With nearly 30 members, the Philadelphia chapter of Investors’ Circle, a national angel group that invests in social entrepreneurs, is the biggest chapter in the country. IC-Philadelphia has invested $3 million in 10 companies since its launch in 2009, including sustainable laundry service Wash Cycle Laundry, sponsored advertising startup ElectNext (now Versa), and women’s financial literacy site DailyWorth, reports Technically Philly. Those companies have gone on to raise $22 million. IC-Philadelphia held a pitch event that was open to the public earlier this month that drew 160 people.
IC, the parent organization, was founded more than 20 years ago to foster impact investing, and has attracted hundreds of small businesses from around the world. The group started with offices in Boston and San Francisco. Conferences are held on the east and west coast on an annual basis. Traditionally, a group of angel investors spread throughout the country, they’d meet twice a year on each coast for two days to hear pitches from local startups.
The group only considers companies in a two-hour train ride radius (that would put D.C. in, but Boston out). Now, cities like New York, Raleigh, and San Francisco are following Philadelphia’s lead and building up local chapters of their own, according to IC-Philadelphia President John Moore.
IC-Philadelphia was founded by GoodCompany Ventures head Garrett Melby, SustainVC Managing Partner Tom Balderston, B-Lab Co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert, and Cliff David, who runs a sustainable real estate company called Cirsium. Moore notes it is an anchor of Philadelphia’s strengthening social enterprise sector.