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The Penn Medicine – Wharton Fund for Health invests in early-stage, for-profit companies that have the potential to strengthen the social determinants of health for economically disadvantaged Philadelphia residents.

No one’s zip code should be a threat to their health. The Fund for Health – a collaboration of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Penn Medicine – is a transformative new project for investing in the health and well-being of Philadelphia. This work builds on the University of Pennsylvania’s longstanding commitment to serving our communities and leading innovative programs to improve and sustain health equity.

According to the CDC, social determinants of health (SDOH) are “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.”

Factors that affect social determinants of health include:
  • Economic Stability
  • Education
  • Health and Healthcare
  • Neighborhood and Built Environment
  • Social Context and Community

Three start-ups will receive the Fund for Health’s inaugural investments.

The Fund for Health:

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Invests in early-stage for-profit companies with the potential to strengthen the SDOH in Philadelphia.
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Seeks to invest up to $5M over a three-year period, investing $100K-$250K in each portfolio company (via Penn Medicine.)
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Provides impact investing training for Penn & Wharton students.
How the Fund for Health works:
  • As part of the Fund for Health investment team, Penn and Wharton students (led by WSII staff) identify and conduct due diligence on early stage, for-profit companies that can strengthen the social determinants of health.
  • From there, an investment committee of Penn Medicine staff, Wharton staff, and other experts and community members select a small set of companies for investment from Penn Medicine each year.
  • Students, sign up with your Penn email to be in the loop about upcoming opportunities to join the Fund for Health.
THE FUND FOR HEALTH SEEKS EARLY-STAGE COMPANIES THAT:
  • Have products, services, or operations (e.g., employment practices) that are still in development.
  • Have modest or no revenues.
  • Are seeking to raise $500K-$3M in their current investment round.
  • Have a positive impact on SDOH in Philadelphia or the surrounding regions. Companies do not need to be based in Philadelphia.

“Through the Fund for Health, we are excited to collaborate and invest in startups impacting Philadelphia and its surrounding communities. These startups are working to overcome deep health inequities and will improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable among us.”

Brandon Grant, Strategic Support Manager, Office of the CEO, University of Pennsylvania Health System & Rajith Sebastian, Investment Committee Chair, Fund for Health and Director, Wharton Social Impact Initiative

FAQ

What are the social determinants of health?

The social determinants of health (SDOH) are social, political, economic, and environmental factors outside of our healthcare system that affect individuals’ health outcomes, access, and utilization of services. According to the CDC, “Social determinants of health (SDOH) are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.” These drivers of health explain why socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals and communities often suffer poorer health outcomes than more advantaged individuals and communities. The economic and racial disparities observed in COVID cases and deaths reflect the influence of the SDOH.

Does my company need to be based in Philadelphia to be eligible for the Fund for Health?

The Fund for Health aims to have positive impact outcomes for Philadelphia residents. Companies do not have to be based in Philadelphia, but must demonstrate the possibility of – and commitment to – positive impact in Philadelphia.

Do you anticipate making follow-on investments?

Yes.

Are you open to partnering with other investors on deals?

Absolutely. We hope to work with other investors in addressing our mission to strengthen the social determinants of health in Philadelphia.

I am a student at the University of Pennsylvania. How can I get involved?

We are eager to work with current students across the entire University, regardless of your school or year of education. Sign up for Wharton Social Impact’s student opportunities email list to be in the loop about upcoming opportunities to join the Fund for Health.

Does the Fund for Health make debt or equity investments?

Through the Fund for Health, Penn Medicine will make equity investments only.

Does the Fund for Health invest in companies founded by Penn students or faculty?

To avoid potential conflicts of interest, the Fund for Health will not invest in any companies owned by current students or faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

What other support do you provide companies?

We aim to develop a post-investment support program, and we see this support being a core part of our investment strategy. Stay tuned!

I am an entrepreneur. How can my company be considered for the Fund for Health?

Email us your pitch deck and we will be in touch if we wish to learn/discuss more.

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The Fund for Health invests in the health of our community.