Patagonia's $20M seeks startups with the Works
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is fishing for like-minded start-ups worthy of receiving part of the company's new $20 million investment fund.
Patagonia's new holding company, which plans to invest in "like-minded" startups looking to spur social change, could make some of its new investment fund available to Portland businesses.
Those startups, of course, would contend with their nationwide peers for investments through Patagonia's $20 Million & Change program. That noted, the company believes Oregon's entrepreneurs can become prime candidates for its investments.
"You are a progressive city, so I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some great start-ups come out of your area," said Jess Clayton, a spokeswoman for the Ventura, Calif.-based Patagonia. "They can apply for funding just like any other group."
The $20 Million & Change program is part of Patagonia Works, Patagonia's new holding company that oversees Patagonia Inc. and other corporate divisions. The program will pour money into startups addressing issues related to clothing, food, water, energy and waste.
Patagonia Works will also serve as an umbrella for new businesses the company develops or invests in down the road. Founder Yvon Chouinard announced the efforts last week. The Works program hopes to "incubate new companies or investments that will, through an infusion of common values… use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis," according to Patagonia's announcement.
Companies receiving investments must include direct sales as part of their business plan and be organized as a benefit corporation, be a member of the 1% for the Planet drive and use the Higg Index or another footprint-based measurement to gauge their social and environmental performances.
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