The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School
WIVA Facilitates Impact Investment into Melanence, an E-Learning Startup Focused on Communities of Color
A team of Penn students in Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA) helped facilitate an impact investment into Melanence – an online professional ecosystem where communities of color are empowered to grow skills, build networks, and earn additional income.
After conducting rigorous research on Melanence, the student team at Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA) is thrilled to help facilitate an impact investment deal with the start-up on the crowdfunding platform Netcapital.
The pandemic is accelerating the shift to online learning. However, instructors of color are under-represented on existing platforms. Additionally, online learning platforms utilize a “one size fits all” solution, which lacks diverse perspectives and teaching styles.
There is consistent evidence that students of color perform higher on standardized tests, have improved attendance, and have lower suspension rates when taught by teachers of their same race. Johns Hopkins University and American University report that Black students who have even one Black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to enroll in college. Low income young Black men are 39% less likely to drop out of high school if they had at least one Black teacher in elementary school.
Melanence addresses these issues through an online learning platform that explicitly recruits instructors of color to create courses that are technically and culturally relevant to their target audience. The platform provides a safe space for communities of color to take the next step in their professional and entrepreneurial journeys by taking courses on a variety of topics with peers and instructors that understand their cultural context.
Exemplifying the collaborative culture of WIVA, this impact investment opportunity was sourced and executed by Wharton undergraduate student Tyler Jonas, W’23 and Wharton MBA student Alexander Weir, WG’22. “We are excited to support the Melanence team as they scale their platform and embark on this next stage of growth. Melanence’s mission of empowering communities of color to change the world is well-aligned with our purpose and we believe their trajectory offers promising opportunities for success,” they said.
Check out Melanence and their seed campaign on the crowdfunding platform Netcapital.
Neither the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School, Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA), nor any of their respective students, faculty, directors, officers, employees, representatives, affiliates, or agents (collectively, the “Penn Parties”) (i) is acting as underwriter, broker-dealer, promoter, financial advisor, or other intermediary with respect to any offering of securities by any entity mentioned in this article, or (ii) has received or will receive any compensation from any person or entity as an incentive to publish of this article. In addition, the Penn Parties have not received and will not receive any compensation or other item of value in connection with any possible or future investment in any securities issued by any entity mentioned herein.
Any research or diligence described above (i) was performed by WIVA solely for its own, limited, educational purposes, and not for the purpose of aiding any person in making any investment decision, and (ii) may be limited and incomplete, by its very nature, as a result of limited publicly available information and other limited information voluntarily made available to WIVA. No Penn Party shall have any liability whatsoever arising from any error or incompleteness of fact or opinion in, or lack of care in the preparation or publication of, this article.
Copyright ©2022 the Wharton School. All rights reserved. The information, methodologies, data and opinions contained or reflected herein are proprietary of the Wharton School and/or its students, are intended for non-commercial use, and may not be copied, distributed or used in any way, including via citation, unless otherwise explicitly agreed in writing. They are provided for informational purposes only and (1) do not constitute investment or financial advice; (2) cannot be interpreted as an offer, indication, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any securities or to undertake any kind of business transactions; (3) do not represent an assessment of any issuer’s economic performance, financial obligations nor of its creditworthiness; and (4) are not a substitute for a professional financial, legal, and tax advice.