Rob Katz

Need Funding? Like Prizes? Innocentive May Be Your Answer

“But Rob, the impact investing community doesn’t do startups, doesn’t do angel. The traditional VCs won’t look at me because financial return expectations don’t match up; traditional philanthropists won’t because I’m a for-profit. Any ideas?”

Welcome to my world, where at least once a week, I have a conversation with a promising, early stage social entrepreneur. Good idea addressing a major problem? Check. Innovative, business-driven approach? Check. Exhausted the small list of impact investors and patient capitalists, without having raised a dime? Too often, also check.

There are some early stage funders out there. Changemakers is a fantastic platform that offers money but more importantly, exposure. The Gray Ghost Ventures family includes First Light Ventures, which offers promising early-stage companies up to $100,000 in investment.

Now you can add Innocentive, which we first discussed a year ago. They are running a prize-based innovation fund, and their latest challenge specifically seeks “novel, unorthodox, and extraordinary opportunities for philanthropic investment.”

It’s called Extraordinary and Unorthodox Philanthropy.

No, it’s not an investment – it’s a grant. But a grant may be just the starting point you and your social venture need. The Innocentive platform is endorsed as one of the most effective capital allocation systems around (hey, if McKinsey says so, it must be true) so if you have a world-changing idea, what do you have to lose?

Deadline is November 18th. Good luck!