Originally incorporated in Chicago in 1992, Investors’ Circle was founded by a group of successful social entrepreneurs who shared a desire to increase the flow of capital to the next generation of mission-driven companies. Founder Susan Davis assembled IC’s founding members – visionaries including Wayne Silby, John May, Josh Mailman, Phil Villers and Artemis Jakowsky – by organizing a small group of investors into a circle to evaluate investment opportunities and build the impact investing marketplace.
By the late 1990s, this pioneering organization was a key impact investing convener, producing semi-annual conferences to showcase impact investing opportunities as well as share thought leadership and best practices . IC worked with other leading organizations, including the Ford Foundation, F.B. Heron Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation to build the Mission- and Program-Related Investing knowledge base.
As IC brought together thought leaders, new initiatives were conceived and incubated, including sector leaders B Lab, Slow Money, and the Patient Capital Collaborative. IC introduced hundreds of MBAs to impact investing through its MBA Venture Fellows program, and in 2009 members in Philadelphia launched IC’s flagship local network. Since its inception in the Midwest, IC first moved east to Boston and then west to San Francisco. In 2011, upon the governance merger with SJF Institute, its headquarters moved to Durham, NC.
IC continues to evolve to meet the needs of the growing impact investing marketplace and remains the world’s largest and most active early-stage impact investing network, recognized by the Halo Report as one of the most active among all traditional angel networks. In recent years, IC has focused on its critical capital facilitation expertise, increasing the frequency of national venture fairs with Beyond the Pitch™ and Impact Spotlight™ events across the country, and growing local networks that meet in established and emerging entrepreneurial hotbeds. IC, its team, and members serve as key impact investing industry resources for research, reports, programs and events.