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Impact Engine Fall Portfolio Showcase

On Thursday, December 1st, Impact Engine hosted a Fall Portfolio Showcase at ContextMedia (hosted by Shradha Agarwal, one of our investors). We gathered for a night of networking with our investors, their families, and several of our portfolio companies across our four funds.  The companies shared updates about their progress since joining the Impact Engine community, their plans for 2017 and beyond, and how our network can continue to provide support. In case you missed it, we’ve drafted some key takeaways from each presentation. If you’d like to connect with any of these companies, please email Maggie Stohler (

Impact Engine I

ThinkCERCA is an online platform designed to empower teachers to personalize literacy instruction across disciplines. ThinkCERCA helps whole school teams differentiate for engaging learning in classrooms of diverse learners. Since joining our first accelerator, they have engaged 102K students at 416 schools in 36 states. On average, students using the platform gained an extra year’s worth of academic growth, equivalent to closing the achievement gap by 264%  for low-income students. They are currently growing their team and are looking for key hires, including a Lead Product Designer and Sales Leadership.

Impact Engine III

Infiniteach develops innovative digital apps to to help children with autism build skills, learn and grow. Infiniteach has recently expanded to the B2B market, connecting their digital platform with businesses and museums that want to support autism accessibility within the community. They’ve secured partnerships with the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Autism Speaks, and are looking for leads in the travel, retail and healthcare fields.

Prana Diabetes – Prana Diabetes is tackling the growth of diabetes through HabitNu, a scalable, […]

By |December 8, 2016|
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State of the Art: Impact Investing’s Evolution & Future

State of the Art: Impact Investing’s Evolution & Future

Fireside Chat with The Case Foundation’s Jean Case & Impact Engine’s Jessica Droste Yagan

On Tuesday, November 15th, the University of Chicago Polsky Center, Social Enterprise Initiative and Impact Engine hosted Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, for a lunchtime discussion on the evolution and future of impact investing with Impact Engine CEO, Jessica Droste Yagan. Together they discussed philanthropy’s role as a catalyst for social change, how millennials will shape the sector moving forward, and the Case Foundation’s new impact investing visualization tool that provides both investors and entrepreneurs with more knowledge on this growing marketplace. Each attendee received the Case Foundation’s concise and informative A Short Guide to Impact Investing, which outlines impact investing for both new and seasoned investors.  You can check out a video of the entire session or read below for some key takeaways.

The Importance of Impact Investing

Jean Case and her husband Steve founded the Case Foundation in 1997 to reflect their family’s commitment to giving back. The foundation is committed to creating programs and investing in people and organizations that use entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to have an exponential social impact. While all investment has an impact, the Case Foundation believes impact investments should be intentional, transparent, measurable and used as a tool to align capital investment with one’s values. The Case Foundation has become a national leader of the impact investing movement, creating pathways to impact investing through “educating, inspiring and activating” current investors to think critically about their investments. For those new to the field, Jean challenged investors to analyze the impact of […]

By |November 29, 2016|
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Investing in Better Health Panel & Showcase

Chicago is a hotbed of innovation in the healthcare industry, yet many healthcare startups lack access to investment capital at the seed stage. This intersection of healthcare and impact investing was the focus of the Investing in Better Health Panel & Showcase on Thursday, October 6th. Impact Engine co-hosted the discussion with MATTER and Furthur Fund, bringing together members of the healthcare and impact investing communities for an afternoon of discussion and demonstration.

The event began with remarks from Steve Collens, CEO of MATTER, and a panel over lunch with Jessica Droste Yagan (CEO, Impact Engine), Tasha Seitz (CIO, Impact Engine), Jordan Dolin (Co-Founder, Emmi Solutions), and David Cohn (CEO, Regroup Therapy). The panel focused on trends in healthcare and impact investing, and strategies for making a great return on investment while improving the healthcare system. Below are key takeaways from the panel.

Macro Trends in Healthcare

Jordan began by giving an overview of the macro-level trends seen in today’s healthcare industry. Money is a big motivator and a growing trend has been the transition from fee-for-service models to fee-for-value service models. The US healthcare system is globally ranked as one of the most expensive service models, spending nearly $10,000/person each year. And yet the system still suffers from the “Innovation Gap”, which means there is a growing need for fast, quality care and a large market, yet an increasing number of barriers to innovation. The system struggles to balance making money and creating a product that fixes modern issues at a reasonable cost.

Macro Trends in Impact Investing

Impact investing is a fast-growing practice in Chicago and beyond. Investors want to align their […]

By |October 14, 2016|

WATCH: Impact Engine 3 Years Later

When Impact Engine launched in 2012, it was a bit of an experiment. The concept of impact entrepreneurship was very new in Chicago, and in many ways, it still is. After a lot of educating, handholding, risk taking, and everything in between, here we are—three years later—and we couldn’t be more proud of the community we’ve built. It’s a community filled with passionate entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors who truly believe for-profit and purpose go hand in hand. But don’t take it from us. Hear from Impact Engine graduates, impact investors, and community members firsthand about the growth of impact investing and entrepreneurship in Chicago. WATCH:


By |January 20, 2015|
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JOIN: Community Demo Day on January 21st

Join us for an inspiring evening on Wednesday, January 21st, from 6 to 9 p.m, when entrepreneurs from our third cohort, Impact 3, showcase their for-profit solutions for addressing today’s societal and environmental challenges.

The event will include seven presentations featuring innovative business ideas for making the world a better place, from poverty alleviation to autism education. Presentations will be followed by cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and networking.

