Meagan Packard joins SWAN Leadership as Director of Impact Reporting

The SWAN Impact Network  is pleased to announce that Megan Packard has joined SWAN’s leadership team as Director of Impact Reporting. In this role, Meagan will work with SWAN’s portfolio companies to report on SWAN’s impact in addressing environmental and societal challenges. SWAN’s establishment of this new leadership position is a demonstration of SWAN’s commitment to deliver meaningful impact through our investments.

Megan is motivated to find novel solutions to critical conservation & sustainability issues. Her aim is to get cutting edge research into the marketplace quickly to start solving our global climate and biodiversity problems today.

She is currently a Partner and serves as the Partnerships Director at GAV Conservation Management. GAV is a group of leading environmentalists, scientists, and entrepreneurs who have partnered with the world’s top ranked universities to focus on solutions to specific environmental problems. They work to accelerate climate action and sustainable development, and define a clear perspective on where to compete, how to compete and what it takes to win. Their  programs take 36 months from corporate problem identification to exit.

Meagan’s previous experience includes serving as a Senior Customer Success Manager for Tropic, a pre-series A software procurement as a service company. She was also the first customer success hire for a travel startup, running her own travel business, managing portfolio companies for a VC firm, building new imaging technology businesses for an incubator, product management for a health care division of Nestle and working as an associate consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. Meagan has a BA from Duke and an MBA from Kellogg. She lived abroad for seven years in Dubai and then outside London, raising her kids and exploring the world.

SWAN now has a Houston Chapter

The SWAN Impact Network’s new Houston chapter joins our Austin and Dallas chapters in investing and supporting impact companies focused on delivering social or environmental impact. SWAN is the fastest growing impact-focused angel network in the US.

The SWAN Impact Network has deep expertise in life sciences and clean energy, plus a history of strongly supporting founding teams that have been historically underrepresented in term of investments. This skill and focus provides great synergy with Houston’s strong life science and energy sectors, and with Houston’s status of a leading multi-cultural metropolis.

Additionally, SWAN’s senior leadership has close connections with Rice University.

To learn more SWAN’s Houston chapter, please contact Bob Bridge, Founder and Executive Director of the SWAN Impact Network, bob.bridge@swanmpact.org.

and

We are actively looking for an Executive Director for our Houston Chapter! Please share candidate names with Bob. The ideal candidate has strong connections with the Houston start-up and early-stage investing community, enjoys meeting people and does not require a full-time salary. Compensation is tied to the number of Houston members. APPLY

Binary Bridge technology is aiding Ukrainian refugees

Binary Bridge is honored to be a small part in helping the Ukrainian refugees. The company’s  new customer, Operation Blessing’s Disaster Relief medical team, is using the BackpackEMR medical record system in Poland. The simplicity of deploying and using BackbackEMR made it possible for Operation Blessing to start using the system in mere days after  requesting it.

Diesel-powered trucks can run on renewables

SWAN portfolio company Clear Flame Engine  Technology is in the news.

Diesel-powered trucks can run on renewables, thanks to this new Gates-backed tech. The fuel isn’t emissions free, but startup ClearFlame Engine’s retrofits could drastically cut the footprint of trucking right away.

The diesel big rig is starting to move into the carbon-free future: Electric semi trucks are already beginning to make deliveries around the country. But although they can work well for short trips—and Volvo’s newest electric semi will be able to travel up to 275 miles before charging—they still aren’t yet a viable alternative for the trucks that have to cross the country, which is how so much freight is moved. That’s why one startup is working on technology that can be put in use now: It tweaks diesel engines so they can use 100% renewable fuel, with no change in how the trucks run.

“Rather than trying to design an entirely new engine from the ground up, we said, okay, what is the minimum subset of parts and components we could swap inside this engine to make it fundamentally fuel agnostic, and to switch to something cleaner?” says BJ Johnson, CEO of the startup, called ClearFlame Engine Technologies, which recently raised $17 million from investors including Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

In a new pilot test, the company converted the engine in a Class 8 truck—the largest class of trucks, weighing a minimum of 33,000 pounds—and tried driving it on 100% plant-based ethanol on a test track. There was “no loss of efficiency, no loss of power,” says cofounder Julie Blumreiter, who began developing the technology with Johnson when both were studying at Stanford University. “It sounds the same. It is a diesel engine in every sense of the word besides the fuel you use.” The key difference is the lack of pollution: Instead of black diesel smoke belching out of the tailpipe, the exhaust looks clear, and air pollution and climate emissions dramatically shrink.

