CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 12, 2020—MIT Solve today announced the first investments by Solve Innovation Future, its philanthropic venture vehicle. Launched in 2019, Solve Innovation Future uses debt, equity, and alternative structures to invest in Solver teams—entrepreneurs driving social and environmental impact, selected annually through Solve’s open innovation Global Challenges—in amounts ranging from $75,000-$250,000.
“When we first launched Solve Innovation Future, the world was a very different place,” said Casey van der Stricht, Principal, Solve Innovation Future. “Now more than ever, startups—especially those prioritizing social impact—need risk-tolerant and flexible investment capital to scale. Solve is proud to invest in these incredible Solver teams and we look forward to collaborating with other organizations and individuals to unlock much-needed capital for global early-stage social ventures.”
Solve Innovation Future’s first investments include three innovative Solver teams that will be featured at the Solve Investor Showcase during Virtual Solve at MIT on May 12 from 2:45-4:30pm ET. During the event, Solver teams will also connect with Members of the Solve community to build robust partnerships with diverse private, public, and nonprofit leaders to help scale their solutions.
Access Afya, 2018 Frontlines of Health Solver:
Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya
Led by: Melissa Menke, Founder and CEO
Access Afya is a modern health care operating system for the urban poor in Kenya. A standardized, digitized, and affordable health care solution, Access Afya maintains a chain of clinics, pharmacies, and mobile health facilities for patients.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the frontline health workers that Access Afya works with will also be trained and equipped with the right information, equipment, and protocols to screen for and respond to Covid-19.
Kinedu, 2019 Early Childhood Development Solver:
Headquarters: Monterrey, Mexico
Led by: Luis Garza, Founder and CEO
Kinedu is an app that provides parents and caregivers with adaptive, video-based, research-supported activity plans for children under four. The app includes a developmental assessment, activities tailored to each child’s skill level, and data visualizations of a child’s progress. Available on multiple platforms and in multiple languages, the app offers 2,000+ activities that support a child’s development--and has over 500,000 active monthly users.
Kinedu offered free premium subscriptions in March and April to any parent in need during the Covid-19 crisis, and is offering a new service for educators and professionals for free until June 30.
Queen of Raw, 2019 Circular Economy Solver:
Headquarters: New York, United States
Led by: Stephanie Benedetto, Co-Founder and CEO
Queen of Raw’s blockchain and machine learning-powered platform matches buyers and sellers of unused fabric. Factories, brands, and retailers post their unused fabric for resale on the platform, giving purchasers access to new materials at lower price points. Sellers also subscribe to a monthly service that maps, measures, and traces their supply chains, helping to minimize waste and save money.
Queen of Raw is responding to the Covid-19 crisis by supplying fabric to local parties to make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Set up as a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) through ImpactAssets with MIT Solve serving as the donor-advisor, Solve Innovation Future raises funds over time from philanthropic donors through tax-deductible gifts to MIT. It then invests these funds into Solver teams that have been selected as part of Solve’s Global Challenges. Any returns are reinvested in future Solver teams, creating a renewable philanthropic vehicle for donors, and a pay-it-forward mechanism for entrepreneurs.
For those interested in donating to Solve Innovation Future, click here.
About MIT Solve:
Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. Join Solve on this journey at solve.mit.edu.
Information concerning the decision by SIF to invest or not invest in a Solver team is not intended to be a recommendation that any other person invest or not invest. If you are considering an investment in any entity, the decision whether to invest should be made based on your own analysis of the investment and your financial goals.