You’re a busy entrepreneur with an innovative venture that is making a real impact. But like many impact entrepreneurs you likely face questions and challenges in the capital-raising process. Many entrepreneurs find it hard to raise capital. And many entrepreneurs raise capital but discover later they got the wrong kind of capital at the wrong time. The wrong capital for your business is “dumb money” – it can keep you and your impact enterprise from reaching your goals.

The CASE at Duke team is excited to announce that we’re crafting a series of online modules for such impact entrepreneurs wanting to avoid the common pitfalls on the road to raising capital that’s smart for their business growth. We are also allowing impact ventures, impact investors, and intermediaries to register for access to our exclusive beta test of Smart Impact Capital modules.

We’ve conducted interviews with hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, government funders and philanthropists in the last few years through our CASE i3 Impact Investing Initiative.  And we’ve been collecting lessons over the last three years from the 25 entrepreneurs in the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD), who have collectively raised over $30 million in capital while in our program. Building on these real-world experiences, we are developing bite-size lessons and shortcuts to help many more impact entrepreneurs raise capital smartly.

This is not a Normal Academic Online Course.

Smart Impact Capital is a series of entrepreneur-friendly online modules comprised of short video clips, interviews with entrepreneurs and investors, spreadsheets, tools, and shortcuts to arm impact entrepreneurs with the right amount of information and advice to raise smart capital. The questions we asked entrepreneurs were about telling it to us straight: What did you wish you has known? What did you screw up?  What are the hacks that others can use to do this better?  We asked investors the same questions: what do entrepreneurs need to do to thrill you? What kind of information is the most convincing and important? What are the ingredients to a great investor/investee relationship?

Knowing the fast-paced and evolving environment in which impact entrepreneurs operate, we’ve designed the modules to allow users the freedom to move through topics as needed. There is no weekly syllabus. Come find the modules that work for you and do the exercises you need. Skim a powerpoint and watch a 6 minute video  on due diligence before you get on a skype call with that investor tomorrow. Print out your pessimistic scenario that shows exactly how much capital you need to raise if sales are 10% lower than what you expect, and bring it to your valuation meeting.


What Kinds of Challenges Can these Modules Help Me With?

Has a potential investor signaled interest in you? You can learn how to quickly determine if that investor is a good fit.  Are you not sure your investment story is working? You can learn how to clearly articulate your strategy and key milestones to investors. Are you unclear about the impact different types of capital will have on your business?  You can model them through our financial scenario-planner. Not sure what kinds of metrics different investors will want? Check out our impact evidence cheat-sheet.

In total, we’re designing nine modules grouped around three key activities of impact entrepreneurs raising investment capital:

  • Custom-Build Your Investment Model (3 modules)
  • Develop Your Capital-Raising Strategy (3 modules)
  • Manage Relationships with Investors (3 modules)

Those participating in our beta test will receive free access to 2 of the 9 modules.  In return, we’re asking for comments and feedback on these so we can make the other 7 even better!

For Whom are the Modules Designed?

For maximum benefit, participating ventures should be enterprises with a revenue model and some traction with customers and/or revenues and looking to raise (or in the process of raising) investment capital. They can be located anywhere, working in any industry or geographic area. They can be nonprofit, for-profit or a hybrid mix.

How do I register for the Smart Impact Capital beta test?

Between mid-October and mid-December 2015, CASE will be beta testing two of the nine modules.  As part of the beta test, we are offering FREE access to these modules, which contain approximately four hours total of training and active work.

If you are interested in participating in the beta test and providing feedback on the modules, please register by October 10th.


For any questions, contact us here.