What is Camelback's business model?

Camelback Ventures is a nonprofit social venture fellowship that provides the "friends and family stage of funding" to entrepreneurs. Our donors include various foundations, corporations, and individuals. Their dollars go towards the funding and development of social ventures launched by Camelback Fellows. Camelback Fellows invest back into Camelback (through either grants or convertible notes), and these funds are recycled back into supporting more Fellows. We are currently in the process of expanding our offerings including exploring sustainable and earned revenue models.

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Why is Camelback a non-profit?

We choose to be structured as a nonprofit because we are patient investors; we develop the people and ideas who will create long-term financial and social impact. This process rarely sees an immediate return-on-investment. Therefore, we do not want investors beating down our door for short-term financial returns, or pressuring us to make decisions that may compromise our entrepreneurs’ ability to create social impact.

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What is Camelback's value proposition?

For the entrepreneurs we work with, we increase their chance of success now and in the future. Our partners—from NewSchools Venture Fund to Kapor Capital to Walton Family Foundation—are looking at Camelback entrepreneurs as the next generation of leaders. We provide support to our entrepreneurs, particularly those from communities of color, so that they can break through both internal and external barriers. We give them the best shot at having a seat at the table.

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What type of ventures does Camelback fund?

At this time, our focus is on creating and improving opportunities in communities. We have chosen to focus our resources and support on high-growth areas where we feel we can make the most impact.

To date, the majority of our investments at this time are in education ventures. We deliver this support through our Fellowship (recently renamed to the Education Fellowship). We plan to expand our portfolio to other social impact categories. Education ventures can include innovative tools, products, services and school models that improve educational outcomes for students. While many of our ventures are in the K-12 space, we also seek ventures that impact learning from early childhood to postsecondary. To learn more about what kinds of ventures we accept for the Fellowship, please visit our Apply page.

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At what stage does a venture qualify to be considered for a Camelback Fellowship?

Camelback Ventures typically funds and supports “early stage startups” seeking to make social change through enterprise. This varies by type of venture. For schools, we are usually most helpful to organizations 2 years away from opening. For nonprofits and for-profits, we are most helpful to organizations who have run a pilot program or a small and successful beta. To learn more about what kinds of ventures we accept for the Fellowship, please visit our Apply page.

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How much funding is available to Camelback Fellows?

For the Education Fellowship, Camelback currently provides $40K to our Fellows as a friends and family investment. The primary aim of this investment is to generate a social return by helping participating startups improve their products and generate revenue at scale.

Different levels of support are available through our other programs.

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What equity does Camelback request from the ventures they fund?

For-profits and hybrids

In exchange for funding, we ask for a nominal equity stake, which generally ranges between 0.5 and 5 percent, depending on the stage of growth. The final terms of each offer will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with each venture. This is delivered usually as a convertible note.

Non-profits and Schools

Non-profit ventures typically receive this funding as a grant.

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What kind of support does the Fellowship provide entrepreneurs?

In our core offering of the Camelback Fellowship, Camelback supports entrepreneurs by building both hard and soft skills as well as a series of core competencies. The program offering includes:

  • Foundational skill-building

  • Dedicated coaching

  • Specialized consultants in key areas

  • Leadership development

  • Peer mentorship

  • Networking opportunities

  • Capital

Learn more about our Fellowship program here.

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