MaRS Catalyst Fund Seeks Startups With Both Social Impact and Financial Returns
The MaRS Catalyst Fund, a national impact venture fund, has raised $3 million and plans to raise a total of $5 million, which will be used to invest in early-stage Canadian startups tackling social and environment issues with potential for profit.
Backed by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite Foundation, MaRS Catalyst is “a major step in the fast-growing field of social finance,” a new kind of investing that puts the advancement of society alongside financial returns as a key goal. “We have no shortage of entrepreneurs who are finding innovative ways to push social progress or tackle environmental problems while making profits, but there was a gap in the market for early-stage funding. MaRS Catalyst is helping to address that,” says Kathryn Wortsman, Investment Director, MaRS Catalyst Fund.
The fund will leverage the investment pipeline and expertise at MaRS, Canada’s largest innovation hub, to find promising ventures and help them grow. It is currently looking to close two seed-stage investments for $250,000 each in the health and education markets.