Our third Invest for Impact Pitch Competition for SAIF’s Haas Impact Fund was held on April 29th, 2022. The inaugural in person competition consisted of 5 teams of MBA students who pitched companies for an equity investment of $50,000 to a panel of industry judges.
Throughout the semester, the MBA students sourced and completed due diligence on startups that could deliver high financial returns and positive social/environmental impact. The 10 MBA teams each had an investment thesis with a thematic focus on education, renewable energy, financial inclusion, food & agriculture, health & wellbeing, international development, oceans, sustainable products, supply chain and urban innovation.
“The Haas Impact Fund course gave me a unique perspective and chance to experience a real world impact investing career, more so than any other academic course a business school could offer. Not only did we source over 50 global startup companies working to advance international development (with the help of our amazing mentor, Selcuk Tanatar) but we then evaluated and scrutinized the financial and technical aspects of a dozen companies before pitching our final selection to a panel of actual VCs who tested our proposed investment idea to its limits. I feel extremely fortunate to have had this practical, hands on experience that will hopefully set me up to succeed in an impact investing role someday.” Christina Cairns, MBA 2022
Out of the top teams representing 5 companies at the final event, Mazi Mobility won the pitch competition. Mazi Mobility Incorporated is a Kenyan startup that has strong potential to become the dominant player in the African electric vehicle and mobility (eMobility) sector by providing electric motorbikes, charging infrastructure, and AI software in East Africa.
The companies pitched to the Haas Impact Fund in 2022 were:
- Mazi Mobility: Facilitating Africa’s eMobility transformation through smart, efficient and clean shared mobility (Winner)
- Thrive Lot: Digital platform connecting local service providers with customers to transform yards into sustainable ecosystems (Top 5)
- Bluefin Foods: Sushi-grade, cell cultured tuna (Top 5)
- Anthro Energy: Energy storage (Top 5)
- Zvilo: Unlocking capital in the Balkans through financial digital transformation (Top 5)
- Learnfully: Personalized online learning platform that provides recommendations and records progress toward goals
- Locale: Marketplace that offers local food products from bakeries, restaurants, farms, and more
- Mindco: Providing organizations with effective and accessible mental health programs.
- Mars Materials: Working to sequester captured-CO2 into robust, everyday products like affordable carbon fiber—a critical tool for global decarbonization efforts.
- Oakstop: convenient and affordable workspace options for artists, startups, non-profits, and freelancers
“The HIF experience was one of the most significant learning classes for me at Haas. I really appreciated the opportunity to speak to impressive global founders for our International Development topic. The world is full of impact oriented, venture backable startups that are tackling wicked problems (UN SDGs). We ran into business models and product innovations with significant impact. I liked it so much that I made my choice to career pivot into the ClimateTech VC sector.” Adriana Penuela-Useche, EWMBA 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 with an opportunity for a $75,000 investment.