An MBA student team won first-prize funding for a startup that’s helping to make supply chains more efficient for small Brazilian farmers at last Friday’s Invest for Impact Pitch Competition.
The winning team, pitching on behalf of startup Clicampo-Arado, included Arsal Khanani, EWMBA 24, Byungwoo Han, MBA 23, Gui Klingelfus, MBA 23, Mateus Loesch, MBA 23, and Vivian Hare, EWMBA 23.
Clicampo, now rebranded as Arado, secured a $75,000 investment, awarded by a panel of industry judges, including Michelle Kiang, managing partner and co-founder at Impact Science Ventures; Matt Caspari, managing partner at Alumni Ventures, and Joshua Posamentier, managing partner at Congruent Ventures.
The students who pitched are enrolled in the Haas Impact Fund course and program, part of the Sustainable and Impact Finance Initiative at Haas, which gives MBA students hands-on impact investing experience. The fund’s MBA student partners invest in early-stage impact startups throughout the spring semester, leading sourcing and conducting due diligence.
Klingelfus said he was thrilled by the team’s first-place win. “What set our team’s pitch apart was the fact that we highlighted both Arado’s social impact and its financial success, demonstrating that they are ready to scale.”
Loesch said pitching during the competition helped prepare him if he chooses to pursue a career in venture capital or entrepreneurship, as he learned about how industry pros analyze a startup’s potential.
“I don’t believe that I would have had the same experience in other classes in the MBA program,” he said.
Reducing food waste
Five MBA student teams pitched during the competition addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including food waste, financial access, health, and renewable energy. The teams included Team Health & Wellbeing representing startup Shezlong; Team Sustainable Supply Chain representing startup Diferente; Team International Development representing Farm to Feed, and Team Climate Tech representing Oceans-Sway.
Arado’s prize comes on the heels of two other funding rounds over the past year for the startup: a $7.5 million seed round and $12 million series A funding round. Founded in 2021, Arado connects small to midsize farmers in Latin America directly with restaurants and food retailers.
“Food waste is one of the main problems in the world now, and Arado came up with an innovative solution that increases the system’s efficiency and that contributed to the success of our pitch,” Loesch said.
The day also included a report from the Sustainable Investment Fund course, the first and largest student-led SRI fund within a leading business school. It offers MBA students real-world experience in delivering both strong financial returns and positive social impact in public markets. Since 2008, the student principals have more than tripled the initial investment to over $4 million.
Freada Kapor Klein, the founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, who gave a keynote at the event, noted the importance of investing in impact startups that help close opportunity gaps for communities of color and low-income communities.
In investing, “we look at one’s lived experience,” she said. “What hurdles do they encounter along the way, and how did those hurdles give them an idea for a startup that might solve the problems?”