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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

Eight Finalists Chosen During ‘Pop Up Pitch’ Will Move On To Up/Start Finale

The finalists will compete for funding totaling $100,000 during the April 17 finale

Press Release – BALTIMORE — The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is thrilled to announce this year’s eight Up/Start Venture Competition finalists, who were selected from a total of 27 applicants following their presentations at a “pop up and pitch” event on Friday, Feb. 1.

The finalists’ businesses represent a wide range of ideas, from a lifestyle brand + safe space platform to representative comics to targeted virtual reality content for use in therapeutic settings.

The finalists will compete for seed funding totaling $100,000, funded with support from the Philip E. and Carol R. Ratcliffe Foundation, at the finale event.

Each finalist will make a final pitch to a new panel of judges (to be announced at a later date), and the funding will be allocated to the winners who present the most compelling and innovative entrepreneurial ideas. The finalists will also each be paired with an industry leader or investor as a mentor to refine their business plans and presentation skills in the weeks leading up to the finale event. This year, an additional peer mentorship component has been added to the competition, and finalists will be able to tap into the firsthand experiences and lessons learned by previous UP/Start winners.

Following the end of the competition, winning ventures will be able to introduce their companies to the Baltimore Angels, an opportunity that creates a continued educational experience and way to gain feedback and insights from active angel investors.

The finale event is free and open to the public. It will take place Wednesday, April 17 in the Brown Center, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite venture to receive an additional $5,000 prize as the 2019 “People’s Choice Award.”

The 2019 Up/Start finalists:

Founder: Brett Wallace ’19 (Studio Art M.F.A.)
AMAZING INDUSTRIES is a R&D startup exploring the future of work in the digital age. Through the use of investigative journalism, writing, documentary video and installation and other disciplines, AMAZING INDUSTRIES researches questions such as how are new technologies, such as AI, transforming work.

Founder: Rheagen King ’19 (Graphic Design B.F.A.)
Erose is a lifestyle brand + safe space platform devoted to healing through storytelling + developing
healthy emotional habits in ourselves so we cultivate healthy romantic partnerships with others.

GPG Technologies, LLC
Team: Kyle Vaughan ’19 (Design Leadership M.B.A./M.A.) and Kenneth Wayman
GPG Technologies is dedicated to one mission: doing the greatest possible good. The company designs sustainable solutions for people and planet. Its first product, the Saqua bottle, is a reusable water bottle that is easy to clean and elegant in its simplicity.

Greenmount Tile
Team: Anna Zellhofer ’18 (Printmaking B.F.A.) and Dominique Hellgeth ’10 (Ceramics B.F.A.)
Greenmount Tile is an architectural ceramics company that creates limited edition artwork. Its installations include art for public space, experimental structural design and suspended tile.

Founder: RJ Sterling ’19 (Illustration and Teaching M.A.T.)
Hilarious Comics is a brand that seeks to redefine the term superhero while also highlighting underrepresented characters in comics, such as female characters, characters of color, and queer characters.

Lucky Pocket Press (*People’s Choice Award*)
Team: Stephanie Bulante ’19 (Illustration B.F.A.) and Sara Hagstrom ’19 (Illustration B.F.A.)
Lucky Pocket Press is an artist collective and risograph press that strives to tell stories through unique and unconventional handmade merchandise and comics.

Team: Haley Manchon ’18 (Drawing and Graphic Design B.F.A.), Kelly Sullivan and Doug Moreland Paint. Team’s mission is to inspire creativity and collaboration through a web application that allows users to team up and create finished works of art from anywhere in the world.

Virtual Scout
Team: Scott Will ’18 (Film and Video B.F.A.) and Danielle Spellman ’18 (Film and Video B.F.A.) Virtual Scout creates targeted virtual reality content for use in therapeutic settings. The company is making immersive natural environments and utilizes a low-cost subscription-based model, as well as selling low cost VR viewers.

Up/Start, an initiative of MICApreneurship, spearheaded by the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development, focuses on building creative business ventures within the College community, and provides capital and mentorship with industry partners to help nurture ideas into sustainable businesses.

The competition is open to MICA students in the class of 2019 and alumni from the class of 2018.

For more information, visit

Read more about all the 2018 Up/Start winners here.

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DKT International Expands Middle East Footprint Providing Access to Family Planning Products and Services in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Turkey, & Libya

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC: DKT International, one of the largest private providers of family planning products and services in the developing world, is proud to report on their expansion progress in Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lybia and Somalia.

“Much like Europe after World War II, political instability, social and economic upheaval, religious constraints, and large refugee populations, significantly set back public health initiatives like family planning in war torn countries. Clinics close, doctors move on and despite such challenges, DKT programs have stepped in to fill a growing unmet need, becoming critical providers of condoms and other contraception,” says Chris Purdy, President and CEO, DKT. “Often, in times of conflict, the right or ability to access family planning is one of the first things women lose. We have made it our mission to find creative ways to train providers and mid-wives to ensure contraceptive availability, avert unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal and child mortality.”

