FHI 360 launches FHI Ventures, a social impact investing subsidiary

By Rachael Morgan,

DURHAM, NC FHI 360 has launched a new subsidiary, FHI Ventures, to invest in high-impact, early-stage social enterprises. FHI Ventures will work closely with early-stage companies that have launched a new product or service designed for social good, providing them with the support and funding they need to scale up their offerings.

“FHI Ventures gives us a new vehicle to match the ingenuity of business entrepreneurs with the capital and support they need to bring new products and services to their communities,” said Patrick Fine, Chief Executive Officer of FHI 360. “By helping small businesses scale and become profitable, we can make a real contribution to creating healthy, prosperous communities and expanding opportunities. As a human development organization with a proven track record of advancing integrated, locally driven solutions, FHI 360 has the right combination of expertise and infrastructure to enable FHI Ventures to deliver social impact worldwide.”

A critical part of FHI Ventures is its six-month Social Enterprise Facilitator program, which will address and accelerate the specific needs of each company through a customized curriculum and blended delivery model, applying a unique management approach to measure each company’s impact. FHI Ventures-supported companies will also have access to support from FHI 360’s world-class experts in health, education and economic development, as well as its global platform in more than 60 countries, to facilitate market testing and distribution. FHI Ventures will invest capital in the social enterprises and will leverage the FHI Foundation, with its long history of investing in successful social impact initiatives, to provide access to other potential investors.

“From an investor’s perspective, the main risk that early-stage, social impact-oriented companies present is whether they can stay in business and turn a profit,” said Wellington Pak, President of FHI Ventures. “The goal of FHI Ventures is to de-risk the enterprises that we work with by getting them through the ‘pioneer gap’ between launching a product and demonstrating a financial return capable of attracting additional investment.”

FHI Ventures has selected five early-stage businesses for the inaugural cohort:

  1. FyodorBio — maker of a urine test that can rapidly diagnose malaria
  2. Mark Labs — developer of a technology platform that helps funders quantify social impact
  3. Sanivation — provider of a sanitation service to transform waste into an affordable fuel source
  4. SweetSense Inc. — creator of low-cost, remote monitoring sensors designed for the global development sector
  5. UrSure Inc. — producer of a patient-friendly urine test that supports adherence to HIV prevention drugs

FHI Ventures will bring representatives from these enterprises to Washington, DC, on May 10 and May 11 to launch the spring 2018 cohort and meet with the partners, investors, mentors and leaders who are interested in assisting in market positioning, scaling and acceleration. The spring class will prepare for a “pitch day” to investors in Durham, North Carolina, this fall, before the next cohort of companies joins the program.

About FHI 360
FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Our staff includes experts in health, education, nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender equality, youth, research, technology, communication and social marketing — creating a unique mix of capabilities to address today’s interrelated development challenges. FHI 360 serves more than 60 countries and all U.S. states and territories.

About FHI Ventures
FHI Ventures is a social enterprise accelerator supporting early-stage businesses with the potential for high impact and a commitment to delivering social and financial returns. FHI Ventures works exclusively with early-stage social enterprises that have launched a new product or service designed for social good but are not yet earning significant revenue. By providing businesses with capital support, customized training and access to expertise and new markets, we position them to show viable financial returns that attract additional investment. FHI Ventures is a subsidiary of FHI 360, a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Learn more at www.fhiventures.com.