This website serves as a comprehensive overview of Polaris Ventures’ organizational setup and finances.
Organization and goals
Polaris Ventures is an Association domiciled in Switzerland and organized under Swiss law. Polaris Ventures is registered under number CHE-455.562.321 with the Commercial Register of the Canton of Basel-Stadt (Handelsregisteramt des Kantons Basel-Stadt). Its board members are Ruairí Donnelly, David Althaus, Jonas Vollmer, and Daniel Kestenholz.
Polaris Ventures’ purpose, according to its statutes, is as follows:
English (translated version):
Article 2: Purpose
The association aims to improve the quality of life of future generations to the best possible extent. For this purpose, the association in particular promotes the research and implementation of approaches for the prevention of technological risks. Subject areas of particular relevance for this are artificial intelligence, decision and game theory, prioritisation research, moral philosophy and population ethics as well as peace and conflict research.
The association realises its purpose in particular by pursuing scientific research and procuring and granting subsidies. It employs scientific methods to achieve its goals in the most cost-efficient way. The association operates both in Switzerland and abroad.
It does not pursue any commercial interests and is not profit-oriented.
German (original text):
Art. 2 Zweck
Der Verein hat sich zum Ziel gesetzt, die Lebensqualität zukünftiger Generationen möglichst umfassend zu verbessern. Hierzu fördert er insbesondere die Forschung und die Implementierung von Lösungsansätzen zur Vermeidung technologischer Risiken. Besonders relevant hierfür sind die Themenbereiche künstliche Intelligenz, Entscheidungs- und Spieltheorie, Priorisierungsforschung, Moralphilosophie und Populationsethik sowie Friedens- und Konfliktforschung.
Der Verein verwirklicht seinen Zweck insbesondere durch wissenschaftliche Forschung sowie der Fördermittelbeschaffung und -vergabe. Er bedient sich wissenschaftlicher Methoden, um seine Ziele möglichst kosteneffektiv zu erreichen. Er ist im In- und Ausland tätig.
Der Verein verfolgt kein kommerzielles Interesse und ist nicht gewinnorientiert.
Due to the pursuit of charitable purposes and the exclusive and irrevocable dedication of its profits and funds to these charitable purposes, Polaris Ventures has been granted tax exemption by the relevant tax authorities in accordance with the legal requirements.
Polaris Ventures has an external and independent auditor who is subject to the Federal Law on the Licensing and Supervision of Auditors and is licensed as an audit expert by the competent supervisory authority. The auditors examine in particular whether the annual financial statements comply with the legal requirements. Polaris Ventures is also required to submit a questionnaire to the Tax Administration Basel-Stadt every two years. Polaris Ventures has to enclose the financial statements and disclose detailed information on its source of funds, individual amounts, and dates of receipt of funds.
The association is financed exclusively by donations and grants and capital growth from investing its reserves. As a tax-exempt entity in Switzerland, Swiss taxpayers benefit from a tax deduction on their contributions to Polaris Ventures.
Conflicts of interest
Polaris Ventures aims to effectively identify, disclose and manage any actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest to protect the integrity of Polaris Ventures and manage risk.
A conflict of interest occurs when someone’s personal interests conflict with their responsibility to act in the best interests of Polaris Ventures. Personal interests include direct interests as well as those of family, friends, or other organizations a person may be involved with or have an interest in (for example, as a shareholder). It also includes a conflict between a board member’s duty to Polaris Ventures and another duty that the board member has (for example, to another charity).
These situations present the risk that a person will make a decision based on, or affected by, these influences, rather than in the best interests of the charity, and must be managed accordingly. The board is responsible for identifying, disclosing, and managing conflicts of interest across the charity.
Register of interests
- Daniel Kestenholz is a board member and simultaneously paid employee at Polaris Ventures
While we understand that conflicts of interest have downsides, we value the strong commitment of the current board members—both concerning time investment as well as their depth of understanding of Polaris Ventures’ mission—and think that the benefits outweigh the costs.