DKT’s work in the Middle East and North Africa (DKT MENA) is an extension of their social marketing program in Egypt. In 2017, DKT Egypt generated over 1.7 million couple years of protection (CYPs) through cost-effective contraceptives and in the past year, provided 2.4 million condoms.

A few highlights include:

  • DKT Egypt/MENA, along with DKT Womancare, recently participated in one of the region’s biggest events, “Arab Health” in Dubai for the first time from January 27-31. It was a successful platform and an exciting growth opportunity to reach more women in-need, especially in Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq.
  • Sales in Somalia: DKT is one step closer towards providing family planning products in Somalia. DKT Egypt coordinated with the African Training Center to host a family planning training for 34 Somali healthcare providers in Punt Land, Somalia. DKT customized training manuals on counseling techniques and reproductive health information to meet the needs of Somali practitioners.
  • In Egypt, mosques provide contraceptive access to women. On any given day, the El-Hosary Mosque in Egypt is filled with physicians who are not there to pray or participate in religious ceremonies, but to attend an IUD (intrauterine device) insertion training session conducted by DKT. Trained physicians can now provide family planning services to the many women who cannot afford a trip to a regular clinic.
  • In Syria, with approximately 3 million women of reproductive age in the midst of Syria’s crisis, and an additional one million female refugees of reproductive age in neighboring countries, DKT supplied 25,000 IUDs to Syrian women in the past year. They also provided support, education and training to ensure contraception becomes a strong tool for determining a better future for themselves and their families.
  • In 2017, DKT Turkey provided 4.4 million condoms and 24,410 IUDs.

DKT has plans to expand to other markets in the region and is laying the groundwork to respond to a range of challenges facing women of reproductive age in markets like Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. The Jordan office will initially provide IUDs, condoms, and MVA abortion kits.

“We will continue to ensure access to family planning triumphs differences in culture, economics, politics, gender, and religion. Supporting women in choosing a better future for themselves, especially in places where there are social and political conflicts, is what drives DKT’s mission,” adds Purdy.

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Elemental Excelerator and Conservation International Partner to Catalyze Technology Startups in the Agriculture and Water Sectors and Project Deployments in Asia-Pacific

Organizations will share portfolio pipelines, best practices to tackle sustainable infrastructure challenges

Press Release – Honolulu, Hawaii – January 30, 2019 – Today, Elemental Excelerator (Elemental), a global infrastructure innovation growth accelerator, announced that Conservation International is joining its Innovation Partner Program to support growth-stage startups in the agriculture and water sectors and facilitate project deployments in Asia-Pacific. The collaboration, which marks the first time Conservation International has partnered with an accelerator for growth-stage technology companies, is designed to scale impact investments in sustainable infrastructure.

Founded in 1987, Conservation International uses policy, partnerships and field demonstrations to empower societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature through projects in more than 30 countries. The organization’s long experience, global reach and expertise in the agriculture and water sectors will facilitate project deployments in Asia-Pacific by Elemental’s portfolio of growth-stage companies, and support the accelerator as it builds out its water and agriculture programs.

Elemental will work directly with Conservation International Ventures, LLC, an investment fund that provides loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises that operate in the forests, oceans and grasslands where Conservation International works. The two organizations will share due diligence strategies and criteria, as well as their pipeline of top-tier startup companies. Conservation International Ventures will support Elemental and its portfolio companies by potentially providing follow-on investments and facilitating engagement with policy, governmental and land groups in emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

“Accelerators like Elemental play a critical role in developing the ecosystem of entrepreneurs, capital providers, and technical and industry experts needed to transform industries and achieve more sustainable and inclusive economies,” said Jan Yoshioka, director of ocean investments for Conservation International Ventures. “The work Elemental has done in the sustainable infrastructure space lays the foundation for developing robust seed- and growth-stage companies in the agricultural and water sectors, and we look forward to supporting their expansion into new industries and geographies.”

Elemental’s Innovation Partners, which include global corporations such as Hitachi, Orsted and BP, help portfolio companies in several ways, including deploying pilot scale-up projects, securing follow-on investments, and pursuing acquisitions. Elemental’s portfolio and pipeline provide partners with strategic value, including access to deal flow, investor events and insights into the front lines of innovation in their respective sectors.

“We are very pleased to add Conservation International as an Innovation Partner. As a respected, established organization with a global reach and decades of experience, it will provide important help to portfolio companies seeking to expand into new markets, deploy new projects, and target new customers,” said Dawn Lippert, CEO of Elemental Excelerator. “Our track record of identifying and investing in high-quality companies and projects generating meaningful environmental and social impact supports Conservation International’s mission. We look forward to collaborating with Conservation International Ventures to identify promising companies and technologies, and deploy projects in new and existing geographies in Asia-Pacific and beyond.”

