American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge venture fund hoping to do well by doing good

How BrightEdge is leveraging the American Cancer Society brand to invest alongside top-tier VCs

BrightEdge Ventures, the venture fund of the American Cancer Society, is using the society’s reputation and resources to open doors to late-stage investment opportunities.

While BrightEdge has persuaded companies that it brings value to board rooms, it has struggled to find takers for a model of donating towards investment-based, profit-seeking businesses. BrightEdge is considering a shift from this form of venture philanthropy to an impact investment model in which donors can earn returns if the fund’s investments are successful.

BrightEdge views its missions as accelerating the development timeline and creating long-term financial stability for ACS, Bob Crutchfield, its managing director, told BioCentury.

Unlike the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and other well-known patient group venture investors, BrightEdge isn’t aiming to catalyze R&D or product development that might not happen without the group’s funding.

It is not focusing on high-risk, cash-starved companies that struggle to attract investments from conventional venture funds, or targeting corporate R&D on specific unmet needs.

Rather, BrightEdge is leveraging the Cancer Society’s reputation and resources to join top-tier VCs in highly regarded, well-financed biopharma companies.


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