CHICAGO, April 15, 2014 — Impact Engine, a 16-week business accelerator for mission-focused entrepreneurs, announced today that Jessica Droste Yagan will become the company’s Chief Executive Officer, and board member Tasha Seitz will take on the newly created role of part-time Chief Investment Officer. Both appointments are effective June 1, 2014. Chuck Templeton, Impact Engine’s current Managing Director and the founder of OpenTable, will become Chairman of the Board and remain closely involved.
The announcement comes as Impact Engine moves into its third year, with applications for its next accelerator class opening May 15th. The expanded leadership team will focus on strengthening Impact Engine’s already successful program in addition to exploring opportunities to grow beyond an annual accelerator starting in 2015. Since 2012, Impact Engine has graduated 16 companies from the program, and to date, these businesses have collectively raised a total of $9.1 million in seed and Series A funding.
“This is an exciting time for Impact Engine. We’ve learned a tremendous amount over the last two years about what it takes to get impact companies off the ground and how to find them investment,” Mr. Templeton said. “We’re looking forward to expanding this knowledge beyond eight to 10 companies a year. We now have the right team in place to do that.”
Ms. Droste Yagan brings more than 12 years of experience leveraging markets for positive impact to her new role, most recently as the Director of Sustainable Supply for McDonald’s and an impact investor. Ms. Seitz, a partner at JK&B Capital, spent 17 years as a technology venture capital investor and will be responsible for galvanizing and educating the investor community around impact investments. Ms. Droste Yagan and Ms. Seitz are both active members of the Chicago chapter of Social Venture Partners.
“I strongly believe that having a positive impact and earning sustainable profits go hand-in-hand,” Ms. Droste Yagan said. “I’m so excited to work with Impact Engine to enhance our support of businesses that are leveraging that concept from the beginning.”
Participating companies in Impact Engine receive $25,000 of upfront funding, one-on-one mentorship from the country’s top business minds, free workspace in Chicago’s startup hub 1871, access to world-class investors, and more. This year’s accelerator program will run from September 29, 2014 through January 30, 2015 and will focus on six impact sectors:
- Climate & Environment
- Financial Services
- Food & Agriculture
- Health & Wellness
- Workforce Development
Applications for Impact Engine’s third cohort are open from May 15th through June 22nd. To learn more, visit TheImpactEngine.com/Program.
About Impact Engine
Impact Engine is a 16-week accelerator program that supports for-profit businesses addressing today’s societal or environmental challenges. It empowers entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to make a collective impact on society by applying smart business principles to the world’s greatest problems.
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