Ethanol, which is typically made from corn, still has a carbon footprint, including the climate impact of fertilizer used to grow the crop. But current lifecycle data suggests that pure ethanol emits around 45-50% less greenhouse gases than diesel. And because the electric grid is still shifting to renewable electricity, the startup claims that a truck running on 100% ethanol is actually cleaner, at the moment, than an electric truck.

SWAN has invested in Psyonics

The SWAN Impact Network is pleased to announce an investment in Psyonics.

Psyonics is redefining what it means to be human through advances in biointegrated technologies, and has developed the world’s first touch sensing bionic prosthetic hand. With sensors in the fingertips, you can feel what you’re doing with the Ability Hand and use it with even the most delicate objects. It’s the first bionic hand with multi-touch feedback on the market.

SWAN experienced exciting growth in 2021

The bottom line:

  • In 2021 ,the number of angels in the SWAN Impact Network grew by 60%, making SWAN the fastest growing impact angel network in the country

  • In 2021, SWAN’s  Dallas chapter was created and became a vibrant community of impact investors
  • In 2021, the SWAN Impact Network invested over $4,000,000, in companies entering its portfolio and in follow-on funding to existing portfolio companies. The result is that the dollars invested in our current portfolio nearly doubled!

Portfolio company Acadeum is delivering impressive impact

Acadeum helps colleges and universities create course-sharing partnerships with like minded-institutions to boost student success, broaden access to educational opportunities, promote curricular innovation and operational efficiencies, and support institution success.

Their impact is driven by their impressive revenue and net income results.

Follow-on investments in Yotta Energy and ClearFlame Engine Technologies

The SWAN Impact Network is pleased to announce follow-on investments in clean-energy companies Yotta Energy and Clear Flame Engine Technologies.

As a world-wide energy shortage is poised to hit the U.S. this winter, Yotta Energy has raised $13 million to scale its unique, modular energy storage and microgrid technology, specifically designed to transform buildings into self-generating power plants. Led by WIND Ventures, the Series A round also includes follow-on investors Doral Energy-Tech Ventures, Riverstone Ventures, and returning investors, EDP Ventures, and SWAN Impact Network. Overall, the funding will allow Yotta Energy to expand product deployments in the U.S. and Latin America, increase company employment, open up energy generation revenue for commercial flat-roof buildings, and help North and South America meet decarbonization goals. The round brings the company’s total funding to $20 million.

SWAN previously invested in Yotta Solar in 2019.

ClearFlame Engine Technologies, a startup dedicated to the development of net-zero engine technology, announced today that it has secured $17 million in Series A financing, which will enable commercialization of the company’s innovative engine technology for the long-haul trucking, agriculture and power generation sectors. The financing was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures with participation from Mercuria, John Deere, Clean Energy Venture and the SWAN Impact Network.

What sets SWAN apart

The SWAN Impact Network has earned a reputation for performing high-quality due diligence before we invest. And writing comprehensive deal memos is made easier for each contributor when a team comes together to work collaboratively. The team approach supports one of our key values, educating our members. Working on deal memos is immensely educational, especially for angels new to investing.

Here are some statistics:

  1. Over half of our current SWAN members have helped write a detailed deal memo
  2. One-in-five of our current SWAN members have been a deal lead and managed the writing of a deal memo
  3. For our two most recent investments, each effort had five first-time diligence contributors and a first-time deal lead, who were ably educated and supported by our more experienced investors.

 

OneSeventeen Media recognized as a Best-for-the-World company

SWAN portfolio company OneSeventeen Media is a certified B-Corp and has been recognized by B-labs as a Best-for-the-World-2021 company.

OneSeventeen Media is focused on marginalized youth, specifically those who aren’t ‘heard’ in our school system. reThinkIt! is a digital mental health platform using chatbot assistants, live chat counselors and an evidence-based ‘early detection’ assessment to help kids 10 to 15 years old better process difficult emotions, understand their own behaviors, and navigate those of others.

Quoting B-Labs: “Within this business community [of 4,000 certified B-Corp companies] operating at the vanguard of the impact economy, those companies that rank in the top 5% of all B Corps on the B Impact Assessment in its size group worldwide for their sustainable business practices are recognized as 2021 Best for the World. .”

OneSeventeen Media was recognized in the categories of Best for Customers and Best for Governance.

 

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