About CSD’s Social Venture Fund
Launched in 2018 by Communication Service for the Deaf, the Social Venture fund(SVF) invests in and supports innovative companies that place jobs for the deaf at the heart of their business model. As the first deaf-run social venture fund in the country, SVF provides an unparalleled action-based learning experience, which places equal importance on maximizing financial returns and socially-driven venture investing and entrepreneurship. The fund is housed within CSD, a 44 year old non profit organization that focuses on empowering individuals and organizations to create positive change in our community.
The Communication Service for the Deaf Social Venture fund invests in early stages (Seed, Bridge, or Series A), for-profit enterprises. Our portfolio companies generate measurable social impact and financial return. The fund is actively making investments annually on a continuous schedule with deaf-owned businesses through the sale of equity. We invest all returns into existing portfolio companies or new enterprises.
Along with financial investment, the Social Venture Fund provides consulting services to its portfolio companies, increasing the value of the investment and improving the likelihood of success of the enterprise. CSD associates participate in portfolio consulting projects annually as well as offering our portfolio members access to an incubator program that starts with a in person week gathering between portfolio member and CSD executives/subject matter experts in Austin,Tx.
Our Investment Criteria
- Social Enterprise: The Social Venture Fund focuses exclusively on for-profit social enterprises that are committed to positive and measurable social impact. In evaluating potential investments, we employ rigorous social and financial valuation techniques to ensure that companies have the potential to provide a strong blended social and financial return.
- Alignment with Investment Areas: We invest in post-revenue companies responding to critical challenges within society with an emphasis on jobs for the deaf.
- Investment Amounts and Stage: We invest $50,000 – $1,000,000 in equity into deaf-owned businesses posed for growth. Post-investment, year-after-year, we provide our portfolio companies access to resources at Communication Service for the Deaf to help them scale quickly and deliver on their social mission.
- Change Agent Entrepreneurs: We invest in deaf inspiring leaders capable of assembling a world-class team that shares their passion and commitment to the enterprise’s sustained impact.
- Location: We focus on businesses based in the United States but are open to hearing out deaf founders from other countries.
Values of the Fund
Social Venture Fund members:
· Are mentors and coaches
· Create and value a flat organization
· Have fun building a connected, warm community
· Prioritize diversity and inclusion in everything we do
· Own the fund’s success and commit ourselves to improving its success
· Are intellectually curious, seeking chances to learn and help others grow, and enjoy an intellectually rigorous environment
· Support each other’s growth with feedback and respect
· Support a psychologically safe environment and ensure the fund is a safe place to fail where SVF-ers admit when they are wrong or don’t know the answer
· Are positive and resilient
· Are Entrepreneurial, outside-of-the-box thinkers
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