In past blog posts, we’ve written about the next generation of social entrepreneurs in Chicago and why impact entrepreneurship is thriving in Chicago. We’re excited to highlight a few of the newest players in the field; we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the growing community of Chicago impact entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and champions of impact!
In September, David Spielfogel and Brett Goldstein announced the launch of Ekistic Ventures, a VC firm that plans to invest in startups that make cities more equitable and efficient. Spielfogel is one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s former top advisors and Goldstein the ex-chief data officer for the city of Chicago. While working for the city, they noticed that young entrepreneurs building technology often lacked the urban strategy knowledge to turn their small scale ideas into big picture solutions. Ekistic Ventures has launched a $15 million fund that will invest in seed-stage companies bringing new solutions to critical urban problems. Ekistic takes a holistic approach to problem-solving, partnering with research institutions, big businesses, mayors, city government officials and entrepreneurs to tackle the most significant urban challenges.
Launched in 2016 by Good City, INVEST Chicago is an initiative aimed at mobilizing individuals to give their time, talents and finances to social entrepreneurs and nonprofits making a difference in Chicago. They provide philanthropic grants and impact investment opportunities to nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to support strategic and sustainable ideas with strong leadership. INVEST Chicago works with foundations, corporate partners and the city of Chicago to identify and invest in projects serving the most under-resourced communities in Chicago. Their first portfolio, the Women’s Innovation Fund, will focus on women-led impact organizations and offer companies up to $15,000, as well as mentoring services from Starting Up Now.
Tango Impact is a Chicago-based incubator started by Susan Stenander and Frances Roskam. This incubator serves entrepreneurs and startups at the intersection of service and entrepreneurship, and focuses on scaling ideas, people, businesses and nonprofits. Stenander brings the hard business and operations skills, with 12 years of experience in private equity, corporate development and finance, while Roskam brings a public sector background from starting her own nonprofit, The Justification of Youth (JOY). While Stenander and Roskam invest their own time and capital in each investment, Tango Impact also works with outside investors to provide up to $100,000 to companies with an impact, defined by Tango as “creating jobs with sustainable companies that produce a positive impact on the world”.
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