We knew when we launched the Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA) program this year that students need more than book learning to land a coveted job in impact investing — they need hands-on experience. So, we didn’t just teach students to find and conduct research on impact companies. We made sure the students spoke with entrepreneurs, conducted financial and impact analysis on their companies, and helped connect entrepreneurs to investors.
It didn’t take long before our first WIVA-sourced deal — an at-home blood testing company called InnaMed — closed its current funding round on the investment platform Republic.
InnaMed aims to disrupt the blood testing industry by providing accessible blood diagnostics to patients, many of whom live in economically underserved communities and/or live far away from health centers. Over 70% of clinical decisions require lab testing. InnaMed is seeking to eliminate the barriers to getting blood testing done in a lab by shifting this outpatient care to patients’ homes.
InnaMed’s initial goal was to raise a total of $50,000. Having met that goal in less than 24 hours, the company is now on track to raise $1 million on Republic. InnaMed has raised over $260,000 to date.
“Because of Republic and WIVA’s collaboration, anyone with $60 and a credit card can invest in private startups like InnaMed at an early stage. This really opens up startup investing to everyone,” said Matt Melbourne, investment team principal at Republic.
Evan Wijaya, W’19, sourced this transaction. “At WIVA, we were trained to stick to investment fundamentals, while ‘hustling’ to get in front of entrepreneurs, and other potential partners. I took the ‘hustle’ part to heart and visited many incubators in the Philadelphia region over the last year. I met the two InnaMed co-founders at one such incubator and after a few weeks of analysis and pitching in our internal meetings got approval to proceed. It’s great to see how we were a part of raising significant capital for this startup which will, in turn, have a meaningful impact on society.”
InnaMed’s co-founder, Anup Singh, was pleased to collaborate with WIVA. “WIVA helps connect social entrepreneurs with relevant resources like personnel and sources of capital. Our experience working with WIVA has been great thus far. I appreciated the constant interaction and updates — the WIVA team was always aware of our needs and used their networks to help move forward various aspects of our venture,” he reflected.
In the program’s first year, WIVA students looked at more than 300 companies that offered the prospect of attractive financial returns and measurable social impact. The enterprises sourced by WIVA have access to investment capital through the Wharton alumni network and other established relationships with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative.
InnaMed’s success helps reinforce the goals of WIVA: to advance student learning in impact investing and support companies that can improve society and the environment. With access to real investment capital, students like Evan can work with high-quality entrepreneurs and help them grow their impact, develop the skills to analyze the financial and social impact propositions of early-stage companies, and soon, monitor the progress of companies like InnaMed to ensure they meet both their financial and impact potential.
Our students have been hard at work all year researching companies making a difference — we are excited to announce additional deals soon.
Students, investors, and entrepreneurs: Learn more about WIVA.
— Rajith Sebastian
Neither the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School, Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA), nor any of their respective students, faculty, directors, officers, employees, representatives, affiliates, or agents (collectively, the “Penn Parties”) (i) is acting as underwriter, broker-dealer, promoter, financial advisor, or other intermediary with respect to any offering of securities by any entity mentioned in this article, or (ii) has received or will receive any compensation from any person or entity as an incentive to publish of this article. In addition, the Penn Parties have not received and will not receive any compensation or other item of value in connection with any possible or future investment in any securities issued by any entity mentioned herein.
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Posted: May 22, 2019