Sorenson Impact Group Announces Launch of Enable Ventures, an Impact Investing Strategy at the Intersection of Innovation and Disability
PARK CITY, Utah, June 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sorenson Impact Group, the multidisciplinary impact organization focused on accelerating and growing intentional, scalable and equitable impact investing, today announced that Sorenson Impact Asset Management, its new for-profit asset management subsidiary, has launched Enable Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests at the intersection of disability and innovation with the goal of delivering deep impact.
“Over the years I have sought to scale impact investing by showing in various ways the profits to be made from doing well by doing good,” said Jim Sorenson, President and Founder of Sorenson Impact Group. “But the myriad of challenges we face as a global society require the impact marketplace to do more, faster. Sorenson Impact Asset Management aims to do just that. We offer unique investment opportunities that are designed to deliver market-rate, risk-adjusted returns alongside deep impact outcomes by investing in impact sectors that have been overlooked or underserved.”
Enable Ventures was co-founded by Regina “Gina” Kline. Former Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, Kline is an entrepreneur and attorney who spent nearly 15 years as a civil rights lawyer leading efforts to dramatically improve working conditions and the employment of people with disabilities. As a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Kline successfully fought for workers with disabilities in segregated workplaces, where they were often paid pennies per hour, helping secure court orders to support and move over 11,000 workers to competitive integrated employment and setting a new standard in law.
“I launched Enable Ventures because I wanted to solve the problems that I witnessed as a civil rights lawyer on the front lines of work and economic participation in America, where workers with disabilities were fighting every day just to be heard and to be counted,” said Kline. “Throughout my journey, I saw so much rich innovation and problem solving potential in people with disabilities. In so many ways, people with disabilities are the original entrepreneurs - and yet this talented marketplace has been completely ignored by the mainstream venture community. This is despite the fact that from Thomas Edison to Vint Cerf, the disabled community has an astonishing track record of successful innovators. What’s more, elevating the design of products and services to meet the needs of people with disabilities has remarkable follow-on effects in many areas of deep tech and innovation, from biotech to computer engineering, to artificial intelligence advancing innovation for all.”
“Enable Ventures is a perfect fit for the Sorenson Impact Group and an ideal first investment strategy for our asset management business,” added Sorenson. “The disability market is massively underserved and undercapitalized. I know from my own experience as an entrepreneur how rewarding, both monetarily and emotionally, it can be to build a business that supports this community. By bringing together our institutional grade investment acumen with the Enable team’s remarkable sector expertise and impressive deal pipeline, we have an opportunity to penetrate deeper into the disability marketplace by identifying investible transformational products and services.”
Today, there are over 1 billion people with disabilities globally, with $8 trillion in disposable income. In the U.S., 26 percent of adults have some kind of disability. Yet the disabled population is experiencing crisis levels of unemployment. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s working-age population are unemployed. People with disabilities make up 50 percent of those living with long-term poverty in the U.S. and receive less than one percent of all microfinance loans worldwide. All of which leads to a $1.9 trillion loss to global GDP as a result of the economic exclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. This comes at a time and moment when technological advances and changing workplace cultures make people with disabilities valued workforce participants.
Enable Ventures invests in four categories, all of which have strong potential for purpose and growth: up-skilling, re-skilling, and future proofing work; work-related technologies; next-gen assistive technologies; and founders with disabilities.
Enable Ventures is the first investment strategy to be seeded by Sorenson Impact Asset Management, the newly formed asset management business of Sorenson Impact Group. Sorenson Impact Asset Management focuses on supporting investment strategies in impact sectors that have been overlooked or underserved and that have the potential to deliver deep impact outcomes. The business looks to advance Sorenson Impact Group’s mission to scale the deployment of capital into impact investing by launching thesis-driven strategies with innovative businesses, especially those from diverse founders. Existing funds on the Sorenson Impact Asset Management platform today include the Catalyst Opportunity Funds and University Venture Funds.
Sorenson Impact Asset Management leverages the private equity expertise of Jim’s son, Luke, who has been investing in private equity for over 20 years and who has joined the Sorenson Impact Group as CEO. Luke Sorenson joins Sorenson Impact Asset Management from Sorenson Capital, a $2 billion venture capital firm where he was managing partner and chairman. Luke and his team, including chief operating officer Mark Ludwig, formerly a partner with Sorenson Capital, co-founder Jeremy Keele and chief investment officer Lauren Sercu, formerly a managing director with Serpio Capital, will provide venture investing expertise as well as back office and operational support to Enable Ventures.
“The impact investment community has tended to overlook the disability market,” says Luke Sorenson, CEO of Sorenson Impact Asset Management. “But we are at an ideal moment now where the market demand is there, the technology innovation is there, and investor will and interest is there. That is why we are so excited to have Enable Ventures on our impact investment platform.”
A serial entrepreneur, Jim Sorenson founded Sorenson Communications in 2000. For over 20-years the Salt Lake City, Utah, firm has been delivering accessible communications technologies and services to the deaf and hard of hearing communities and is one of America’s largest private employers of deaf people.
“I know the value of servicing disabled communities,” says Jim Sorenson, who sold his stake in Sorenson Communications in 2005. “So, when Gina came to us with her idea, I could immediately see what an amazing opportunity Enable was delivering on. The fact that Luke and his team were also able to come on board for the launch of Sorenson Impact Asset Management was all the more synergistic. It positions Sorenson Impact Group as a real powerhouse in the impact investment space, furthering my goal of growing and scaling impact investment and entrepreneurship. We are excited for what lies ahead.”
The Sorenson Impact Center recently hosted the Sorenson Impact Summit, a three-day convening of impact entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders in Park City, Utah, from June 13 through June 15.
About Enable Ventures
Enable Ventures is an impact venture fund dedicated to closing the disability wealth gap by investing in and scaling early-stage companies that leverage disability as an asset to unleash untapped economic potential through products and services powered by universal design. Enable Ventures is led by Regina “Gina” Kline, an entrepreneur and civil rights lawyer and supported by SmartJob, a platform to attract disability deal flow. Enable is part of the Sorenson Impact Group platform of funds founded by impact pioneer Jim Sorenson. For more information, please visit www.enableventures.vc.
About Sorenson Impact Asset Management
Sorenson Impact Asset Management is an asset management subsidiary of Sorenson Impact Group. We offer investors unique investment opportunities that are designed to deliver market-rate, risk-adjusted returns alongside deep impact outcomes by investing in impact sectors that have been overlooked or underserved. We seek to scale capital deployment by launching thesis-driven investment strategies with like-minded partners, especially those from diverse founders, with innovative solutions that can create impact at scale. Currently, strategies supported by Sorenson Impact Asset Management include Enable Ventures, Catalyst Opportunity Funds, and University Venture Funds.
About Sorenson Impact Group
The Sorenson Impact Group, founded by Jim Sorenson, is a multidisciplinary organization focused on catalyzing intentional, scalable and equitable investing to help solve complex, global social and environmental challenges. We strive to foster an investment ecosystem that aligns mission and values with market-rate, risk-adjusted returns. Sorenson Impact Group stands unique as a multidisciplinary impact organization that can offer a full spectrum of solutions that the impact marketplace needs to grow and flourish. Our organization includes the Sorenson Impact Center, which is housed at the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business; the Sorenson Impact Foundation, which is one hundred percent mission aligned; and Sorenson Impact Asset Management, which focuses on delivering market-rate risk-adjusted returns and intentional impact from investments in impact sectors that have been overlooked or underfunded.
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