Social Venture Society raising VC fund, hosting conference
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Carolynn Duncan wants to teach social entrepreneurs financial skills to make them more attractive to investors — such as the social venture fund being raised by her organization, the Social Venture Society.
Next Monday and Tuesday some 200 entrepreneurial types will gather in Portland for Hacking Social Impact, an event put on by the newly formed Social Venture Society, which is in the midst of raising a venture capital fund to back startups that have social benefit goals.
Carolynn Duncan, founder of the startup support organization Portland Ten, started the Social Venture Society with the goal of raising a social venture fund. Duncan and her team is in the midst of raising an initial $20 million fund with an anticipated launch date in the third quarter of next year.
Hacking Social Impact, which will be run as an "unconference" with sessions being voted on by attendees, will feature materials and sessions from the likes of Ecotrust, the Gates Foundation, O'Reilly Media, Supportland, Springboard Innovation and Portland State University's Impact Entrepreneurs.
"I'm really excited about the unconference," Duncan said. "We have some really amazing people coming together."
Duncan said her main goal with the conference is to teach entrepreneurs the financial skills to get their ventures off the ground and make them attractive investments for her fund. Sessions will include advice on using the Kickstarter online funding tool, how to do a direct public offering, ways to tap into angel funding and sessions on business plans from Jacen Greene, the Ames Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship at Portland State University
"It lines up with our goals of scaling and spreading social enterprise," said Oakley Brooks, a spokesman for Ecotrust. "We want to be there to share what we've learned in 20 years of impact investing and also to learn."
Astrid Scholz, Ecotrust's executive vice president, will be on hand to lead a session on creative funding for social entrepreneurship.
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