- February 27, 2017
- Posted by: EBAN Team
- Category: News
If you’re looking for a respite from the daily parade of rancorous headlines and doomsday predictions, might I suggest dipping a toe in the world of social impact investing.
I said “yes” to an invite to Impact Engine’s annual showcase the other day, and walked away thinking that what might have been a fleeting fancy seems to be taking root. Not only do companies keep popping up with the dual aim of fixing some social ill while at the same time banking cash, but the pool of investor money willing to stake them seems to be growing.
Chicago-based Impact Engine’s community showcase used to be a feel-good rollout of a handful of startup pitches. But this year the event featured as many impact venture funds as startups.
“In 2012 it would have been hard to find a whole line-up of impact funds,” Impact Engine CEO Jessica Droste Yagan said as she kicked off the event.
Impact Engine started in 2011, the brainchild of Open Table founder Chuck Templeton. The idea was to help entrepreneurs build companies that can make money while solving a social problem. It offered mentorship and cash, in return for a piece of each company. It has now morphed into an early seed venture fund, with more than 30 companies in its portfolio.
“We’re looking at companies that can scale tremendously based on their technology, and produce market-rate financial returns,” she said. “Today more than ever we have to use all the tools at our disposal to create the world we want our children to live in. Capitalism is one of those tools.”
Six startups also presented at the event.
Kaizen Health is a logistics platform that connects healthcare and transportation, aiming to improve patient outcomes and save money by reducing missed appointments.
NovoMoto is working to provide clean, renewable, sustainable electricity to underserved communities in Africa.
Local Foods connects local farms and vendors to build a network that supports local food systems.
Advanced Diamond Technology turns natural gas into diamond material that can be used in industrial, electronic and medical applications.
Resonance Medical is a medical device software company focused on cochlear implants and other devices.
Edovo offers tablet-based educational and rehabilitative programming aimed at reducing recidivism among jail and prison inmates.
Article originally published in Forbes Website.