Masawa is the only impact fund exclusively focused on mental wellness. Masawa invests in founders who are fundamentally shifting how mental wellness is cultivated, by providing ambitious and innovative solutions that are proven to work. We support founders who are using data-driven approaches to creatively nourish mental wellness through products and services in verified areas including mindfulness, nutrition, natural medicine, technology and workplace wellness.
Through focusing on impact, organizational health, and founder resilience we can achieve our mission of driving meaningful improvement in mental wellness. Masawa is changing the paradigm by tackling the issues directly with a portfolio of investees at the ecosystem level – few other funds are doing this. Providing support to founders and organizations not just to fund their work but also to help them work together better is crucial to achieving our impact and financial goals. In addition to traditional value-add support like growth marketing and product design, Masawa nurtures capital through a collaborative approach to impact maximization and working to build organizational systems that allow founders, organizations, and their customers to thrive.
Our work in the mental wellness ecosystem, producing research, and facilitating conversations about igniting large-scale societal change through a systems change approach, is our way of bringing the world’s attention to mental wellness and representing a contribution to making billions of lives better.
Transforming mental wellness on a societal level starts with ensuring that the founders and teams we support are mentally well and resilient. We see founder wellbeing as a small drop that has the potential to produce a large ripple of positive change, reaching far beyond the organizational boundaries and direct business environment.
There is a vast opportunity to make meaningful social change without compromising on substantial financial returns. The internal rate of return (IRR, a key profitability metric) of impact funds is 2.1X greater than that of comparable non-impact funds. At Masawa, we invest in companies that share our laser focus on measurable impact and create products or services that meet real needs. We work with these investees to craft a theory of change, co-create impact metrics, and provide hands-on expertise to support measurement, evaluation, and research. This approach leads to outsized gains, both financial and social.
At the ecosystem level, Masawa is mainstreaming impact-driven finance so that soon social return on investment will be an industry standard. We also support and conduct policy-relevant research to identify gaps and opportunities for social impact, and to quantify the potential for our areas of focus to drive catalytic change in global mental wellness.
The path to impact is non-linear. It’s based on assumptions, and requires flexibility as more information becomes available. Masawa acts as a thought partner to each founder and their organization, working to ensure that impact thinking guides business decisions alongside financial goals.
We work closely with founders to:
Ultimately, metrics for each investment are rolled up to the portfolio-level at Masawa. They are tracked, reviewed, shared, and hold Masawa accountable to its mission and its impact more broadly.
Impact isn’t achieved in isolation. The pressure of launching a financially profitable company, especially one with an outsized vision for change, is real. Studies show that 50% of entrepreneurs have mental health issues, and a full 94% of founders report symptoms of burnout, anxiety, and panic attacks. When founders aren’t well, neither they nor their organizations can operate at their best. Despite the benefits, few founders have access to tools and support to help them thrive. Per the State of Startups, only 25% of CEOs work with coaches, and the majority of entrepreneurs don’t access regular counseling or therapy. As part of our holistic approach to nurturing capital, Masawa provides tailored, ongoing support for founders’ mental wellness and resilience.
Masawa also focuses on investees’ organizational health more broadly – that is, their organizational ability to effectively use resources to execute a vision, and to respond to changes and setbacks with resilience and innovation.
We’ve known for years that corporate culture – how people work together – is a strong predictor of financial performance: firms that have strong, performance-enhancing cultures have higher average increases in revenue growth (4x), employment growth (8x), and net income growth (12x) compared to firms that don’t. We also know that what founders do early on matters for the organization’s long-term success – evidence points to strong path dependence of early choices on future outcomes. But again, there is little support available to create the environment and conditions necessary to build healthy, resilient organizations.
Investing in working on organizational health helps companies to achieve both their short- and long-term goals.
To nurture a thriving workforce, Masawa pursues a layered approach with investees to:
We work with each investee on a diagnostic of their current organizational health, set goals in terms of where they’d like to be, and then jointly agree on a development plan that outlines how they will get there and the methods and measures we use to track progress.
Masawa tailors its offerings to complement the efforts of investees:
In the wider ecosystem, Masawa’s research and advocacy around workplace mental wellness and the importance of founder wellbeing help create an enabling environment to move these conversations from the shadows of fluffy-nice-to-have into the light of key-success-factor.
Masawa’s approach is designed to support founders and their organizations to drive outsized impact, enabling them to be as effective as possible in achieving their mission over the short and long term.
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