U-M’s Social Venture Fund Makes Second Investment this Year

Student-led fund participates in $225,000 investment round for sustainable start-up Jack & Jake's


Published:

ANN ARBOR — The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business announced today its Social Venture Fund has closed an investment in Jack & Jake's, a sustainable food provider based in Louisiana. 

The Social Venture Fund participated in this investment round which totaled $225,000 alongside lead and prior investor, Keller Enterprises, as well as angel investors and Amcref Community Capital, a New Orleans organization that provides community development financing.

This marks the second investment ever made by a socially-oriented student-led venture fund. The Fund's first investment was made in April of this year as part of LearnZillion's series A round.

Jack & Jake's is building a new local food system in the New Orleans area to reconnect farmers and fishers with those who need access to fresh, healthy foods. Led by founder and CEO John Burns, Jack & Jake's is helping to catalyze the economy and support multiple communities within Louisiana by extending the distribution and sales capabilities of local farmers and fishers, and bringing fresh food options to areas that wouldn't otherwise have them.

"The Social Venture Fund is helping us connect two groups who need each other: farms and fisheries and community institutions such as elementary schools, hospitals and assisted care facilities," Burns stated. "Students in the Social Venture Fund have created a set of social metrics against which we can measure the impact of the investment – not just the financial return, but more importantly the degree to which the investment is improving the community and the environment."

A team of seven students led by Sanjay Vachani (MBA '12) and Emily Rinner (MBA '12) sourced the deal through the Social Venture Fund's national call for business plans in 2011. While working with Burns, the team saw first-hand how growth plans for Jack & Jake's were taking shape and contributed to great momentum for the business. As a result, the time was right to join this latest investment round and provide Jack & Jake's with additional support.

"The recent deal with Jack & Jake's provided another opportunity for our students to experience the complexities of double bottom line ventures – balancing social need with a positive return on investment," stated Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute. The Zell Lurie Institute's three student-led investment funds -  Wolverine Venture Fund, Frankel Commercialization Fund, and Social Venture Fund - provide practical, hands-on experiences of investing real money in classical, early stage, and social arenas, respectively. The three funds together engage over 80 graduate students.

"Our goal as a fund is to support entrepreneurs in the social space and find organizations and leaders who need our support," stated Gautam Kaul, Professor of Finance at the Ross School of Business and managing director of the Social Venture Fund. "In this case, our student team did a great job cultivating a relationship and I am confident that both Jack & Jake's and our Social Venture Fund students will learn a tremendous amount and realize significant value from the business relationship."

The Social Venture Fund seeks to make early-stage investments of up to $200,000 in sustainable, innovative, for-profit organizations that deliver financial returns and place the generation of a significant social impact at the heart of their mission.

"This is so much more than an investment," Rinner stated. "We've had the rare opportunity as MBA students to learn first-hand about early stage investing in socially and environmentally responsible companies. Navigating complicated and sensitive issues like market sizing and valuation, while also strategizing ways to help Jack & Jake's continue on its growth trajectory, has pushed all of us to learn and work in ways we'd never be able to in the classroom setting."

For more information, visit the Institute at www.zli.bus.umich.edu.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Detroit Tigers Announce Partnership With Uber

With only two days until Tigers Opening Day at Comerica Park, the Detroit Tigers today announced a partnership with mobile ridesharing company Uber, naming them the team’s official ride-sharing company. This season, there will be a dedicated pick-up and drop-off zone for fans choosing to Uber to and from Comerica Park, located on the northbound side of the I-75 service drive, between John R and Brush Street.

Detroit Pistons and Henry Ford Health System Partner on Training, Rehab, and Sports Medicine Complex  

The Detroit Pistons and Henry Ford Health System today announced plans to build a new 100,000-square-foot training, rehabilitation, and sports medicine complex in Detroit’s New Center area. The site is bordered by Amsterdam Street, Second and Third Avenues, and a set of railroad tracks to the north. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

Ford Invests $1B in Argo AI, Works Towards Leading Autonomous Vehicle Market

Dearborn-based automaker Ford Motor Co. today announced a $1 billion investment in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI over the next five years, to develop a virtual driver system for the autonomous vehicle Ford has planned for 2021, and for potential licensing opportunities.

Meridian Winter Blast Set to Coincide With North American International Auto Show

The thirteenth annual Meridian Winter Blast, presented by Quicken Loans, has been moved up several weeks and is now scheduled to coincide with the final weekend of the North American International Auto Show — January 20-22.

Detroit Pistons to Move to Downtown in 2017, will Generate Additional $596.2M in Economic Impact

Agreements under which the Pistons will move to downtown Detroit and begin playing next season at the new Little Caesars Arena in The District Detroit, a $1.2 billion sports and entertainment development, have been announced today.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Ford’s Garage Restaurant Set to Open in Late June in Dearborn
    Ford’s Garage, designed as a neighborhood gourmet burger restaurant that caters to automotive...
  2. Build to Suit
    The Moceri family arrived in Detroit from Sicily in the 1890s and started a produce business....
  3. Architectural Engineering Firm to Open Detroit Office on Woodward
    Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr, and Huber, an architectural engineering firm in Novi with more than 60...
  4. Delta Airlines Tests Facial Recognition, Self-Service Bag Drop
    Atlanta-based Delta Airlines, which operates a major hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, today...
  5. Robertson Larson Group Offers New Condo Development in Downtown Birmingham
    A new residential condominium development, called 750 Forest and located in Birmingham’s...
  6. Wayne State University Opens Geology Mineral Museum in Detroit
    Wayne State University today announced a new Geology Mineral Museum, which includes a collection...