Impact Investment Profile

Investor

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Investee

Inigral, Inc.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a philanthropic foundation that makes grants and program-related investments in health, development, and education. Inigral creates virtual campus communities for post-secondary institutions on its "Schools on Facebook" application. The foundation's equity investment in the early-stage company will provide operating capital for growth and product development, allowing Inigral to help college students build affinity with their peers and increase their likelihood of degree completion.

Investor Targeted Impact

Enhance post-secondary student retention and degree completion

Investor

Name The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Investor description The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's (Gates Foundation) belief that every life has equal value is at the core of its work. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people--especially those with the fewest resources--have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

Investee

Name Inigral, Inc.
Sector Education
Geography North America - United States
Investee business model Inigral is an early-stage social media company. It offers software applications on Facebook Platform, which allows creation of social applications on Facebook and the internet. Inigral enables post-secondary institutions, including colleges and universities, to recruit and retain students by accelerating and improving connectedness and increasing access to support. By creating branded, closed, and safe virtual social networks, Inigral facilitates connections between students and their peers, professors, and administrators. These connections are intended to promote student-student and student-institution affinity, in order to lead to high rates of student retention and degree completion.
Motivations for investment The Gates Foundation was attracted to the investment because of Inigral's potential to create virtual campus communities for students, especially those in non-residential or part-time programs. Inigral helps students make friends and build connections with their respective institutions by combining Facebook's user interface with an institution's student network. It creates a community accessible only to individuals within the institution, and one that is separate from their Facebook identities. Through this platform, Inigral is uniquely able to address challenges ranging from student recruitment to retention and support at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

Investment

Instrument Series B Preferred Equity
Investment size USD 2 million
Source of deal The foundation identified Inigral while assessing the landscape of student support service providers for post-secondary institutions. After initial discussions with Inigral, the foundation decided to participate in the company's Series B financing by providing Inigral with an equity program-related investment.
Stage of company at time of investment Early stage
Purpose of investment The investment is part of a round of equity financing to provide operating capital to Inigral. Inigral will use the proceeds from the financing to further develop and improve its products, work with existing and new customers to prove the value of student interconnectedness and retention, and grow its customer base across two- and four-year post-secondary institutions.
Investment impact objectives The Gates Foundation's investment in Inigral is part of its ongoing work to improve students' educational outcomes. Specifically, it seeks to further understand if social media networks can enhance student engagement, the effects of student engagement on retention and degree completion, and the role of virtual products in promoting social activity and access to peer support among students. In addition, the foundation hopes to learn, from Inigral's growth and sales efforts, about the challenges that early-stage companies may face in achieving scale and navigating higher education procurement practices.
Social and environmental metrics tracked on investment Given Inigral's early stage of development and the foundation's learning-oriented goals, the foundation is focusing on product and organizational development milestones and is not yet tracking numeric impact metrics on this investment.

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