In 2021, MBA student interest in the Haas Impact Fund increased substantially, with over four times as many students applying for it this year following its inaugural launch in 2020.

The MBA students focused on sourcing startups that matched their team’s investment thesis and could deliver high financial returns, while generating positive social or environmental impact. The winning startup, 60Hertz, selected at the end of year Invest for Impact Pitch Competition, will be the Haas Impact Fund’s first equity investment.

“We are thrilled that 60Hertz was selected for funding from such a rich field. They provide the missing piece to enable maintenance for distributed microgrids, which has a huge impact for rural electrification and economic empowerment, and we really believe in the 60Hertz team, their traction, and their network to make it happen.” Jack Kerby-Miller, MBA 2021

The 10 MBA teams each pitched a startup they had sourced. The companies were holding active investment rounds and most had not yet raised $1 million, with the focus being on Seed and other early-stage startups. All of the final companies students pitched were co-founded by women or people of color. The companies pitched to the Haas Impact Fund in 2021 were:

  • Limeloop: Data-driven, reusable shipping packaging
  • Cambium Carbon: 2-sided marketplace selling local urban wood
  • Hacktiv8: End-to-end Indonesia education platform to create new developers
  • Swipe Credit: B2B2C software for credit unions and community banks,
  • KovaDx: Affordable and easy diagnosis of sickle cell disease
  • True Moringa: Moringa products to improve lives and the environment
  • Maro: App for preventive interventions for teen mental and sexual health
  • Matriark Foods: Vegetable broth made from upcycled vegetable remnants
  • Caresplit: Flexible childcare marketplace for the modern workforce
  • 60Hertz: Maintenance management software for remote electric grids

“One of the most rewarding experiences was getting to know various start-ups that are taking different angles and truly revolutionizing the workforce and housing space. With each company, we were able to practice our sourcing skills by asking tough questions to properly measure risk, assess valuations, and gauge impact.” Catherine Romero-Portillo, MBA 2022

The Haas Impact Fund course and program is designed to give MBA students hands-on impact investing experience, preparing them to enter a competitive impact venture capital job market at graduation. Next year, MBA students will continue to source new companies for investment alongside developing a portfolio management and stewardship strategy.