# Living a Lie: The Truth Behind Ubiquity Ventures' Debut Fund

### There's a "dark" secret hiding behind the "speed of light" size of Ubiquity Ventures' first fund

I've always been fascinated by numbers that hold significance beyond their numeric value. When I launched Ubiquity Ventures 7 years ago, I couldn't resist adding a touch of nerdy charm. **The size of Ubiquity’s debut fund back in 2017, often touted as $30 million, holds a deeper secret** - **it mirrors the exact speed of light in meters per second: $29,979,245.80.**

Since I was a little kid, I’ve been obsessed with this number (exactly 299,792,458 meters/second or roughly 186,282 miles/second) as a perfect unchangeable number built into the fabric of our universe.

But, the speed of light as an unchangeable constant is actually a lie:

**The speed of light is NOT constant!**

Firstly, the notion of the speed of light as an immutable constant is itself a misconception. While it's commonly cited as exactly 299,792,458 meters/second, the reality is far more nuanced. The speed of light changes dramatically based on the medium it is traversing (the previously cited number is only its speed in a total vacuum). In glass, for example, light slows down by over 30% and this is actually critical to how lenses work to focus light. Furthermore, the idea that a human could ever perceive light at its theoretical maximum speed is inherently flawed given that we live in air (where light speed is .03% slower) and our eyeballs are full of fluid (where light can be 20-25% slower). Light speed is all over the place.

**No one can ever know the 1-way speed of light!**

Secondly, the measurement of the speed of light is shrouded in uncertainty. While we can determine the “round-trip time” it takes for light to travel a given distance and back (thanks to an ingenious 1849 experiment involving mirrors), **the true one-way speed of light remains impossible to determine**. Einstein's theory of relativity even underscores this limitation, as the symmetry of light's journey prevents us from discerning its unidirectional velocity with absolute certainty. I didn’t believe this at first, but it turns out **EVERY setup you can craft to measure the 1-way speed of light runs into trouble:** for example, using 2 clocks requires moving one to the finish line, but the act of moving that second clock makes it tick a tiny bit slower while it’s moving. Synchronizing 2 clocks already at a distance is only possible by sending a synchronization signal in advance, but this signal itself moves at the speed of light which is what you’re trying to measure. If this bothers you as much as it bothered me, take a watch of this short YouTube video “Why No One Has Measured the Speed of Light” from Veritasium (Ubiquity is a proud Veritasium sponsor!) for a great explanation. So we’re stuck with measuring the two-way or “round trip” time of light and dividing by 2 (with the assumption that light’s speed is the same in both directions).

**The speed of light is not even about light!**

Lastly, and perhaps most profoundly, the significance of the speed of light transcends its literal interpretation. Beyond being a mere velocity, it symbolizes a fundamental constraint on the fabric of our universe - **the speed of causality**. At its core, it represents the ultimate cosmic speed limit, dictating the boundaries within which all interactions unfold. **No particles in our universe can communicate, impact, or affect any other particles in this universe faster than this speed.** Check out this amazing YouTube video “The Speed of Light is NOT about Light” from PBS SpaceTime. In this light (pun intended), our fixation on the numerical value belies the deeper truth: that our understanding of the universe is bound by the inherent limitations of causality.

So, while the notion of aligning our fund's size with the speed of light may have seemed whimsically poetic, it serves as a poignant reminder of the intricacies that underpin our reality. In embracing the nuances and complexities of the universe, we acknowledge the beauty of uncertainty and the perpetual quest for understanding that drives us forward. Now on to more “nerdy and early” investing!

If you liked this science/nerdy blog post, check out more science-focused UBQT blog posts here.

*Ubiquity Ventures — led by Sunil Nagaraj — is a seed-stage venture capital firm focused on startups solving real-world physical problems with "software beyond the screen", often using smart hardware or machine learning.*

* If your startup fits this description, fill out the 60-second Ubiquity pitch form and you’ll hear back shortly.*