision, and we agree it’s a great vision, and that it can be implemented. Then we take the steps to implement. It’s as simple as that. It is a story of creation, and it is a story of communication. Creation, communication and agreement are what’s required, and great ideas. We need good people, we need intelligent capital, wisdom IQ, and people just to develop their own. If each individual really gets how to develop their wisdom at an early age, the earlier the better, so that they start implementing new ways of living. I have a lot of faith in humanity. It looks like some people on this planet have given up on the earth, and are heading to Mars. We still haven’t given up.
Jerry Sever [26:19] That’s good. I think that we definitely need people who haven’t given up on earth because even if Elon Musk does get us to Mars, it’s probably going to be the most exclusive location for the foreseeable future.
Peter Thornton [26:34] I agree!
Jerry Sever [26:35] It’s not like we’re going to shift five billion people to another planet in the next ten years. So what specifically does this mean for the plant-based sector, because this is the Plant-Based Entrepreneur Show and I totally agree that to create a better future, we definitely need to integrate everything into a system, but for vegan startups or vegan ideas, what specifically are you looking for and how do they connect to all the other parts of this hub and spoke model?
Peter Thornton [27:08] That’s awesome. Food is fundamental to health. It’s like a foundation. For all my friends who are meditators and out there…eat wholefood plant-based, it will support your life, it will help you live longer so that you can give more, and you can do more especially if you’re teachers of meditation, your health is paramount.
From a plant-based business perspective, wow, the opportunities right now are tremendous. The obstacles are tremendous, and the challenges tremendous. I think if you can dream big, get people to go out there and sell your dream, and get people to buy into your dream and believe in your dream. As soon as you start getting one or two people that are connected to your dream, then you’ve got the capacity to grow it exponentially. I don’t think you can limit what you can do because as much as you can imagine, that much you can do. That’s how the great people in the world have done everything. They’ve imagined things that others have never even seen before, and then they’ve gone and made it happen. This is a world of creation. We are creatives. We create our lives every day from the moment we wake up with the stories that we tell ourselves, and the belief patterns that we have and the habit patterns that we’ve established…so become the person that you need to be to be the solution. (The World needs You)
Absolutely a 100% plant-based diet is in everything. When I invest in a renewables company, it comes with the caveat that they actually buy into an education system for a plant-based diet. Not only a plant-based diet, but for self-empowerment for the individuals, so we want them to be at the optimum, we want them to have the knowledge, and the diet to actually make their lives fantastic so that they can influence and spread that information and health throughout their social communities, and have an influence on their spheres of influence.
Jerry Sever [29:04] What about the actual plant-based sector? You said that you’re not really looking for clean meat, plant-based meats, meat alternatives, dairy, or whatever. You’re looking for health and something that actually changes people’s perceptions. So what sort of plant-based startups are you looking for?
Peter Thornton [29:36] One of the opportunities that we’re very, very interested in is greenhouse food systems, where they are able to feed 200,0000 people within four hours from farm to table in one of the most populous areas of the world, where pollution and the food security is a major issue. So that’s a great opportunity, it’s all fresh food, it includes food technology, it includes food systems. There’s a whole bunch of things in there, that a plant-based entrepreneur could excel at; in vertical farming, I really see great opportunities. I see cities of the future where vertical farming is an extraordinary opportunity. If I was to remake places like India, where I’ve spent quite a lot of time, and those very highly dense cities where we have a lot of people living in very high-density lifestyles, I would see that the future for those environments, where we have so many people, in vertical cities, integrated with a system of vertical farming, which has a community-based and plant-based lifestyle integrated; I’d like to see vegan shopping centres, more vegan restaurants, more wholefood vegan, or wholefood plant-based options. If you are going to do plant-based milk, then it’s something that is whole food plant-based compliant, it’s an optimum, so that what you’re getting is reasonably good for you.
Jerry Sever [31:01] Yes, I really like that idea of the vertically integrated farming system, because then that allows you to connect everything together. You can just grow your plants in one spot, and you can actually process everything on that exact same spot as well. Then you can distribute from that spot too, so if you can put all of that in place, you pretty much have a self-sustaining system for any major city, that’s what you get in that.
Peter Thornton [31:33] The idea is if you go up then you actually clear land and bring the land back if you integrate the system into the building, and then maybe 500 meters away you put another one. You take the people that were living over this larger amount of area, and you reduce the area that you’re living in and you go up. You’re bringing the ecosystem back, you bring the environment back, and you bring the jungle back into the cities or the plants back.
So for me, it’s like it would be rebuilding and then remove, obviously changing our agriculture practice, changing our manufacturing processes, changing our power sources, would be a major support for the environment.
Jerry Sever [32:13] What sort of geographical scope do you expect this to have in the beginning? Because, again, what you’re describing seems like a very, very big ambitious idea, just like I said at the beginning. But do you plan to focus primarily on Australia, where you’re based first, or China? Or do you just not want to limit yourself with borders and continents, and go wherever the need is?
Peter Thornton [32:43] At the moment the opportunities that we’re looking at are global in nature, so we perceive that we are in a global economy, a global world, and as I said, profit creates the wheel of motion, it’s just energy. It’s just more and more we require quite a lot of energy to make the shift that’s happening in the world today. We’re not limited by any demographic per se, only in that with our ultra-high net worth mastermind group, which is our investor and our advisory board, that is preferably in the United Nations for investors. So it’s taking away from government, bring it back into business and putting together like-minded power brokers from around the world and then offering the opportunity to leverage their time through collaboration and efficiencies which will enable us all to work on the problem together.