About Elemental Excelerator

Elemental Excelerator helps startups change the world, one community at a time. Each year, it finds 15-20 companies that best fit its mission and funds each company up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives: energy, mobility, water, agriculture, and beyond. To date, it has awarded over $30 million to 82 companies. For more information, please visit

About Conservation International

Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa,” “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on its Human Nature blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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MyoStim ED Announces First Patient Enrolled in 2nd Study of Erectistim Bioelectric Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

Team hopes to improve on 85% success of first study. First study to focus on precise controlled protein expressions via bioelectric signaling sequences intended for mature blood vessel, muscle and nerve regeneration.

Press Release – Los Angeles, California, Salt Lake City, Utah, Pittsburgh, PA and Porto Alegre, Brazil – January 30th, 2019 – MyoStim ED is a clinical stage company within the Leonhardt’s Launchpads accelerator focused on bioelectric and biological treatment of erectile dysfunction. The bioelectric stimulator Erectistim is being tested first as a stand alone treatment of 15 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks.

Dr. Leslie Miller, Chief Medical Officer said: “We are pleased to announce the first patient enrollment in our second MyoStim ED Erectistim study examining bioelectric stimulation for erectile dysfunction recovery. This study will be double blinded, randomized and placebo controlled. This is an important milestone for MyoStim ED and its product Erectistim, building on the success of the previous published study where 85% of treated patients experienced significant improvement and no placebo patients recovered”.

“The first study utilized our previously patented bioelectric signaling sequence for VEGF expression which we know produces small new blood vessels that sometimes leak and sometimes retreat. The new study includes a full suite of angiogenic signals which may include controlled expressions of HGF, EGF, HIF1a, SDF1, PDGF, IGF1 and eNOS which we know from previous studies create more mature and larger diameter new blood vessels that do not leak and do not retreat with true mature endothelium linings. The new study will also include bio-electric signaling sequences intended to control release of SDF1 and PDGF for stem cell homing, for managing fibrosis, regenerating nerve tissues and neuro modulation. One of the most important adds in the new study is our patent pending bioelectric signaling sequences for controlled release of Follistatin intended for smooth muscle regeneration and myostatin/follistatin balancing, intended to reverse fibrosis.” stated Howard J. Leonhardt, Executive Chairman & CEO of MyoStim ED and co-inventor of many of bioelectric signaling sequences being used in the study.

“In our previous studies we demonstrated that erectile dysfunction, due to the decrease of blood flow or progressive vascular/penile corporal fibrosis leading to venous leak in the penile corpora cavernosa, resulting from the impairment of smooth muscle function may also be affected by the imbalance of the myostatin/ follistatin ratio, which in the penile corpora cavernosa may be essential for its healthy function. Therefore, reducing this ratio with signals increasing follistatin may help smooth muscle cells recovery and counteract fibrosis by inactivating myostatin expressed in the corporal smooth muscle. This new study, if successful, will lead a path to a product being available for the patients that do not respond to other therapies directed only towards improving blood flow and retention, or even to a novel early non pharmacological therapy.”, stated Dr. Nestor Gonzalez-Cadavid, Chief Scientific Advisor to MyoStim ED, and who holds academic positions not involved in this trial (Director of the Urology Research Laboratory, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LABioMed) at Harbor UCLA, Urology Research Laboratory Director, and Professor at the Department of Urology, UCLA School of Medicine)

Results of the previous single bioelectric signal study were published in a peer reviewed paper – An initial study on the effect of functional electrical stimulation in erectile dysfunction: a randomized controlled trial International Journal of Impotence Research ( IF 1.517 ) Pub Date : 2018-05-22 , DOI: 10.1038/s41443-018-0024-8

To evaluate the impact of FES on erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction. Twenty-two patients with ED participated in this randomized clinical trial. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups: intervention (IG) or control (CG). IG participants underwent FES therapy (50 Hz/500 µs) for a total of 4 weeks, divided into two weekly sessions lasting 15 min each, with intensity lower than the motor threshold. CG participants were treated with placebo FES and followed the same routine as the IG. Erectile function was assessed by the validated International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) and Erection Hardness Score (EHS), applied before and after treatment, and quality of life, by the WHOQOL questionnaire. Statistically significant differences in IIEF-5 and EHS were found between the IG and CG after treatment (p < 0.05), as well as a within-group difference in the IG when comparing the post-treatment periods (p < 0.0001).

