Catalytic Capital | May 6, 2021

MIT’s Solve Innovation Future fund makes four early-stage investments

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, May 6 – Solve Innovation Future, the investment arm of MIT Solve, has committed $1 million to eight companies that were finalists in the Solve open-innovation challenges. New investments include Israel-based agrifood venture eggXYt, U.K.-based personalized learning platform CENTURY Tech, Chile-based circular economy startup Algramo and Mexico-based Someone Somewhere, which helps artisans access bigger markets for their creations.

eggXYt uses CRISPR to avoid male chick culling in the poultry supply chain by detecting the sex before eggs are incubated. Solve made a SAFE investment (for “simple agreement for future equity”) in the company, enabling eggXYt to delay valuation until it raises a larger funding round.

Solve also made a SAFE investment in Someone Somewhere, which sources handmade products from artisans and rolls them into bulk orders, boosting artisans supply of work and income.

CENTURY Tech uses AI to understand and tailor online lessons to students. Solve participated in its $2 million Series A round.

Algramo uses reusable packaging to stock vending machines with small quantities of everyday essentials, with the aim of making products more affordable to low-income consumers and reducing plastic waste. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

COVID capital

Solve Innovation Future has invested $1 million in eight ventures. It cut its first four checks last year as a way of providing pandemic relief to early-stage impact startups. Solve’s Casey van der Stricht said that the donor-advised fund structure afforded flexibility in making traditional and alternative investments amid a period of “investor reticence to deploy traditional capital to early-stage social entrepreneurs.” (See, MIT Solve rallies to provide bridge loans and revenue-based financing”).