Jerry Sever [33:39] So it doesn’t really matter where it is?
Peter Thornton [33:43] No. I’ve spoken to people in Mexico, as you know, and there are opportunities in Mexico. I’ve spoken to people in Indonesia, there are opportunities there. In Singapore, and obviously in Australia, and Malaysia as well and all of these opportunities that we’ve looked are actually global and scalable. It’s just a matter of timing for everything. Timing needs to synch up, it’s a magical force. In America, there are some more opportunities. So I’m looking forward to where we’ll have a pretty big extraordinary team, by the time we complete all this. We’re in the early stages, and everything’s moving according to plan.
Jerry Sever [34:23] How does the timing/timescale look like for this?
Peter Thornton [34:29] That’s always an interesting question. I don’t know what’s possible tomorrow when I wake up, so I don’t like to limit myself or set unrealistic deadlines. I prefer to leave the option of how fast can we move, what is actually possible. I’m just looking at each day. I’m looking to close first round here in 90 days, which means that we’ll have our team set up and our investments completed, all of our due diligence completed for everybody, and we’re off and running.
Jerry Sever [35:00] Right. What’s the big call to action here? You said the team is everything. You described the kind of people that you’re looking for. Who exactly are you looking for to bring this to life, from investors to portfolio companies, everything?
Peter Thornton [35:17] Masters, mentors, and co-creators – that’s who I’m looking for. We’ve got plenty of investors with IPG, not necessarily all of them are highly focused on impact investing, where in traditional investment. To me, the people that we put on are only a limited size, a maximum of 12 people, (edit 6) that’s super important. So if you’re a master, a mentor, or a co-creator, and you’re there and you’re already doing something that’s good and you want to leverage your time, we’d love to be able to connect you with our network and really empower your ideas through collaboration. If you’ve got investments right now, or opportunities as an entrepreneur, I would highly love to see what you have, we would look at it. If the timing’s right, and if it fits in, and it can slot into our portfolio, we’d love to actually be part of that solution. We definitely also need really, really good opportunities.
Jerry Sever [36:12] A purely technical question, but what stage companies are you looking for?
Peter Thornton [36:17] Proof of concept is where we are right now. If you’ve proved your concept, you’re ready to roll it out, you’ve put your teams pretty much in place, and you just need capital for growth, that would be the ideal customer for us right now. In the future, we will be having quite a large R&D portfolio where we’ll be able to invest in more early-stage startups.
Jerry Sever [36:41] So right now, companies that are probably already generating revenue, and have some traction with an eye to kind of moving proof of concept, so it can be pre-revenue as well?
Peter Thornton [36:54] Yes, it can be pre-revenue proof of concept, but it’s a very strong proof of concept and it’s ready to roll out, it’s all been worked out. The plan is in place, it’s the right time and right opportunity. Then we’ll look at that as well.
Jerry Sever [37:05] Then in the future, it almost sounds like you’re talking about doing some sort of incubator/accelerator model for plant-based companies.
Peter Thornton [37:14] Yes, absolutely. That would be the next stage. It’s step by step.
Jerry Sever [37:18] And will this have a name, or will it just function as part of iProsperity?
Peter Thornton [37:28] Currently everything is under iProsperity Group’s Impact Investment Opportunity. We will be looking at the integrated services model, it may have a set up that might be integral to everything, which would be an ultra-impact integrated services company, that’s something that we would use for the hub. But for the investment, the governance, and the wealth management, it will all be IPG.
Jerry Sever [37:52] All IPG, so when you’re thinking about this, do you have your own personal name for it? Or are you thinking about in terms of IPG?
Peter Thornton [38:01] I’m thinking of IPG Impact Investment, so the ultra-high net worth impact investor master trust.
Jerry Sever [38:09] Nice. So now that we’ve got a pretty good picture of what you’re aiming to do, but if we take it one step forward and just like I said, wrap it up the overarching theme of this podcast is discussing the sort of future that we can build; if you just want to sum up what we’ve been discussing for the past hour, what sort of future are you trying to build here, what’s your best-case scenario that you can imagine?
Peter Thornton [38:38] Okay, that’s a great question. The best-case scenario is we’re a society that has mastered creative consumption. We desire things that are good for us, and good for the planet. We work as a team. We have re-done the system where greed has been removed greatly, and it’s more societal and people feeling more contented within the world. That’s my future. However closer I can get to that future, it’s worth moving in that direction that much closer, it is worth every effort that we make together. I say to all of those that agree with me and want to work together, this is a great opportunity and I encourage you to reach out and connect with me and see what we can do.
Jerry Sever [39:25] Peter, thank you for sharing this. I think like I said, it’s an incredibly ambitious and very far-reaching idea, and I’ll be following this with great interest to see how it develops. You said in the next 90 days you should already have everything in place to get it rolling?
Peter Thornton [39:46] That is, based on all the information that’s in right now, the focus. I feel it’s conceivable and doable.
Jerry Sever [39:53] So the first quarter of 2018 should be interesting.
Peter Thornton [39:58] Awesome.
Jerry Sever [39:59] Once again, thank you for joining me for this last episode of the podcast for 2017. I think it was a pretty good topic to wrap up the year with.
Peter Thornton [40:09] Excellent, thanks very much for your time.
Peter’s profile on LinkedIn
iProsperity group: Main website
The silent meditation retreat that changed Peter’s life and still him to invest time in himself: Vipassana
An example of what can be achieved when you dream big: Solar Valley China
Peter’s previous ICT business: Planet Tel
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