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2016 In Review

On behalf of everyone at Impact Engine, we want to wish you happy holidays! Before we look ahead to the new year, we paused for a moment to reflect on 2016. From announcing our first seed fund and investing in a growing portfolio of impact-driven companies to engaging with our expanding community of impact investors, mentors, and supporters, Impact Engine has had a strong year of growth and evolution. Below we’ve recapped a few of the highlights from this year for you to enjoy.

In a Letter from our CEO, we announced the closing of a new $10 million impact fund backed by a community of 80 individual impact investors. We shared our plan to invest between $25,000 and $250,000 in early-stage technology companies making a significant impact in education, health, resource efficiency and economic empowerment. We’re excited to be evolving from an accelerator to managing the Midwest’s first early-stage impact fund and have already seen tremendous progress from our new portfolio companies. Throughout the year we focused on finding and vetting new investments and were excited to invest in Regroup Therapy, Workit Health, Full Harvest, Pangea (also part of Impact Engine’s first accelerator portfolio from 2012), and ReUp Education.

We kicked off 2016 with a Community Demo Day, featuring pitch presentations from our first investees in this new fund: Develop Link, Fletch, Skill Scout, ClassroomIQ and Luna Lights. In March, we settled into our new office space on the thirteenth floor of 1871, where we enjoy sharing a hallway with other members of the Chicago investor community: Chicago Venture Partners, MATH Venture Partners & Hyde Park Angels.

In October, we were […]

By |December 21, 2016|
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The Rise of the Impact Entrepreneur

When I was taking the ‘L” home a few nights ago, pondering on what I would say today, I thought about the last 12 weeks and what I witnessed firsthand. Watching these eight entrepreneurs grow, change, and test the bounds of what business could be, I realized that I had a front row seat to something special: The Rise of the Impact Entrepreneur.

So who is this Impact Entrepreneur?

Are they an entrepreneur that went through Impact Engine? Well, yeah, but they are also the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of entrepreneurs that have not ONLY decided it’s no longer enough just to make money, it is ALSO no longer enough just to address an environmental or societal issue. They must do both.

The Impact Entrepreneur talks about building a sustainable company, but not purely in the green sense. They know they need to build companies that are long lasting, that will be financially sustainable through time.

They see it’s not just that government and NGO’s aren’t big enough to tackle all of the challenges we face, but that they can make money while solving these challenges using new and innovative business models.

They understand that to be sustainable means that they need to be competitive today, and being competitive today means they will need to hire the best talent, and increasingly that talent wants to work in companies that have a mission they can align with.

To be competitive today, they need to build companies that are moving away from dependence on the carbon-based fuels that traditionally powers businesses.

To be competitive today, they need to make products that improve the health of their customers, instead of making them obese or sick […]

By |December 7, 2012|

Chuck’s Signature Goatee

A guest blog post from the team at Raise5:

Since our first encounter with Chuck Templeton, we took note of his unique goatee. Along with his entrepreneurial success, his beard is a very defining feature of who he is. This is what made him a great candidate for a “hair portrait,” a unique style of portrait art pioneered by Stephanie Barstow where only the subject’s hairline and facial hair is drawn. When asked why Stephanie goes out of her way to provide her work on Raise5 she said:

“I was an art major. And one thing my professor reiterated to me over and over again is to never stop making art, despite how busy you get… I’m always striving to make new art, despite my busy schedule.”

Stephanie is the essence of Raise5, she is a talented person who refuses to give up on her love of art, and with the Raise5 community buying her services with a charity donation, she has a reason to keep on doing what she loves. Raise5 takes her raw talents and turns it into a valuable service for the buyer, money for charity, and revenues for Raise5. Now that’s an arrangement that has everyone smiling.

By |October 8, 2012|

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