Maggie Stohler

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  • socap

Impact Engine at SOCAP16: Midweek Recap

SOCAP (Social Capital Markets), the world’s largest conference on social enterprise and impact investing, is taking place at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California this week. We’re excited that Jessica Droste Yagan and Tasha Seitz of Impact Engine are both at #SOCAP16 connecting with others in the impact investing field. Earlier this month, Tasha and Jessica wrote an article on the SOCAP blog, sharing Impact Engine’s model and their thoughts on the state of impact investing in Chicago and beyond. Below, they’ve shared a dispatch from the conference after Day 3.

“It’s so great be in San Francisco at SOCAP16, surrounded by the energy and excitement of the SOCAP community. As veteran attendees (this is Jessica’s third and Tasha’s fifth conference), we are always energized to be around smart people who are passionate about the potential of the intersection of impact and markets. We’ve had the chance to hear from many entrepreneurs building solutions to important problems, and were happy to cross paths with two Impact Engine portfolio companies (Develop Link and Sokowatch). We’ve noticed a growing interest in direct investing among the investor community: yesterday Tasha spoke on a panel about direct investing, sharing what she has learned working with emerging funds and angel investors. We’ve found that even groups like community development financial institution (CDFIs) who have long been impact investing are still learning and growing in this space. This gathering is an excellent reminder just how much this movement and opportunity has grown over the years!”

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By |September 20, 2016|
  • photo-1449695864328-789b27ab8eae

Impact Investing Evangelists

On the blog this week, we feature a guest post from Andrew Segal, a rising senior at Bates College who recently wrapped up a summer internship with Impact Engine. Andrew, a religious studies major, shares his thoughts on the intersection between religion and impact investing.

People and institutions choose to make impact investments for many reasons. Most often, impact investors understand the value that a safer, cleaner, and more egalitarian world will have on society, and they believe that they have an individual moral responsibility to help build a more perfect society. Today, an increasing number of religious institutions have been introducing their members to the concept of impact investing. Pope Francis himself recognizes the power that technology has in empowering the undeveloped world through social impact. By understanding the historical values and actions of these groups, it’s easy to see why these institutions have been championing a movement that is just beginning to gain widespread recognition.

Religious groups were some of the first organizations to think about the social impact of their investments. In 1758 at the Quaker Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, members of the Religious Society of Friends were prohibited from participating in the slave trade because they believed that buying and selling humans was morally wrong. The Quakers considered both the financial return and social impact of their capital expenditures to be moral imperatives rooted in their personal religious beliefs.

An early adopter and advocate of socially responsible investing (SRI) was John Wesley (1703–1791), one of the founders of Methodism. Wesley’s sermon “The Use of Money” outlined his basic tenets of social investing: not to harm your neighbor through your business […]

By |August 31, 2016|
  • Priya-Parrish-Photo

Why Priya Parrish Started Impact Investing

Priya Parrish is an investor in Impact Engine IV and an active impact investor. She has been involved with impact investing both personally and professionally. She currently serves as the Chief Investment Officer for the Schwartz Capital Group, a Chicago family office. Priya also sits on the investment committee for Social Venture Partners Chicago. Read more about Priya’s journey into impact investing and what she looks for in her investments.

You have spent your career in traditional asset management and wealth management. How did you learn about impact investing and become an active impact investor? How is it similar or different to traditional investing?

I began my career at a firm that provided ESG research to investors. At the time, I was fascinated with the connection between financial performance and social impact, but over time grew discouraged by the lack of impact that screen-based investment strategies in public markets could produce. As my career evolved into hedge funds and asset management more broadly, I noticed the growth in impact investing in private markets. It seemed to offer the direct impact that initially attracted me to the field, while also providing the opportunity to earn solid investment returns.

As an investor in Impact Engine’s portfolio companies, can you tell us about the strategies you use when evaluating investments? What are some of the key qualities you look for in the companies you invest in?

Evaluating impact investments is similar to evaluating traditional investments. I try to assess the team, product or service offering, business model, and industry dynamic to determine whether the company will be successful in generating strong financial and non-financial returns. Many of […]

By |August 30, 2016|
  • habitnu

How Prana is Changing Diabetes Prevention & Management

Prana Diabetes provides HabitNu, a scalable, evidence-based diabetes prevention and management program combining education, peer support and state of the art mobile technology. The program enables simple phone-based monitoring and recording of key health parameters while also leveraging a patient’s personal support network. Prana Diabetes graduated from Impact Engine’s former accelerator program in 2015. We caught up with Sindhu Rajan, founder and CEO of Prana Diabetes, to hear more about HabitNu and the future of the organization.

Tell us about HabitNu and the benefits of a support community when managing Type II Diabetes.

We know that Diabetes Self Management Education and Support (DSMES) programs are successful, and that 83% of those with access attend.  However, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), only 7% of the 30 million people with diabetes actually have access. Classroom-based programs are simply not scalable and they don’t fit the needs of a working population. HabitNu is a 16-week diabetes prevention or management program that is based closely on CDC’s successful classroom based Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), but delivered to smartphones and tablets. It includes a comprehensive program with a toolbox for managing diet and exercise, weekly 5-minute interactive videos and text messages, and a system that allows you to link in your support network. Peer support is an integral component of successful chronic disease management. Research studies demonstrate that people with diabetes want support from an empathetic source. HabitNu has a private social network platform for participants where they are encouraged to talk about successes, challenges and failures.

You were recently one of six companies recognized by the ADA for your efforts to stop diabetes. Why do […]

By |August 24, 2016|
  • workithealth

Announcing our Seed Investment in Workit Health

By |August 23, 2016|

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