Transformational Impact@Scale

Evolution

Originally named the Berkeley Haas Social Venture Fund (BHSVF), piloted in the Spring of 2018 as an Institute of Business and Social Impact initiative (IBSI) by IBSI Fellow and Faculty member Jorge Calderon, the Berkeley Impact Venture Partners (BIVP) is a course-supported, student-managed, funding and advisory resource for the UC Berkeley impact entrepreneurship ecosystem.  Managed through a collective of faculty, our investment committee, an annual cohort of upper graduate students and a stream of volunteer students and experienced professionals, Berkeley Impact Venture Partners will continue to:

  • Develop startup leaders who bring business rigor and scale to address the world’s most pressing challenges and leverage positive impact to advance the way we do business.
  • Give Haas and other UC Berkeley upper graduate students an exclusive hands-on Impact Investing learning and recruiting opportunity.
  • Provide UC Berkeley alums and allies with a fresh opportunity to engage directly with students, faculty and administration either as expert advisors, speakers, judges and/or donors.

BHSVF Pilot Funders

Initial funding for Berkeley student impact startups, was provided through a partnership with the Sanaya Shah Memorial Fund “Sanaya Fund”, an alumni organized donor pool established by the members of the Haas EMBA Class of 2017 to honor the memory of Sanaya Shah, the daughter of their fellow classmate Sumit Shah and his wife, Astha Shah.

During our pilot phase, donor members from the Sanaya Fund engaged with BHSVF through a steering committee (Kevin Blake, Sumit Shah, Tina Summers & Michael Ouchida) and through various impact startup support activities.

Going forward, in addition to having a seat on our new Berkeley Impact Venture Partners Investment Committee, the Sanaya Fund will continue to have an opportunity to directly engage with the BIVP team and our impact startup awardees.

Previous Award Types

During our pilot phase, we had two types of awards, a Resource Award for teams who were in the process of reaching problem-solution fit and a Financial Award for teams that were closer, or in, the prototype/early MVP stage.

Consideration for awards were rolling and open throughout the school calendar.  Student Fellows (now known as student Venture Partners, Principals, Associates and Analysts) directly sourced and evaluated impact startup teams from across the UC campus (grad and undergrad founded teams alike).

Note:  for 2019/2020, there will be modifications to these awards.

Resource Award (2018/2019 Process)

Berkeley student-founded impact startups who were early in their journey and met our criteria were provided:

  • Access to our expert network
  • AWS (Amazon Web Services) credit
  • Access to office workspace at Haas
  • Office hours support from the fund team and external experts
  • Amplification through social media and marketing
  • Access to exclusive workshops

The criteria for the Resource Award included:

    • Having at least one enrolled Berkeley student founder (any department/unit and either undergrad or grad)
    • Intentionally solving a big urgent problem (US or Global)
    • Past ideation phase and had performed advanced stakeholder discovery (is well informed about the problem)
    • Either for-profit or non-profit legal frameworks AND is potentially scalable and financially sustainable

Financial Award (2018/2019 Process)

Berkeley student-founded impact startups that were further along and successfully advanced through our Financial award diligence process received:

  • Up to $5,000 in non-dilutive capital per team
  • Support from a “Portfolio Team” for 3-months that included an appointed advisor/coach, a team leader who was the main point of contact and a Council member sponsor
  • Plus all of the Resources available to the Resource Awardees

The criteria for the Financial Award included:

    • Having at least one enrolled Berkeley student founder (any department/unit and either undergrad or grad) and at least one more committed team member
    • Intentionally solving a big urgent problem (US or Global)
    • Had reached the problem-solution or product-market fit stage and would like to use funds for prototype development and experimentation
    • Had already developed a legal entity OR was highly likely to do so within the next 3-6 months
    • Either for-profit or non-profit legal frameworks AND is potentially scalable and financially sustainable

Impact Sectors

We initially focused on these impact theme sectors:

  • Education & Workforce
  • Environment & Energy
  • Financial Services & Housing
  • Food, Water & Health

Senior Leadership

An inaugural “Council” (Jorge Calderon, Julia Sze & Sara Beckman) provided strategic and operational oversight for the BHSVF pilot.  In the Fall of 2019, the original Council will be part of the Berkeley Impact Venture Partners’ Investment Committee.  This new body will provide ongoing guidance and decision making leadership for awards/investments, course alignment, operations, processes and strategies.   Additional IC members will be included from our diverse set of stakeholders (donors, students, faculty, administrators and experienced professionals.)

headshot haas1

Jorge M. Calderon

Founding Managing Partner and IC Chair
headshot_sarabeckman

Sara Beckman

Senior Partner, IC Member
headshot_juliasze

Julia Sze

Previous BHSVF Council Member (2018Fall/2019Sp)

Core Team

Our core team is led by upper level graduate students who participate in advising, sourcing, diligence and operations activities.  During our pilot phase, these student Venture Partners and Principals (formerly called Fellows) were provided course credit through an independent study that focused on building competency around impact investing, philanthropic giving and impact entrepreneurship.  As part of the independent study, students engaged in self-directed research and experiential activities that mirror traditional investing and grant-making processes. 

