Buyers of first resort

So this is a little bit different, I wrote a piece for the excellent Works in Progress magazine which is linked here and this just to give the general overview of what it’s about.

The basic idea is exploring the concept of being a Buyer of first resort. What is a Buyer of first resort? This refers to any group/entity that steps in to create a market for some technology or service after it has been created but before it has reached the point where it could survive on its own.

I got the term from the excellent work Stripe climate is doing. There, they are using funds to create a market for companies trying to sequester atmospheric CO2. These are companies that need more time to perfect their technology before it can sustain itself against the open market but which have the promise of delivering massive value should they reach a point where they can do so.

In the piece I have a look at other examples of where this type of strategy has been used, from space travel, to vaccines and even looking at potential future uses like nuclear fusion/fission buying. There’s also stuff on why this strategy is even needed when we have things like government subsidies, consumers or private investors and then also a look the types of situations this method may not work so well in.

Overall I think as a strategy there is a lot of promise in having more groups exploit the idea of being a Buyer of first resort and hopefully this piece can help expand the awareness around the concept. So again, do go check it out here and also a big thank you to the whole editorial team who made the piece so much better than I could have on my own.

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