“This new study will not only have additional bioelectric signaling sequences directed towards a more lasting affect but importantly addresses both muscle and nerve regeneration in addition to improving blood flow. For these reasons we entered the collaboration with the team at MyoStim ED that developed the Erectistim product.” stated M.S. Cristiane Carboni of Department of Health Science and Rehabilitation, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre-UFCSPA, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Manager Sociedade Brasileira de Estudos em Sexualidad Humana (Coordinator of the pelvic flood rehabilitation post graduation, University Inspirar of Port Alegre. Secretary of the Brazialian Society of Studies on Human Sexuality, and lead author of the original study published in the Internationa Journal of Impotence Research whom has now joined MyoStim ED also as Chief Scientific Officer.

About MyoStim ED:

MyoStim ED is a startup founded in 2016 incubating within Leonhardt’s Launchpads innovation and startups accelerators in California, Utah, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Australia. The focus is on development of bioelectric and biologics solutions for erectile dysfunction.

About Leonhardt’s Launchpads:

Leonhardt’s Launchpads founded in 2008 is the innovation and startup accelerator arm of Leonhardt Ventures LLC focused on organ regeneration and recovery technologies. The accelerator has labs and other research and startup launch related resources in both Northern and Southern California, Utah, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Australia. The accelerator is served by more than 140 experience advisors and mentors in all areas of expertise – + The headquarters Leonhardt’s Launchpads by Cal-X Stars Business Accelerator, Inc. located in Los Angeles with close collaborations with Mettler Electronics and DeviceLab and Hoag Hospital in Orange County, UCLA, USC , LABioMed, QIG Greatbatch, Pacific Neurosciences Institute, John Wayne Cancer Institute and Caltech in Los Angeles County. In Utah is Leonhardt’s Launchpads Utah, Inc, with two dedicated research labs a whole team of bioengineers, chemists, startup launch specialists and biologists and access to research collaborators at the University of Utah, BYU and Utah State University. Leonhardt’s Launchpads Pittsburgh launched in 2018 and works out of LifeXLabs. Leonhardt’s Launchpads Australia PTY also launched in 2018 and works in research collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and St. Vincents Hospital, Sydney. Leonhardt’s Launchpads has had an affiliated office in Minneapolis since its founded and works in close collaboration with Biomerics Advanced Catheter there as well as the University of Minnesota. Dr. Leslie Miller the Chief Medical Officer of Leonhardt’s Launchpads was formerly for more than a decade Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Minnesota. 30 startups are currently in the 2019 portfolio class in the areas of (1) Heart & Cardiovascular, (2) Brain, (3) Cosmetic & Personal Care, (4) Major Organ Regeneration and (5) Cancer – + + The innovation accelerator business model is to accelerate each organ specific innovation and corresponding startup through first-in-man studies and then find a strategic partner.

About Leonhardt Ventures LLC:

Leonhardt Ventures LLC (Leonhardt Vineyards LLC DBA Leonhardt Ventures) founded in 1982 and formed into and LLC ins 2005 is the commercialization arm of inventor Howard J. Leonhardt. Howard Leonhardt has over 21 issued U.S. patents and over 180 new patents claims pending with the USPTO at this time – In the 1980’s Leonhardt and team led the development of patented predictably compliant cardiovascular balloon catheters and the first bioelectric and vibrational energy treatments for leg ischemia and deep vein thrombosis. In the 1990’s they developed the leading stent graft system for aortic aneurysm repair and the first percutaneous heart valves, intravascular lung catheters and biological pacemakers. In the 2000’s the team accomplished the first ever non-surgical repair of a human heart with muscle stem cells and went on to developed a full portfolio of bioelectric, micro pump and mixed composition based organ regeneration technologies. Leonhardt Ventures LLC is the leading shareholder of all 30 startups in the Leonhardt’s Launchpads organ regeneration and recovery accelerator. It also owns Leonhardt Vineyards that has been producing grapes and wine in Sonoma Country, California since 2000 and leading share positions in a host of social good impact startups.

About Dr. Nestor Gonzalez-Cadavid:

Dr. Gonzalez-Cadavid has made significant research contributions in several fields of cellular and molecular biology approaches to pathophysiology, and he has focused for the last 3 decades in translational sexual medicine research, mainly androgen dependence of penile growth and erectile function, and the effect of risk factors for erectile dysfunction, such as aging, diabetes, and smoking, on the nitric oxide/cGMP control of the erectile response. His group reported the first demonstration of the correction of erectile dysfunction in an animal model by gene therapy, and more recently showed that long-term continuous administration of nitric oxide donors and PDE5 inhibitors corrects in animal models the underlying corporal and arterial fibrosis associated with aging, diabetes and radical prostatectomy, as well as the fibrotic plaque of Peyronie’s disease. Lately, he has extended those studies to the modulation of multipotent and stem cell differentiation by nitric oxide, cGMP, and myostatin, and its application to the therapy of erectile dysfunction and other forms of urogenital disease and other conditions associated with tissue fibrosis. He is currently funded for some of these studies by NIH and other agencies and private companies. He serves as reviewer of many journals and member of several academic and research committees, and has three patents awarded.

