Portland’s new $20M social venture fund backs companies making a social impact

Northwest Social Venture Fund founding partner Caroylnn Duncan.

Northwest Social Venture Fund founding partner Caroylnn Duncan.

There’s a new venture fund in Portland that plans to invest in companies fixing problems that help make the world a better place.

Northwest Social Venture Fund is $20 million fund that will make series A investments from $500,000 to $3 million for companies making a social impact. Its goals are aligned with the White House Grand Challenges mission, which aims to tackle “ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology, and innovation to solve important national or global problems and that have the potential to capture the public’s imagination.”

Carolynn Duncan is the Founding Partner of the fund. Duncan, also the CEO of an education company called TenX, was previously with a Salt Lake City-based venture capital firm called Epic Ventures.

The fund is part of the Social Venture Society, a Portland-based private forum for those interested in how startups can help create social good. The group just put on its first Fast Pitch Portland event and awarded two Northwest companies — Litesprite and InStove — with $100,000 in equity investments. Seattle-based Litesprite, who we’ve covered in the past, is helping people overcome medical issues with video games.

Speaking of Seattle, another noteworthy social-focused organization is Fledge, a “conscious company” accelerator that just graduated its third class.

  • lunarmobiscuit

    Congratulations to Litesprite, who traveled down from Seattle to compete, a veteran of the Social Venture Partners’ “Fast Pitch Seattle” event from a few months ago.