MIT Solve launches $30M innovation fund

World Today

Solver teams at MIT Solve’s annual conference. (Photo: Lisa Chiu)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Solve initiative announced the start of an innovation venture fund that will raise $30 million over time from donors to help give grants to early-stage entrepreneurs working to solve global problems.

The fund will make debt and equity investments in teams selected through Solve’s annual global challenges. Any returns from the fund’s investments will be reinvested into future Solve teams, the organization said.

The structure of the fund will be a Donor-Advised Fund and will be independent of MIT. MIT Solve will act as the donor-advisor led by MIT Solve Principal Casey van der Stricht, the organization said. It will be the first of its kind venture fund structured as a Donor-Advised Fund.

Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering Noubar Afeyan will anchor the fund with a commitment of up to $3 million. Flagship Pioneering is a life science innovation company.

“I am happy to back the MIT Solve team helping launch the Solve Innovation Fund and providing critical funding for Solver teams addressing the world’s most pressing problems and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” Afeyan said in a press release.

Donor-Advised Funds are a rapidly growing philanthropic mechanism, accounting for over $110 billion of capital across the U.S., MIT Solve said.

“Of this $110 billion, a small percentage is estimated to be invested for impact and even less of this capital is being allocated to venture impact investing,” MIT said in its press release.

The goal of the MIT Solve initiative is to advance solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address the world’s most pressing problems. Each year the organization issues four challenges for potential solvers to meet.

Full Disclosure: CGTN America is a media partner in the 2019 Solve conference.