NUImpact, Northeastern University’s Impact Investment Fund, officially closed its first-ever investment in June 2020. The Fund contributed $25,000 in SAFE note financing towards EatWell Meal Kits, a Boston-based social enterprise committed to addressing food insecurity and promoting long-term positive health outcomes in the community. While the investment just recently closed, Eatwell was originally sourced in Fall of 2019, and is the culmination of years of passion and hard-work by NUImpact members to build out our thorough fund infrastructure and secure investment capital.
NUImpact Fund Overview
The NUImpact Fund seeks to deploy flexible capital into Boston-focused, for-profit, sustainable businesses to address social and environmental challenges faced by underserved stakeholders in our community. The Fund is able to invest through debt or equity financing to maximize value to entrepreneurs and the communities they serve. The Fund is led by NUImpact’s leadership team, consisting of a President and Directors of Investments, Fund Development, Fund Operations, and Community & Impact. The investment process is facilitated by the management team and carried out by 30 analysts focused on 5 impact verticals: Food & Agriculture, Healthcare, Community & Economic Development, Education & Financial Services, and Energy & Environment.
EatWell Meal Kits Overview
According to Feeding America, more than 37 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, lacking reliable access to affordable and nutritious food. EatWell’s solution to this problem is a meal kit — a box containing a 30-minute, 1-pot recipe and all the ingredients to cook a healthy dinner for a family at only $3/serving. EatWell recipes are “easy to follow, kid-friendly, and community informed, incorporating local preferences into nutritionally balanced meals.” By partnering with community centers for distribution and organizations such as the Lena Park Community Development Corporation, the American Heart Association, and MassChallenge for development, EatWell is able to create meaningful, positive change in the Boston area. EatWell was founded in 2017 by two students at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Dan Wexler (CEO) and Kevin Hall (COO).
NUImpact Investment Process
EatWell was chosen as the top investment prospect from a competitive Fall 2019 cohort of Boston-based impact ventures identified by the NUImpact team. During the semester, the analyst teams sourced 100+ investment prospects, completed varying levels of due diligence on ~40 ventures, and presented final pitches to the Investment Committee for 4 of the companies. Following these pitches, the Fund’s management team met extensively with NUImpact’s advisors, conducted further diligence with the finalists, and ultimately came to an investment decision. Input was gathered from various NUImpact stakeholders and the official selection was made by the five voting members of the Fall’19 Investment Committee: Karan Kishorepuria (President), Tess Alonge (Director of Investments), Aarambh Pradhan (Director of Fund Operations), Mindi Chen (alumni representative, DMSB ’17), and Mark Bernfeld (faculty advisor). The committee unanimously chose EatWell, sourced by junior analyst Kiley Lubeck (DMSB’21) as part of the Food & Agriculture team, due to its success in executing its impactful mission in our Boston community, its impressive traction with partnerships, and its strong management team.
As EatWell is now a portfolio company of NUImpact, the Fund team will remain connected with the company going forward through two main avenues. First, EatWell will engage in portfolio management activities including financial reporting and impact measurement with the NUImpact team, with potential to participate in future rounds of financing. Second, NUImpact will collaborate with EatWell through Educational Consulting projects: the Fund team will work with EatWell each academic semester, as resources permit, on a high-impact project of value to EatWell that leverages the skill sets and expertise of the Fund’s students and the resources at Northeastern University. These engagements will enhance the educational building mission of NUImpact while creating value for EatWell, driving success for the company and positive impact for the community.
NUImpact Funding Sources
Philanthropic fundraising at NUImpact is student-led in close partnership with Northeastern University Advancement and NUImpact’s network of industry, university, and alumni advisors. Support for NUImpact educational programming, the NU Sustainable Investment Summit, and the NUImpact Fund has come from a variety of generous individuals, companies, alumni, and centers within the University. The NUImpact Fund’s investment in EatWell was made possible through funding from the Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education.
Authored by: Tess Alonge (DMSB’20), Director of Investments James DeCunzo (CSSH’20), Director of Fund Development