Forward looking statements

This announcement may contain certain forward-looking statements. Whilst the Directors believe all such statements to have been fairly made on reasonable assumptions, there can be no guarantee that any of them are accurate or that all relevant considerations have been included in the directors’ assumptions; accordingly, no reliance whatsoever should be placed upon the accuracy of such statements, all of which are for illustrative purposes only, are based solely upon historic financial and other trends and information, including third party estimates, and may be subject to further verification. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations as of the date of this announcement and should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These and other important factors, under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s recently issued circular to shareholders in relation to its proposed fundraising, available upon request, and under the heading “Principal risks and uncertainties” in the Company’s last annual report, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this announcement. Neither the Company nor its Directors makes any representation or warranty in respect of the accuracy, completeness or verification of the contents of this announcement. Warning: Products mentioned have not yet been proven to be safe or effective by properly sized and powered Phase II/III clinical trials. Patents issued may not be maintained. Patents pending may not be issued. Company does not have sufficient resources on hand at this time to reach its stated goals. The company is understaffed and underfunded compared to similar competitors in the fields. A small staff maintains the updating of over 40 related web sites and all other materials and leaves the company prone that some information in some documents and web site pages may be significantly outdated. If you are considering an investment in any of these startups mentioned they must be regarded as no other than extremely high risk due to the early stage nature of the developments, the uncharted territory of paving new technologic pathways and the lack of funding and resources available to complete all essential tasks to being the products to commercial success in any form.

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UC Berkeley and NVCA Launch VC University, A New Educational Program Providing Online and Live Events for the U.S. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC – The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, through its Startup@BerkeleyLaw initiative, and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) are delighted to announce their partnership and launch of VC University, an educational program providing practical training on venture finance for entrepreneurs, investors, attorneys and others interested in emerging company finance. Participants can access VC University through the online certificate program or by attending one of the in-person programs held in emerging venture ecosystems across the United States, called VC University LIVE. VC University will also partner with the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University to bring VC University LIVE to the Midwest and South.

“VC University provides an opportunity for participants to learn about venture fundamentals and connect with local leaders and influencers from Silicon Valley, and we are thrilled to launch this new program in partnership with Berkeley Law,” says Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “We look forward to seeing aspiring, new, and seasoned investors and entrepreneurs from around the U.S. attend these in-person events or enroll in the online course. Education and best practices are critical to the future of our industry, and VC University supports ecosystems across the country with potential investment opportunities and access to capital.”

VC University incorporates lectures and interviews with faculty from the University of California, Berkeley, executives from NVCA, leading U.S. venture investors, and faculty from local universities. The VC University online program democratizes access to the nuts and bolts of venture finance, while the VC University LIVE events build on this by convening emerging ecosystems to bring together interested VCs from coast-to-coast and provide educational and networking opportunities. Participants who complete either component of the program receive a certificate.

The program builds on the strong educational track record at Startup@BerkeleyLaw. The initiative was founded in 2015 and provides hands-on training for entrepreneurs and investors at UC Berkeley as well as at partner institutions around the world. Professor Robert Bartlett, faculty chair of Startup@BerkeleyLaw notes, “When we launched Startup@BerkeleyLaw in 2015, a central goal was to provide access to the venture capital ecosystem through providing hands-on training on the financial and legal terms that drive venture capital finance. We are delighted to partner with the NVCA to make VC finance accessible to an even broader range of communities.”

Enrollment in the online course is now open through March 22, 2019. The course will commence on April 1, 2019, and enrollment includes a one-year subscription to over 20 hours of materials. Content for the online course will be updated annually. The inaugural VC University LIVE events will be held in the Midwest on May 15-17, 2019 at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, Michigan and then in the South on September 19-21, 2019 with the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. As part of this program, VC University will also be partnering with PitchBook, the premier data provider for the private and public equity markets, to provide VC University students with limited access to PitchBook’s private market data and resources.

Learn more about VC University and see how you can get involved by visiting the VC University website at

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Knack Wins Village Capital US Education Program and Receives $125,000 Investment

Press Release – Tampa, Florida (January 28, 2019) — Today Knack announced they have received a joint investment from ETS and VilCap Investments to further their mission of advancing academic success and college-to-career outcomes for university students.

“Knack’s objectives are in line with ETS’s mission,” said ETS Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Scott Weaver. “In addition to driving equity and opportunity in education, ETS is focused on bridging the gap between what employers want and what institutions are teaching. We’re seeking to help education providers teach and assess learners for key competencies of the future, employers recruit and develop employees, and job seekers demonstrate their skill set. With Knack, we hope to be able to inform and boost students’ skills development along with positive academic and career outcomes.”

