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Why We Invested: KickUp

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey Schools spend 80% of their budgets on staffing and billions of dollars on professional development for teachers, who spend up to 70 hours per year on those development activities.

Impact Engine Turns Seven: A Look Back at Our First Investment

By Elise O'Malley In 2012, a small group of people gathered in Chicago to begin working on a unique business model. They came from diverse backgrounds - university professors, serial entrepreneurs, investors - but each believed in the power of using capitalism to create positive change.

Impact Engine's Approach to Measuring What Matters

By Tasha Seitz When we started Impact Engine in 2012, we were very much in learning mode. We knew we wanted to invest in entrepreneurs launching companies that were impacting the world in a positive way, but we had very little structure around how we defined impact, and even less around how we measured the impact of the companies we invested in.

Impact Whisperers: The Growing Number of Investors Quietly Transforming Capitalism

By Priya Parrish Investment professionals regularly talk to me about investments in their portfolio that are creating positive social or environmental outcomes. When I reply by suggesting that they may be more like an "impact investor" than they think, their response is often a hasty backtrack that clarifies they are "here to make money!"

Why We Invested: Climb Credit - Impact Engine - Medium

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey and Sarah McGraw Robert F. Smith's recent pledge to pay off the student debt of 2019 graduates from Morehouse College renewed the conversation about the burden of student loan debt. According to the Federal Reserve, over half of young adults who went to college in the U.S.

Impact Due Diligence: The Questions We Ask

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey Impact Engine recently published a piece on how to diligence impact in private equity funds. As a follow up, we wanted to share the impact-related questions we ask of ourselves and of prospective companies during our diligence process when making venture investments.

Beyond the Label: How to Diligence Impact in Private Equity Funds

By Priya Parrish The label "impact investment" is controversial. Many firms use it for marketing purposes with little to show in behavior. Others avoid using it, despite their strategies and outcomes being quite impactful, because of the negative assumptions some people make about it.

Why We Invested: PadSplit

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey and Sarah McGraw As more and more people migrate towards urban areas in search of education and economic opportunities, cities and suburbs across America are experiencing a housing crisis. Complicating matters, new housing production has not kept up with demand.

Realizing Impact: Education

By Chris Wu and Roger Liew One of the best things about impact venture capital investing is that while you can wait several years or more to realize financial returns, impact returns are realized as soon as you have customers and efficacy. We love to watch our portfolio's impact evolve and improve.

Why We Invested: MyVillage

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey and Sam Abbott Working families face a number of obstacles when seeking child care, with one of the biggest barriers being supply of high-quality providers. According to the Center for American Progress, 42% of children under age 5 in the US live in child care "deserts" - places lacking adequate access to quality child care options.

Why We Invested: FutureFuel

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey and Tasha Seitz Challenge Student debt has reached a crisis level. Recent estimates show there are 44 million borrowers in the US owing a total of $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, with those figures continuing to grow.

Why We Invested: CancerIQ - Impact Engine - Medium

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey & Tasha Seitz 10% of people have a genetic predisposition to breast, ovarian or colon cancer, and the field of genetic testing to identify those populations is moving very quickly.

The 2019 Chicago Impact Investing Showcase: A Recap

By Elise O'Malley We are still reveling in the enthusiasm and turnout for our annual Chicago Impact Investing Showcase, which took place on February 19 at Venue SIX10. Over 350 attendees from diverse backgrounds - students, investors, fund managers, entrepreneurs - came to learn about leading impact investors in Chicago and their work.

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Impact Engine - Medium

At Impact Engine, one of our four impact areas of focus is education. Time and time again, we have heard from companies that the best edtech products have to fight against mediocre ones because of the relationship-based nature of sales in many school districts. The reality underlying...