Starting in Fall of 2019, students will receive credit and training as part of a formal Haas course that extends from Fall to Spring.  Upper graduate level students interested in being part of this course or who would like to volunteer, please read and follow the instructions in this course description.

We plan to continue providing opportunities for undergrads and first-year graduate students to participate as volunteers during either semester.

Venture Partners

Jessie Tang

Jessie Tang

Venture Partner; Financial Services & Housing
Maggie Fried

Maggie Fried

Venture Partner, Head of Resources
Sam Roth

Sam Roth

Venture Partner, Special Initiatives
Stephanie Solove_Headshot

Stephanie Solove

Venture Partner, Head of Scouts Team

Principals

Leary_Headshot

Kristine Leary

Principal; Environment & Energy
asoparkar_headshot

Arpan Soparkar

Principal; Food, Water and Health
Rachel_W_headshot

Rachel Wang

Principal; Education & Workforce

Analysts

Lexi Burbey

Lexi Burbey

Analyst
Nadia Cochinwala

Nadia Cochinwala

Analyst

Portfolio

Pedi-Ed

Pedi-Ed

Website:  Pedi-Ed.org

Berkeley Founder(s):

  • Ahaana Singh; School of Public Health, Bachelors 2019
  • Caroline McGuire;  LSA/Biology, Bachelors 2019

SVF Award(s):  Financial Award (Fall18)

Venture Summary:  Pedi-Ed is an online content creator for pediatric patient education. Through short, animated videos, as well as supplementary content, we are bridging the gap between children and the ailments they may face. Our goal is to cultivate the next generation of informed patients, setting the precedent of health autonomy at a young age. Since its inception, Pedi-Ed has reached over 2500 viewers, and more specifically 1000 congenital heart disease (CHD) patients and families and is continuing to grow. In addition to our initial set of CHD videos we have newly developed and published endocrinology videos as well. We are also working on cultivating partnerships with various stakeholders that support  pediatric populations. In particular, we are working LifeLong Medical Care (an FQHC in the East Bay) and a diagnostic company to co-create targeted content to benefit their various networks.

Impact Sector(s):  Food/Water/Health

Award Team:

  • Portfolio Fellow:  Maggie Fried (Fall18/Spring19)
  • Mentor/Coach: Dr. Jin Lee
  • Council Sponsor: Jorge Calderon

81cents

81cents

Website:  www.81cents.com

Berkeley Founder(s):

  • Jordan Sale; Haas, FTMBA 2020

SVF Award(s):  Resource Award (Fall18), Financial Award (Spring19)

Venture Summary:  The gender pay gap is pervasive across industries, and research shows that the lack of negotiating can translate to more than $500,000 of loss income for women by age 60. As women are often the breadwinners and economic providers of families, the income disparity has ripple effects for our society. 81cents empowers women to more confidently and effectively negotiate new offers, raises, and promotions through personalized, crowdsourced offer reviews and coaching. They have helped over 130 women raise incomes by over 12% on average, generating $850,000 of increased compensation.

Impact Sector(s):  Financial Services

Award Team:

  • Fellow:  Jessie Tang (Fall18/Spring19)
  • Sponsor:  Sara Beckman

Viva

Viva

Website:  TBD

Berkeley Founder(s):

  • Catherine Soler; Haas, FTMBA 2019

SVF Award(s):  Resource Award (Fall19)

Venture Summary:  There is a significant gap in the market for holistic wellness solutions for young urban women. Some of the existing solutions are physical health centers, while some others focus on specific aspects such as in-person fitness or nutrition. Viva, with its emphasis on preventative health and offering of in-person experiential learning along with an online platform, combines the best of both the worlds, and presents multi-faceted support and guidance in nutrition, fitness and mental health.

Impact Sector(s):  Food/Water/Health

Award Team:

  • Fellow:  Maggie Fried (Fall18/Spring19), Arpan Soparkar (Spring19)
  • Mentor/Coach: Julia Sze
  • Sponsor:  Jorge Calderon

Teleport

Teleport

Website:  TBD

Berkeley Founder(s):

  • Akhil Padmanabh; College of Engineering, Bachelors 2021

SVF Award(s):  Resource Award (Spring19)

Venture Summary:  For children suffering from a debilitating illness in a hospital, everyday social interactions are taken away abruptly, leaving them emotionally vulnerable. Teleport offers a technology-enabled solution to reconnect these children with their world outside the walls of the hospital room. A pair of VR goggles is given to a hospitalized kid, who through the eyes (and ears) of a robot, can interact with their family, friends and community at large.