Knack is the leading peer tutoring platform helping universities boost student retention, engagement, and college-to-career outcomes. Their mobile and web applications enable postsecondary institutions like Arizona State University to modernize and scale academic and student support services through an innovative peer-led model. The company focuses on up-skilling students not only for success in the classroom but also for the 21 st-century workplace. In an effort to democratize access to academic support for students of all backgrounds, Knack introduces Corporate Partners like PwC to sponsor the program at their growing network of partnered campuses enabling corporations to give back and identify/engage with rising campus talent within specific disciplines.

The Florida-based EdTech startup fresh off a $1.5M seed raise was selected for investment by a group of peer entrepreneurs on the final day of Education US 2018: Bridging the Skills Gap a four-month venture development program managed by Village Capital in collaboration with ETS, AT&T, BlackRock, and Lumina Foundation. Other organizations involved included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Strada Education Network who offered strategic advice and feedback to the participating entrepreneurs.

“As we continue to partner with innovative institutions focused on bettering educational and career outcomes for students, we couldn’t be more excited to have ETS, the industry leader in assessments, join us in bolstering student-tutor learning outcomes and skills development” said Samyr Qureshi, Knack Co-Founder & CEO. “Having ETS as a strategic partner and investor gives us a unique opportunity to collaborate on and tailor our assessment process to better represent how students are developing throughout their tutoring – ultimately driving more value to our community of university partners and corporate sponsors,” Qureshi continued.

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Refinitiv Joins UN Task Force as a Data Partner to Ensure Digital Financing Efforts Support Sustainable Development Goals

Press Release – New York/London – Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insight, Refinitiv today announced that it has joined the UN’s Task Force on Digital Financing consisting of leaders from a range of sectors from both developed and developing countries. The global task force is charged with recommending strategies to harness the potential of financial technology that advances the the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Task Force meets in Davos this week at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and is expected to present its preliminary report of recommendations to the Secretary-General in September.

“We believe that by unearthing insight and providing transparency around the link between sustainability and financial performance we can drive positive change in investor behaviour,” said David Craig, CEO of Refinitiv. “Joining the UN Task Force on Digital Financing of Sustainable Development Goals as a data partner represents an opportunity to use our role as change-makers across the financial community to encourage the development of transparent and measurable standards for sustainable finance.”

Refinitiv provides over 40,000 customers with over 40 billion market updates daily in over 190 countries, enabling them to make better informed decisions. By mid-Jan 2019, Refinitiv had already collected, processed and distributed nearly 500 billion data points.

“The Secretary-General’s Task Force is pleased to be working with Refinitiv as a data partner,” said Tillman Bruett, director of the Task Force secretariat. “As we explore ways in which the digitalization of finance can be used to unlock resources for the Sustainable Development Goals, having solid data on the sources, types and direction of funding flows is critical to our work. With Refinitiv’s support, we hope to find opportunities in which small changes to investment criteria or incentives could shift investors and investments toward more sustainable outcomes.”

According to the UN, organisations collectively spend billions trying to prevent financial crime. Corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion cost some US $1.26 trillion for developing countries per year; this amount of money could be used to lift those who are living on less than $1.25 a day above $1.25 for at least six years. The estimated amount of money laundered globally from financial crimes such as human trafficking, bribery and fraud in one year is 2 – 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion – $2 trillion in current US dollars.

“Together with the UN Task Force and other partners such as Europol and WEF, we believe that we have a responsibility to promote more effective dialog and information sharing between public and private entities and to provide transparent data that harnesses the transformative powers of FinTech and RegTech to help organizations rethink how they do business and manage risks,” added Craig.

Refinitiv has tools, World-Check, that assist businesses with fulfilling their Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence screening obligations. World-Check Risk intelligence covers over 64 categories of risk including risk associated with environmental and wildlife crimes and with social risks such as child labour and human trafficking. It is critical for businesses to have insight into who they are doing business with in order to disrupt dirty money from illicit acts being funnelled back into the financial system.

Last week Refinitiv pledged support for UN sustainable development goals and committed to continuously lighten its environmental footprint to achieve carbon neutrality by end of 2020. Refinitiv expects to be powered by 100% renewable energy by end of 2020 and is committed to reducing annual carbon emissions every year by an average of 10% over the next five years, becoming a more sustainable business longer term.

Refinitiv is a signatory to the Women in Finance Charter and is committed to putting sustainability at the core of its product offering, as demonstrated by its Diversity & Inclusion Index which ranks the top 100 most diverse and inclusive organizations globally and was used to create the financial industry’s first Inclusion & Diversity ETF fund in partnership with Blackrock.

Refinitiv has been serving the financial industry with ESG data and solutions for over 15 years and offers one of the richest ESG databases in the industry – a fully transparent resource that is trusted by investors and corporates to drive positive impact and provide comprehensive analysis. As members of the UN Global Compact, Refinitiv is part of a community of 9,000+ businesses across 135 countries that are committed to operating with responsible business practices at its core.

