About a year ago, my close friend Sejal & I made a series of repeated observations. In particular, we saw talented, enterprising young people building high-impact businesses around the world but not attaining VC funding— growing interesting, innovative ventures exhibiting tremendous promise and already creating measurable social value, but struggling to find the growth capital they needed. These companies interested us because they generated both IRR (although generally lower than what a typical investor looks for) and social ROI. And so we decided to support them.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of S2 Capital, a private social seed fund not affiliated with any venture capital firm. In our spare time, Sejal & I look for and support these young people creating products or services that are changing lives. We invest up to $30,000 in each company in a mix of debt and equity instruments. We’ve invested in three cutting edge companies, have formed a partnership with Ashoka Japan to support young entrepreneurs in the Tokohu nuclear disaster region, and are close to closing a fifth investment, this time in Ghana. Our Current Portfolio:
1) Skydrop Enterprises (Kenya) – Founded by Joel Mwale, currently 20 years old, Skydrop Enterprises is a producer and bottler of low-cost purified drinking water, milk and other dairy products, and canned fruit products in Kenya. Founded in December 2009, Skybox now employs 20+ staff members and serves a community of more than 2 million people in Kenya and Uganda. The company is expanding its operations across Africa and is on track to sell a million water bottles in 2012.
2) AYZH (India) – Founded by Zubaida Bai, AYZH is a for-profit social venture providing health and livelihood solutions to impoverished women worldwide. In 2010, AYZH launched its first product, JANMA, a clean birth kit, which provides women all the components recommended by the World Health Organization for a safe and hygienic birth, using environmentally friendly and culturally appealing materials. Additional products under development include: a newborn kit, a post partum hemorrhage kit, and a groundbreaking sanitation and hygiene solution for women.
3) Angels Finance Cooperation (Uganda) – Founded by George Bakka Wilson, AFC is a business incubator, accelerator, and investment vehicle for youth in Uganda. AFC houses the Mara Launchpad, Angels Ventures, and other initiatives to directly mentor and spur initiatives that emerge out of their programs.
Check out our website for more! www.s2cap.com