UC Berkeley Haas School of Business | Groups



Investors in both for-profit and nonprofit start-ups

Echoing Green – 12-15 fellowships to start-up for-profit or nonprofit social entrepreneurs with funding of $30,000 for an individual or $90,000 for a two-person partnership over two years. To date, Echoing Green has invested over $28 million in seed grants to over 471 social entrepreneurs. The 2009 application is now open. Apply by December 2, 2009. http://twitter.com/echoinggreen

Unreasonable Institute – Cool new early-stage funder and incubator. The Unreasonable Institute has a $150,000 fund in which 25 selected entrepreneurs choose to allocate amongst each other. The Institute also holds an Investors’ Conference at the end of a 10 week-summer institute, giving entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their ideas to potential funders for serious capital. Applications for the first group of 25 social entrepreneurs will open November 15, 2009. To qualify your venture must have a plan to be financially self-sustaining within one year, to scale beyond country of origin within three years, and ultimately to meet the needs of at least one million people. http://twitter.com/beunreasonable

Sparkseed – Incubates start-ups led by freshman and sophomores in college. Seed capital is capped at $1,000 and web tools worth $10,000, but it appears that the value of the program is for aspiring social entrepreneurs to develop entrepreneurial skills, network, and benefit from mentorship. Applications for 2009 are already closed. http://twitter.com/sparkseed


Investors in for-profit start-ups only

Investor’s Circle – Investor’s Circle’s Fall Conference takes place next week from November 15-17 in Washington DC. Investor’s Circle invites 20-25 companies to present at their Fall and Spring venture fairs, where their 225 angel investors, professional venture capitalists, foundations, family offices and others gather to make investments on companies from early or expansion-stage for-profit social ventures. This Fall Conference, they invited 22 companies of the 250 that applied to present. The application fee is $150, and if you’re invited to present, you have to pay $995 to “cover some of the cost of producing the event” that they help you prepare for. Companies that do not expect to generate revenues of at least $5 million within the next five years will not be accepted. Investor’s Circle also encourages minority and women-led companies. http://twitter.com/investorscircle

Venture Well – Developed by the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), Venture Well promotes collegiate entrepreneurship by investing in a select number of for-profit student ventures (nine this year) that address “health, wellness and the environment,” are broadly scalable, and address a big opportunity for Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) customers, Top of the Pyramid (ToP) or both. Investment is expected to range from $50,000 – $100,000 and comes in the form of convertible debt. 2010 application information and deadlines will be posted soon. http://twitter.com/venturewell

Jumpstart-Up – Jumpstart-Up appears to have put a hold on making new investments, but I think they’re worth mentioning as they are actively tweeting, so they must be still around, right? Their website is a bit hard to navigate, but after a bit of investigating on their site and their LinkedIn page, it looks like they are interested in U.S. and India based for-profit technology ventures that are highly scalable and commercially sustainable. http://twitter.com/Jumpstart_up

Good Capital and The Hub, Code named “HUB Cap” – This spanking new initiative, not yet launched, is an example of good things that happen when organizations collaborate. Details will be announced early next year, but what I can tell you is that there will be a few new avenues for for-profit social entrepreneurs to access start-up capital in the range of $25,000-$100,000 for a total of up to $1-1.5 million. In addition to funding, HUB Cap will provide peer support, mentorship and professional services. It’s super exciting, so stay tuned.


Investors in nonprofit start-ups only

Draper Richards Foundation – Six fellowships are granted to start-up nonprofit social entrepreneurs with funding of $100,000 annually for three years. Apply anytime – Draper Richards receives and reviews applications throughout the year and award grants throughout the year.

Blue Ridge Foundation – Blue Ridge couples seed money with in-kind support and networking opportunities. Portfolio organizations receive five years of funding and office space for up to three years. Blue Ridge does not fund organizations that are more than two years old.

New York Foundation – NYF funds nonprofits that address a critical need of a disadvantaged population. The applications that stand the best chance of receiving funding emphasize advocacy and community organizing and involve New York City or a particular neighborhood of the city. For start-up organizations, NYF may provide funding for a total of five consecutive years. Grants range from $40,000 to $50,000. In addition to grant money, NYF provides extensive technical assistance in the form of workshops, training, and consultants. The next application cycle is March 1, 2010, but due to the economy NYF will be making fewer new grants this year.

ZeroDivide – ZeroDivide funds, supports and incubates nonprofit social entrepreneurs that leverage technology to benefit low-income, minority and other underserved communities. They receive and review applications on a rolling basis and award grants of no more than $75,000 throughout the year. The first step is to submit a Letter of Inquiry.

The Manhattan Institute – Funds up to five individuals who have originated and effectively implemented a new nonprofit organization providing direct services to those in need (mature nonprofits also quality for the award as long as they have a new idea or approach to a social problem). Nominations for the $25,000 awards are solicited from donors who have demonstrated a belief in the organizations they nominate. Nominations for the 2010 awards will be accepted from January 25 – March 19, 2010.

RSF Social Finance Seed Fund – The RSF Seed Fund provides small gifts (between $1,000 and $5,000) to seed new initiatives that fall within their mission statement and one of their focus areas – social finance, food & agriculture, education & the arts, and ecological stewardship. Grantees should demonstrate capacity for growth, and plans to reach financial independence. The deadline to submit a grant proposal to the RSF Seed Fund for the annual grant cycle is March 15, 2010.

The Social Venture Capital Foundation (SVCF) – SVCF funds nonprofit social entrepreneurs based on the belief that they are “planting Seeds of Change.” While they hope to provide seed money grants in the range of $5,000-50,000, they are currently only able to fund in the $2,000-$5,000 range.

Chinook Fund – Grants of up to $4,000 are awarded to start-up nonprofits four years old or younger for up to two consecutive years.

Kauffman Foundation
– In general, Kauffman Foundation grants are limited to nonprofit organizations that have significant potential to demonstrate innovative service delivery, in support of education and entrepreneurship. On their website, there is no mention of a cap on the size of the grant.