6 to 6:30 p.m. – Check-In
6:30 to 8 p.m. – Presentation
8 to 9 p.m. – Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and networking

By |January 7, 2015|
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Chuck Templeton’s Challenge to the Community at Impact Engine’s Demo Day

This post is adapted from Chuck Templeton’s speech at Impact Engine’s Demo Day on January 15, 2014 at Untitled Chicago. Demo Day is a showcase of our startups to community and business leaders throughout Chicago and beyond.
Why we are here.
We are here today because we know we can help build a better world. Too many people go to bed hungry, our food is too carbon intensive, our education system is not meeting the needs of our kids, there is too much wasteful consumption, our communities are not designed for the future in front of us, too many people eat alone, too much human capital is rotting away in our jails and prisons, our energy is too dirty, our existing resources of clean water are diminishing, there is still too much poverty, and our stable climate of the past 10,000 years is changing. We are here because our ecology is the foundation of our economy. We are here because people deserve to live with dignity.

We are here because there are entrepreneurs here and they see challenges like the ones I listed above as opportunities. They see weaknesses in the status quo and they see ways to use new business models, or new technologies, or new social norms as a force for positive change. Entrepreneurs see we can do better than we have so far. They see ways to disrupt the current mindset of mission OR money with mission AND money.

We are here because there are investors here who see the same opportunities. They see a way to make money AND solve some of the biggest challenges of our time. They are here […]

By |February 25, 2014|
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JOIN: Community Demo Day on January 22nd

Join us for an inspiring evening at 1871 when entrepreneurs from our second cohort, Impact 2, showcase their for-profit solutions for addressing today’s societal and environmental challenges.

The event will include eight presentations featuring innovative business ideas for making the world a better place, from reducing recidivism in jails to alleviating hunger, followed by cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and networking.


6 to 6:30 p.m. – Check-In
6:30 to 8 p.m. – Presentation
8 to 9 p.m. – Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and networking

By |January 16, 2014|
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Join Us November 14th for The Power of Angel Investing

Join us this fall for a full-day seminar highlighting the ins and outs of angel investing. This angel bootcamp, led by John May, managing partner of New Vantage Group, is a great primer for anyone interested in the angel investing or impact investing process.
November 14th
7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Quarles & Brady LLP
300 N. LaSalle St., Ste. 4000
Chicago, IL
The Power of Angel Investing will feature experienced angel investors with diverse investment portfolios, tax and legal professionals, and angel-backed entrepreneurs. We’ll walk you through portfolio strategy, due diligence, deal structure, and valuation methodologies through interactive presentations, panel discussions, and case studies, including an impact-focused case study.

Who Should Attend?

High net-worth individuals with business experience and an interest in investing in early stage companies
Past successful entrepreneurs who are interested in staying involved in early stage companies
Current entrepreneurs looking to learn about the angel investing process


More About this Seminar

The Power of Angel Investing is part of a series of education programs about angel investing, developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, with content provided by experienced angels and angel group leaders from around the country. It is distributed by The Angel Resource Institute, the leader in educating angel investors, entrepreneurs, and economic development professionals on the skills and training needed to successfully engage in the angel investing process.

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

By |October 23, 2013|
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Apply to be a Featured SOCAP13 Social Entrepreneur (Deadline July 1st)

Social entrepreneurs are at the heart of SOCAP. If you or anyone you know are building ventures to address our world’s most critical challenges, we encourage you to attend SOCAP13: Accelerating the Good Economy in San Francisco, Sept. 3-6 2013. SOCAP13 provides a variety of opportunities for inspiring entrepreneurs at all stages who will contribute to a group rich in diversity, geographic reach and area of focus. We encourage you to apply!

If you apply, you’ll be considered for the following:

Scholarship for full event access (valued at $1,395) + potential lodging
Online and on-site acknowledgement as a featured entrepreneur
Ability to connect with 1500+ attendees, including fellow entrepreneurs, investors, foundations and more
A voice on the SOCAP blog
Consideration to be featured in SOCAP’s Innovation Showcase, participate in investor pitch sessions, or speak on a panel

Social Entrepreneur Application Closes July 1st. Apply here:

By |June 19, 2013|
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Happy Hour with Chuck Templeton @ HUB Boulder

Come out to meet Chuck Templeton, managing director of the impact accelerator Impact Engine and founder of OpenTable. Chuck will share his experience as an entrepreneur and investor, plus why he believes mission-focused businesses are becoming more competitive in today’s world and what it takes to become an impact entrepreneur. RSVP through Eventbrite >>

Impact Engine is a Chicago-based accelerator that supports for-profit businesses addressing today’s societal and environmental challenges. Its 16-week program is designed to help early stage entrepreneurs take their impact businesses to the next level and increase their chances of success. Because starting and growing a company is hard, Impact Engine provides companies with:

Seed Funding — $25,000 of upfront cash
Diverse Network — One-on-one mentorship, hands-on coaching, and connections with experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders.
Workshops + Seminars ­— Effective tools and principles—from user-centered design training to lean methodology—for starting and growing an impact business.
Investor Day – Opportunity to pitch to hundreds of qualified angel and venture investors at the program’s capstone event in January.
Co-Working Space — Free office space in Chicago’s startup hub 1871, with easy access to professional services, public transit, Chicago culture, and more.
Fundraising Support — Guidance through the hard and time-consuming process of fundraising beyond Investor Day.

Impact Engine is looking for Internet-based, service, and products-focused companies across a variety of sectors, including clean energy, sanitation, robotics, synthetic biology, and health, just to name few. Applications for Impact Engine’s second class are open through June 30th. The program runs from September 30th through January 31st in Chicago. Learn more at or apply directly through F6S at

About Chuck Templeton:

Chuck Templeton is passionate about early stage […]

By |May 31, 2013|

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