About Refinitiv

Refinitiv is one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, serving over 40,000 institutions in over 190 countries. It provides leading data and insights, trading platforms, and open data and technology platforms that connect a thriving global financial markets community – driving performance in trading, investment, wealth management, regulatory compliance, market data management, enterprise risk and fighting financial crime. For more information visit:

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Everytable Closes Its First Program-Related Investment (PRI) Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

This investment will be used to further missions of both Everytable and the Kellogg Foundation

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, Jan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/Everytable is a grab and go restaurant, whose mission is to make nutritious, fresh food affordable and accessible to all. Everytable aims to redefine the food landscape the same way McDonald’s did fifty years ago. However, this time, instead of burgers and fries, it is healthy, made-from-scratch food, at fast-food prices, that will enable all communities to have equitable access to quality food and help eliminate food deserts and food injustice.

“Everytable’s mission directly aligns with our goal to increase access to fresh, local, healthy food and improve nutrition for children and families,” said Kellogg Foundation Director of Mission Investment Cynthia Muller. “Children are at the heart of everything we do, and this investment creates healthy and affordable food options that are culturally relevant for families—something that rarely exists in food-insecure communities.”

Everytable is a social enterprise. Social enterprises are organizations that try to solve social problems through business, combining the heart of a nonprofit with the scalability and innovative potential of for-profits. Foundations, like the Kellogg Foundation, have been allowed to invest in social enterprises through PRI’s for almost 50 years, but only a tiny percentage of foundations deploy them. With PRI funding, these hybrid businesses could usher in a boom that would bridge society’s equity gaps.

Everytable is doing just that: bridging the gap in equality by addressing society’s food injustice. With this investment, Everytable will:

  • Pilot a franchise model which focuses on entrepreneurs of color from underserved communities owning stores;
  • Explore a new model designed to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Run educational programming for students at California State University, Los Angeles around its new store (Everytable’s first store with a university) opening in January 2019.

“The Kellogg Foundation is the gold-standard of foundations. Their innovative approach to equality and justice has improved countless lives and communities, and we at Everytable are honored by their confidence in our team, and our business model, which we believe has the potential to reshape the food system to make healthy food affordable and accessible for all,” says Sam Polk, Founder & CEO of Everytable.

Everytable currently has six stores—Baldwin Hills, Cal State LA, Compton, Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and South Los Angeles—and two more opening early next year in Watts and Brentwood. The stores located in underserved areas (also referred to as food deserts) sell meals for $5 to $6, and in the more affluent areas, the same meals are priced $8 to $9.

Everytable is an evolved business model that uses great food, beautiful design, and a variable pricing model to succeed and help balance injustice. It has made the commitment to address the food injustice felt by millions throughout Los Angeles through its innovative food delivery platform and stores, with the potential to reach millions more across the country and beyond. To ensure that everyone can afford its meals, its unique pricing model enables every neighborhood to enjoy healthy, affordable meals.

SOURCE W.K. Kellogg Foundation

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Introducing Two Good and Good Plants: A Disruptive Duo that Will Give Americans New Reasons to Fall in Love with the Yogurt Aisle All Over Again

Press Release – WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 15, 2019 — Responding to demand for options with less sugar, Danone North America, the leading maker of yogurt in the U.S., today announced the launch of Two Good™ Greek Lowfat Yogurt. This game-changing innovation offers the delicious, creamy taste people love about yogurt, with 2g of total sugar, 3g of carbs, 12g of protein and 80 calories per 5.3 oz. cup.

The Two Good recipe came to life when yogurt makers at Danone North America discovered a novel slow-straining process, which is now patent-pending. Slow-straining allows the company’s yogurt makers to remove most of the sugar from the milk before the yogurt is made. Each cup is slow-strained down to 2g of total sugar. The result is a thick, creamy Greek yogurt that is rich in protein with 85% less sugar than average yogurts.*

“Milk is the starting point for yogurt, and sugar is naturally occurring in milk. As people continue to look for ways to reduce sugar from their diets, we’ve been working hard to find a way to remove some of the naturally occurring sugar found in milk so that yogurt continues to be a preferred choice,” said Thierry St. Denis, Danone North America’s Senior Director of Research and Innovation for yogurt. “In hindsight, now that all of the hard work of development has been completed, the process seems quite simple. It is with great pride that we announce the launch of Two Good, a delicious yogurt our team has worked diligently to perfect.”

“We expect sugar to continue to be an area of interest for consumers, which is why our yogurt makers prioritized developing a recipe to address it head on,” said Amanda Blechman, Registered Dietitian, and Senior Manager of Scientific Affairs at Danone North America. “With Two Good, yogurt-lovers have an option with the creamy texture they enjoy without a lot of the sugar they are trying to avoid.”

Two Good has 0g added sugar** per serving with the perfect touch of sweetness from the 2g of total sugar coming from the milk, paired with delicious flavor blends and a touch of stevia. Two Good Greek lowfat yogurt is gluten-free, Non-GMO Project Verified, and available in five delicious flavors including, Strawberry, Blueberry, Vanilla, Peach and Mixed Berry.

