As of the end of 2017, iSelect had invested in more than 30 startup companies, created more than 300 new jobs, our portfolio companies raised more than $160 million and the total value of our portfolio companies exceeded $300 million. We were also one of only 21 VCs in the country to have two startups or more named to CB Insights’ Game Changing Startups 2018 list, including Benson Hill Biosystems and Neuros Medical. iSelect also had two startups, Benson Hill and Agrible, named to the Thrive Top 50. In addition, Benson Hill was named to the AI Top 100, while Indalo was named to the Top 20 Startups to Watch in 2018.
It was a very successful year for us, and for all of our investors, but we aren’t done yet.
As we look ahead to the next 12 months (and beyond), we understand the importance of the work we’re doing to support entrepreneurs in underserved, but critical businesses, while providing broad access to the venture asset class for the first time.
For investors: Regulations, uncertain markets, monetary policy, and a thousand other factors are making it ever harder for financial advisors to offer their clients reliable investment strategies to meet their retirement goals. Retirees are watching retirement savings dwindle. Millennials don’t believe the S&P 500 is reliable. Few people trust Social Security to provide meaningful retirement benefits. It has become difficult for financial advisors to provide clients with solutions that offer real long-term returns. iSelect is working to solve this problem.
For entrepreneurs: It is getting more and more difficult for founders to raise early capital, and God help you if you’re starting a business in something unsexy like agriculture or B2B software. But at the same time, all net new job creation in this country is attributable to companies less than five years old. We all need startup companies to be able to grow and thrive, and at iSelect we’re dedicated to filling the void for early-stage startups by connecting them with like-minded investors.
For the world: iSelect has deliberately focused on investments and companies that can make a positive impact on our society, as well as on the bottom line. We simply do not feel particularly impassioned to back the latest app or consumer entertainment product. Our companies are attempting to save lives, save our food supply and positively impact our environment.
Looking back, 2017 was an exciting year but there is so much more to come in 2018. We continue to be amazed by the reach and impact that this community has, by investing in startups, mentoring startups and buying from startups. Together, we have backed the entrepreneurs who will change the world, developing revolutionary new technologies while creating thousands of new jobs. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in 2018.