Press Release 9.6.17

The Rockefeller Foundation sponsors DazzleCon, a gathering of Zebra companies

Event that celebrates an alternative to the startup “unicorn” announces initial speaker lineup

PORTLAND, OR & NEW YORK, NY — Today, DazzleCon ( announced that the Rockefeller Foundation ( has joined the Knight Foundation ( and #Angels ( as lead sponsors for an inaugural convening of Zebra companies — a more healthy alternative to the toxic pursuit of unicorn startups. In addition, DazzleCon has released the initial speaker lineup ( for the event to be held in Portland, Oregon, November 15-17, 2017.

Zebras, a group of which is referred to as a dazzle, are an emerging class of companies that generate both profit and social impact, and form the vanguard of a new model of inclusive, ethical social entrepreneurship.

“The Rockefeller Foundation believes building resilient entrepreneurial ecosystems is critical for developing systemic solutions that benefit the most vulnerable in our society,” said Sam Carter, Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation. “It must be addressed by collaborations between foundations, entrepreneurs, public and private investors.”

Speakers for the inaugural event include:

  • Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner, Backstage Capital

  • Carol Sanford, Executive Producer, The Regenerative Business Summit, and

  • VIcki Saunders, Founder, SheEO.


Based on the overwhelming response to the publication of a manifesto, “Zebras Fix what Unicorns Break,” ( the founders of the Zebra movement identified a critical opportunity to support innovative entrepreneurs that fell into the gap between venture-backed startups and social enterprises. The former is designed to spend billions of dollars in support one in a million “unicorn” companies while the latter space is limited to narrow sectors with limited amounts of capital.

DazzleCon will convene founders that sit in this gap with the threefold goal of building a community; identifying challenges, partnerships, and opportunities; and establishing new networks between entrepreneurs, leading foundations, investors, and thought leaders.  

About DazzleCon

Our goal is to gather zebra founders, philanthropists, investors, thinkers, and advocates to meet in person this year for DazzleCon (November 15–17 in Portland, Oregon)— a group of zebras is called a dazzle! — to learn from one another and pool resources, ideas, and best practices, to collectively advance this set of ambitions. From this gathering, we will capture and share the unique patterns that zebra founders and funders are finding, and we’ll turn a loose network into a powerful, cohesive movement.

For more information, please visit