In addition to a revolutionary new Greek yogurt option, Danone North America recently introduced Good Plants™ dairy-free Almondmilk Probiotic Yogurt Alternative. As the flexitarian lifestyle continues to evolve and gain popularity, the growth of plant-based alternatives presents an opportunity to further grow Americans’ love of yogurt. With 40% fewer calories and 70% less sugar than most almondmilk yogurt alternatives***, Good Plants offers consumers four delicious flavors including, Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate Coconut and Lemon Meringue.

“To introduce people to these innovative new offerings in the yogurt aisle, we are launching a new campaign, Do Good By You,” said Prabha Cheemalapati, Vice President of Yogurt Marketing. “Do Good By You is more than a tagline, it’s a brand mantra that encourages self-care every day. National advertising created with trusted partners, VMLY&R, Revolution Digital and Wavemaker, will hit TV, online video and social this month. We look forward to learning about all the inspiring ways people choose to do good for themselves and having them make Two Good a part of those moments.”

Two Good will be available in grocery stores nationwide beginning February 2019 with an MSRP of $1.49. For more information, including nutritional information, visit Good Plants is currently available with an MSRP of $1.89. For more information visit

About Danone North America

Danone North America is a Certified B Corporation business unit of Danone and operates in the U.S. from headquarter offices in White Plains, NY and Broomfield, CO. Danone North America was formed as a Public Benefit Corporation in 2017 to nourish people, communities and the world through its diverse portfolio of healthful dairy- and plant-based products, coffee creamers and beverages. Its portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, Danonino®, Danone®, Earthbound Farm®, Horizon Organic® premium dairy products, International Delight® coffee creamers and iced coffee, Light & Fit®, Oikos® Greek yogurt, Silk® plant-based foods and beverages, So Delicious® Dairy Free, Vega® and Wallaby® Organic. The mission of the Company is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, please visit

*Two Good: 80 calories, 2g fat, 2g sugar per 5.3oz. Average regular yogurt: 130 calories, 2.5g fat, 16g sugar per 5.3oz.

**Not a low-calorie food.

***Good Plants: 100 calories, 4g fat, 4g sugar. Regular almondmilk yogurt alternative: 170 calories, 10g fat, 13g sugar per 5.3 oz.

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Kristin Frank Joins Cornerstone Capital Group Board of Directors

Press Release – NEW YORK, January 9, 2019Cornerstone Capital Group (“Cornerstone”), an SEC-registered investment advisor that pursues financial returns alongside social impact by incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis into portfolio design, today announced the appointment of Kristin Frank to its Board of Directors. Frank, recently named President and Board Director at AdPredictive, a software company delivering the industry’s first outcomes-driven customer marketing intelligence platform, is a highly seasoned industry thought leader and transformational executive who brings with her more than 20 years of global business experience.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Kristin Frank joining our Board. Kristin’s exceptional leadership in the media industry, her deep expertise in digital media, and her innovative excellence in technology and distribution will add tremendous value to our organization,” said Erika Karp, Founder and CEO of Cornerstone. “At Cornerstone, as we strive to optimize both financial and social impact, we know that Kristin will set a high bar for the stewardship and scaling of the company.”

Frank has built, transformed, led and scaled successful businesses. Most recently, she served as Chief Operating Officer at MTV where she managed revenue, strategy, and operations for a $1.8B portfolio. She spearheaded the brand’s turnaround, brand reinvention, digital innovation, and market growth.

“I am honored to join Cornerstone’s Board of Directors and be part of its mission to integrate sustainable finance across the capital markets,” stated Frank. “This is an exciting time to join Cornerstone, as it continues to stand out by demonstrating an incredible commitment to impact investing and sustainability.”

Previously, Frank was EVP at Viacom Music and Entertainment Connected Content Division, where she doubled revenue by transforming consumer product, data, engineering and content. Prior to this position, Frank was General Manager for MTV and VH1 Digital where she doubled traffic to its digital platforms. She also acted as Chief Operating Officer of LOGO TV where she launched and built a powerful new media business.

Additionally, Frank serves on the Board of Directors of Brightcove (Nasdaq: BCOV), and Gaia (Nasdaq: GAIA). She also served on the Board of Gaiam and completed its sale to Sequential Brands in 2016. Frank was recognized by Variety as one of the most powerful women in cable and top women in digital.

About Cornerstone

Founded in 2013, Cornerstone Capital Group is a financial services firm based in New York. The mission of the firm is to optimize financial performance and social impact through rigorous research and the systematic integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into portfolio design. In offering investment advisory and strategic consulting services, Cornerstone works with individuals, family offices, foundations and endowments, corporations and other financial services providers, and promotes new research in the field of ESG analysis.

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