Impact Sector(s):  Food/Water/Health

Award Team:  

  • Fellow:  Arpan Soparkar (Spring19)
  • Mentor/Coach:  James Vessa

WOMG

WOMG

Website:  TBD

Berkeley Founder(s):  

  • Lourdes Amayo; Haas, FTMBA 2019
  • Cheikhou Diaw; Haas, FTMBA 2019

SVF Award(s):  Financial Award (Spring19)

Venture Summary:  WOMG is digital game-based self-learning solution that prepares kids in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa for STEM careers through coding and computational thinking. The game is designed for kids aged 8-12, and uses stories to engage the kids and help them develop the skills necessary for the future of the workforce.

Impact Sector(s):  Education & Workforce

Award Team:

  • Fellow:  Stephanie Solove (Fall18/Spring19)
  • Sponsor:  Jorge Calderon

Marhub

Marhub

Website:  TBD

Berkeley Founder(s):  

  • Sarrah Nomanbhoy;  Haas, FTMBA 2018
  • Peter Wasserman;  Haas, FTMBA/MPH 2018
  • Jerry Philip;  Haas, EWMBA 2019

SVF Award(s):  Resource Award (Spring19); Pending Financial Award

Venture Summary:  Marhub is building a digital tool to transform the way refugees access and organizations provide information and services. Marhub’s chatbot connects refugees with tailored information and services, and provides NGOs who serve refugees, with better tools and processes to enable them to provide their services at scale.

Impact Sector(s):  Education & Workforce

Award Team:

  • Fellow:  Stephanie Solove (Fall18/Spring19)
  • Sponsor:  Sara Beckman

Thrive Education

Thrive Education

Website:  TBD

Berkeley Founder(s):  

  • Jack Rolo;  Haas, FTMBA 2020
  • Josh Curry;  Haas, FTMBA 2020
  • Meryll Dindin;  College of Engineering, Masters 2019

SVF Award(s):  Resource Award (Fall18)

Venture Summary:  Thrive Education is an educational psychology startup that will drastically reduce the costs (by over 10x) of the full-scale educational assessments that are required in order to diagnose Dyslexia, Autism and other Learning Differences (LDs).

Impact Sector(s):  Education & Workforce

SVF Award Team:

  • Fellow:  Rachel Wang (Spring19)
  • Mentor/Coach: Karen Holst
  • Sponsor:  Jorge Calderon

Trash to Tiles

Trash to Tiles

Website:  TBD

Berkeley Founder(s):

  • Paige Balcom;  College of Engineering, PhD 2022
  • Jeremy Lan;  College of Engineering, Bachelors 2019

SVF Award(s):  Financial Award (Spring19)

Venture Summary:  Trash to Tiles’ (TTT) mission is to reduce the littering and burning of plastic waste in developing countries by creating quality, affordable roofing tiles and other products from plastic waste. This improves the environment and community health, creates local jobs, and closes a loop in the circular economy.

Impact Sector(s):  Energy & Environment

Award Team:

  • Fellow:  Samuel Roth (Fall18/Spring19)
  • Mentor/Coach:  Dr. Van P. Carey (Heat transfer) & Dr. Ashok Gadgil (development engineering); Mitesh Gala — electrical engineer/MBA with experience in launching company in Africa
  • Sponsor:  Sara Beckman

Riviera

Riviera

Website:  TBD

Berkeley Founder(s):  

  • Shivam Shorewala;  Haas & College of Engineering, Bachelors 2021
  • Henry Jin;  College of Engineering, Bachelors 2021

SVF Award(s):  Resource Award (Spring19)

Venture Summary:  

A business geared toward developing and selling a Hydrokinetic device designed to convert the kinetic flow of the river into reliable energy for inhabitants along the river banks. The business will target farmers and other inhabitants in India living near canals.

Impact Sector(s):  Energy & Environment

SVF Award Team:

  • Fellow:  Samuel Roth (Fall18/Spring19)
  • Mentor/Coach:  n/a
  • Sponsor:  Sara Beckman

Dispatch Goods

Dispatch Goods

Website:  http://www.dispatch-coffee.com/  

Berkeley Founder(s):   

  • Lindsey Hoell;  Haas, EWMBA 2021

SVF Award(s):  Resource Award (Fall19)

Venture Summary:  Dispatch Goods is a coffee cup “library” that cuts down on waste from the 110 million single-coffee cups used in the US each day by giving customers the option to pick up and return durable, portable travel mugs at various coffee shops and kiosk locations. Using an app-based system, customers can “check out” a mug when ordering at a coffee shop and when finished can deposit the dirty mug at in designated kiosks around the city.

Impact Sector(s):  Energy & Environment

SVF Award Team:

  • Portfolio Fellow:  Kristine Leary (Spring19)

Collaborators and Allies

Our work wouldn’t be possible without great partners within and outside the University.  We are happy to have mutually supportive relationships with the following groups: