Dealflow | May 12, 2017

New Rome impact accelerator offers Demo Day at the Vatican

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“I’m called to respond to His Holiness Pope Francis’ challenge,” writes Stephen Forte, founder of venture capital firm Fresco Capital in Menlo Park, Calif.

The Pope has been outspoken in his support for impact investing as a means to supporting the global poor and Forte is backing social startups in Rome with a new accelerator program.

“Typically venture capitalists in Silicon Valley frequently balk around mission-driven companies [while] social impact investors rarely pour money into startups that emphasize the ‘for-profit’ portion of the equation,” he writes.

The Pope’s message has been reinforced via two Vatican-hosted conferences on impact investing. It has spurred a number of Catholic institutions to move money into impact, including Ascension Investment Management, which manages $29 billion on behalf of other Catholic organizations.

Startups accepted into Forte’s accelerator program will receive $100,000 and participate in a December Demo Day at the Vatican.