Two years in, Halcyon Incubator’s charitable start-ups are finding private investors

October 9, 2016
The Washington Post

Japanese pharmaceutical tycoons Sachiko Kuno and Ryuji Ueno created Halcyon Incubator two years ago in a mansion they had purchased in the District’s toney Georgetown neighborhood. Through their S&R Foundation, they recruited start-ups with ideas that they thought showed the right mix of social mission and market potential and began offering five-month, live-in entrepreneurial immersion courses for those they invited.

The jury is still out on whether Halcyon’s projects will survive commercially. But two years in, the incubator’s start-ups have a surprisingly strong record in raising private capital, seen as a first step toward viability for many new companies.

Halcyon program director Ryan Ross says that 45 percent of Halcyon’s 32 alumni companies have raised an initial round of seed funding from investors or donors, totaling $10 million among them. About half report that they are generating revenue.

“We want to create this environment of an army of incredible social entrepreneurs that’s showing you can both drive return and [social] impact. They’re not at odds,” Ross said.

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