When it comes to funding those that are “doing good” in the world, philanthropy isn't the only answer. Increasingly, investors are looking to for-profit, socially minded entrepreneurial ventures (including several in Chicago) that have the potential to benefit both sides of the equation: These enterprises create products and services for the good of society, and they can realize a return for investors.
There are plenty of places outside of the Valley with access to funding, incubators, and expertise—Chicago, Boston, New York, and Austin, among others. But before opting for any of these locales, entrepreneurs should start with a far more relevant and fundamental question: Where’s my customer?
Seed 2 Growth Ventures, the fund backing companies including Beyond Meat and Shenandoah Growers, is looking for more investments in food and agriculture businesses focusing on health and sustainability.
A new VC fund led by OpenTable founder Chuck Templeton and other veteran investors just launched to back innovative food and agriculture businesses, and says it's the largest food/agriculture fund in the US.
Gritstone Oncology Inc. has launched with $102 million and betting that its vaccines will improve the ability of certain immuno-oncology drugs to treat lung cancer. Versant Ventures, which backed Clovis and Pharmion, is leading this Series A round with Column Group.