Investors come together to provide critical financial and human capital to promising, for-profit impact companies.
CHICAGO, June 29, 2016 — Impact Engine announced today the launch of a new impact investment fund, which will work to support and scale early-stage technology companies dedicated to improving education, health, economic empowerment and resource efficiency in Chicago and around the world.
Managed by partners Jessica Droste Yagan, CEO, and Tasha Seitz, Chief Investment Officer, the Chicago-based fund brings together investors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists from across the United States who believe investment dollars can and should have a positive impact on society and the environment.
“This new fund gives us an opportunity to build upon the positive early track record of Impact Engine’s three years as an accelerator,” said Droste Yagan. “We are thrilled to continue to grow the impact investing ecosystem—supporting impact investors while moving more financial and human capital to the most promising impact entrepreneurs.”
Venture capitalists Matt McCall (Pritzker Group) and Kevin Willer (Chicago Ventures), entrepreneurs Mike Evans (GrubHub) and Christian Rudder (OkCupid), and impact investors Irene Pritzker (IDP Foundation) and Shradha Agarwal (Jumpstart Ventures) are among more than 80 limited partners participating in the fund. Other prominent investors include Crate & Barrel co-founder Gordon Segal, OkCupid co-founder Sam Yagan, TrunkClub co-founder Brian Spaly, Protein Bar founder Matt Matros, and Chicago food executive Larry Levy.
“I love the idea that capitalism and social good can go hand in hand,” said OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder. “It’s extremely exciting to be a part of an organization leading the way for investors and entrepreneurs who are proving this out.”
Impact Engine will invest between $25,000 and $250,000 in approximately 25 early-stage technology companies. Initial investments from this fund will be made through 2018 and overseen by Droste Yagan, Seitz and an investment committee comprised additionally of Impact Engine chairman Chuck Templeton, co-founders Linda Darragh and Jamie Jones, Greg Lernihan, Steve Miller and Dan Ratner.
“We are looking for great software entrepreneurs who are building and delivering products with built-in impact,” said Seitz. “Our fund will allow us to invest in a broader range of companies with early traction, including pre-seed, seed and Series A stage companies, that we can actively support in reaching their next set of business milestones.”
To date, the fund has invested in Classroom IQ, an online assessment and grading platform, DevelopLink, a market research platform for healthcare professionals in emerging markets, Fletch, a college retention solution, Luna Lights, a fall-prevention solution for seniors, Regroup Therapy, a virtual mental and behavioral health provider, and Skill Scout, an HR services company that elevates how companies attract and identify talent. In addition to financial investment, these companies receive targeted mentoring and support from Impact Engine’s community of impact investors, mentors and entrepreneurs.
Prior to this fund, Impact Engine invested nearly $700,000 in 23 for-profit impact companies through its accelerator programs. To date, its portfolio companies have attracted $32.4 million in investment and $2.6 million in philanthropic funding.
“As an accelerator, Impact Engine spent the last three years making disciplined investment decisions with a deep consideration of impact ,” said limited partner and GrubHub co-founder Mike Evans. “I expect their approach to positively affect the returns of this new investment vehicle, from both a financial perspective as well as a social perspective.”
About Impact Engine
Impact Engine is a venture fund that invests financial and human capital in early-stage, for-profit businesses that are improving education, health, economic empowerment, and resource efficiency.
Impact Engine is located inside 1871 in Chicago, Illinois.