Mark deVry ’16 joined several fellow Yale SOM EMBA alumni to create Equilateral Ventures, an impact fund that invests in companies looking to solve the most difficult problems that threaten the health of the planet and its people.
Since its inception, the Yale School of Management has committed to a bold mission to train leaders who understand the integrated value of business and society. In 2014, SOM built on its principled roots with the application of a proven but oft-ignored investment and leadership philosophy—look for value where others are not looking. The school expanded the MBA for Executives program beyond healthcare and opened its doors to a disparate, talented group of professionals to tackle the toughest problems in sustainability and asset management. SOM’s investment in educating diverse professionals in the critical fields of healthcare, sustainability, and asset management promised a pipeline of innovative solutions to the most challenging problems at the very nexus of business and society.
In Equilateral Ventures, SOM’s investment is already generating a positive return. Equilateral Ventures is an impact fund that invests in companies looking to solve the most difficult problems that threaten the health of the planet and its people. The fund was started by Raj Gorla ’15 (focus: healthcare) and Venkat Thumula ’15 (focus: healthcare), two founders of healthcare information technology companies who where inspired by the SOM program to use their expertise to pursue purposeful profit. I recently joined the fund and, as a Navy veteran and lawyer who earned my MBA with a focus in sustainability in May, I am committed to developing an initiative to accelerate veteran-owned companies with solutions that promote healthy people and a healthy planet.
Equilateral Ventures’ portfolio includes companies that use information technology and analytics to provide better solutions for diet, maternity, mental health, and sleep problems. We are also invested in a company that offers an innovative above-the-knee prosthetic at affordable price points, a company formed in Yale Laboratories that promises to deliver affordable and effective water testing for food and healthcare markets, and a veteran-owned business looking to help upgrade the military’s medical record system.
We’ve also added two additional Yale SOM alumni with extensive experience in finance and intellectual property to advise their investments. So far, the fund has chosen wisely. One company, Constant Therapy, recently closed its series A funding round with a second company poised to follow, another company is successfully navigating to critical pilot programs, and yet another is negotiating a contract with a major NGO overseas.
The fund is determined to expand its unique access to quality teams dedicated to purposeful and profitable solutions and to help their partner companies grow in healthcare, international, and public procurement markets. Ultimately, the fund owes its foundation and purpose to the bold vision of Yale School of Management, which invested in the program that brought them together. The fund and its developing ecosystem all agree—the Yale SOM EMBA was indeed the perfect equilateral venture.