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Startup Incubators Investing in Positivity

Startup incubators are showing how seed capital, shared office space, purpose-driven mentors and venture philanthropist connections can launch entrepreneurs to “do epic shit” and save the world.

We live in a world where startups have changed the entire business landscape and obtain success that was once only seen in Hollywood movies. Startups are great–but the truth is, 90% fail. That’s why incubators have been a saving grace for many. Incubators were developed as a means to nurture, grow, and guide startups through complex decisions. Just like the startups they assist, incubators are evolving, and a select few have made it their mission to incubate socially responsible companies with the potential to change the world.

The Hub

The Hub is a global network that spans over 100 cities and supports over 16,000 members. The collective has a shared focus on building entrepreneurial communities that create a positive impact on a measurable scale; this is done by assisting innovators, dreamers, and entrepreneurs who are creating tangible solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. According to The Hub’s website, each hub location serves as a community where local entrepreneurs can be assisted with events, workshops, mentors and other like-minded peers. The Hub has implemented a unique approach through gaining insight into social innovation by co-creating locally rooted, globally connected programs and events.

In addition to the global community, the Hub has an affiliate which operates as a separate entity. Hub Ventures is a unique accelerator program that lasts 12 weeks. Over the 12 weeks, companies are given $20,000 in seed funding, technical and business assistance, and access to a global network of investors and mentors. So far, the program has accepted 23 startups in San Francisco, but similar affiliate programs are being launched all over the world.

Orthogonal

Orthogonal is a socially conscious holding company with a mission to provide a new approach to capitalism, one that is profitable and provides a positive impact on people and the planet. They work with both emerging companies with proven revenue and start-ups with little more than a brilliant idea growing in an untapped market. As a holding company, Orthogonal provides strategic capital to socially conscious startups and creates their own businesses through joint ventures. One of their latest joint ventures led to the recent creation of Orthogonal Collective, a wing of their company that is focused solely on providing capital to socially conscious cannabis companies. Some of the notable companies that have blossomed from checks that Orthogonal wrote during their seed rounds include Betterment, Adstage, Wefunder, Confident Cannabis, and Meadow.

Orthogonal has three primary means of supporting startups and they have developed unique criteria to identify and accelerate the expansion of high-frequency companies and products. The first is through a global innovation hub in Maui where investors, founders and portfolio companies can work with like-minded individuals that operate socially conscious businesses. The second is strategic capital and resources, Orthogonal provides pivotal funding to companies that give them the necessary resources for scaling. Finally, all companies are plugged into the Orthogonal ecosystem and have direct access to network and partner with other companies in their portfolio.

Fledge

Fledge is a global network of conscious company incubators, accelerators, and investment funds, that helps entrepreneurs create impactful companies and co-ops at scale through rigorous educational programs full of guidance and mentorship. Fledge’s approach is similar to TechStars, but their focus is on companies that make the world a better place. With only seven locations around the globe, Fledge has a much smaller global network than The Hub; however, their approach is also much different. According to Fledge, each city runs up to one session per year, although each is a bit different, they’re all focused on mission-driven, for-profit companies.

Fledge has a core curriculum that is based on The Next Step books and online classes; these courses provide entrepreneurs with the skills needed for business success: strategy, financials, marketing, sales, funding, etc. Fledge also offers mentorship through their comprehensive network of mentors across the world.

Global accelerator networks have served as a great asset to startups. But, as the startup landscape continues to expand, incubators will need to double-down on niche efforts; they must transform and adapt accordingly to the problems startups face. Orthogonal is a perfect example of this; they’ve found the resources needed to navigate the complex cannabis space. In the future, we will most likely see socially conscious incubators that operate like Orthogonal, with global networks with the outreach of The Hub.

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