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PRESS RELEASE: MIT Solve, a Marketplace for Social Impact, Appoints Casey van der Stricht to Lead Solve Innovation Fund

van der Stricht’s Track Record in Impact Investing Will Help Scale Early Stage Tech Entrepreneurs Solving Global Challenges, via an “Impact-First” Donor Advised Fund

April 9, 2019—MIT Solve today announced the appointment of Casey van der Stricht as Principal for the Solve Innovation Fund, which will be launched as a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) to direct catalytic investments in early stage entrepreneurs—MIT Solve’s Solver teams—who are tackling global challenges.

Ms. van der Stricht will raise grant capital and generate investment opportunities within the Solver portfolio, and will lead the strategic direction and structure of the impact-first fund.

“Casey joining the Solve team marks an exciting milestone as we launch a first-of-its-kind social impact investment vehicle, which is designed to help address the early-stage innovation gap that we need to overcome if we are to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Alex Amouyel, Executive Director of MIT Solve. “By adding the ability to deploy investment capital to our for-profit Solver teams, we will create a pay-it-forward model, whereby the returns are reinvested in future Solver classes, allowing donor funds to be used several times over.”

“I have been following MIT Solve’s progress since its launch, and I’m thrilled to join such a talented and driven team,” said Casey van der Stricht, Principal of the Solve Innovation Fund. “Solve is a unique organization with a core mission of finding and supporting tech entrepreneurs who are solving the world’s most intractable problems. As a natural continuation of this model, the Innovation Fund will serve as an innovative investment instrument to help promote social impact in a sustainable way.”  

Out of the $90 billion of capital invested in DAFs, only a small fraction is invested for impact. As part of Solve’s marketplace connecting innovators with resources to solve Global Challenges, the Innovation Fund will source its investments from selected Solver teams who are chosen via Solve’s open innovation platform and its annual Challenges.  

In the last two years, through partners such as General Motors, Atlassian, and the Australian government, Solve has brokered more than $7.5 million in grant funding to Solver teams, in addition to in-kind support such as mentorship, exposure, and training. The 2018 Solver Class consists of 33 early-stage startups headquartered in 15 different countries and is comprised of 61 percent women-led teams. Solver teams include Ada Health, an AI-driven platform empowering health workers, and ULTRA, software supporting neurodiversity in the workforce.

Ms. van der Stricht joins Solve from Social Finance, where she was the Vice President of Social Investments and served as a Harvard Business School Leadership Fellow. While at Social Finance, she led a $6 million national debt-structured Social Impact Bond transaction addressing veteran mental health and employment, as well as a $12 million debt-structured project serving families suffering from substance use, and managed the sustainability and resiliency business unit. Her experience ranges from investing to external affairs within a variety of organizations, including New Leaders for New Schools and Teach for India in Mumbai.

About MIT Solve:  
MIT Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that advances lasting solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address the world's most pressing problems. Solve issues four Global Challenges each year to find the most promising Solver teams who will drive transformational change. Solve then deploys its global community of private, public, and nonprofit leaders to form the partnerships these Solver teams need to scale their impact. Last year, more than 1,150 people from 110 countries submitted solutions to Solve’s four Challenges. Solve’s current open Challenges include: (1) Circular Economy, (2) Community-Driven Innovation, (3) Early Childhood Development, and (4) Healthy Cities.

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