Hammond, Ind. (Sept. 15, 2021) – CareSource and Elevate Ventures today announced the first investment from the CareSource Diversity & Social Impact Investment Fund. The investment was made into Storybolt, a startup that offers equity and inclusion training. The funding is included in the company’s seed round which closed with $1 million and included participation from Elevate Ventures’ Indiana Angel Network Fund, Chicago Early Growth Ventures, Pax Angels, SunStone Management, and other angel investors.
“CareSource is proud to support Storybolt in its efforts to help businesses build an inclusive culture,” said Steve Smitherman, president of CareSource Indiana. “Removing this funding barrier will help ensure workplaces across the country will be more equitable and inclusive places for all.”
Storybolt offers a platform that connects companies with documentary films to educate employees around topics like implicit bias, racial injustice, mental health, and diversity. After watching a cut of the documentary, employees have the opportunity to speak with the film’s director. Ultimately, Storybolt’s active learning methodology, or Mpathi, guides employees and business leaders to approach workplace decisions with empathy and help them build more inclusive workplaces.
Founded by Nassim Abdi, Ph.D. and Babak Shahmansouri in 2018, Storybolt originally focused on academia. The company rebranded to focus on boosting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in corporations after participating in the Purdue I-Corps Customer Discovery Program in 2019. Brad’s Deals, Google Cloud, BetMGM, Discover, and United Airlines are among Storybolt customers.
“We’re using the funds to build and market our Mpathi platform as a hub for companies building a culture of inclusion, respect, and acceptance,” said Abdi. “Our focus, on the intersection of entertainment and learning, is the basis for our unique active learning pedagogical model to foster empathy and non-threatening dialog which can be applied on our platform to many soft-skills learning use cases—at corporations and beyond.”
The CareSource Diversity & Social Impact Investment Fund was launched in July to provide capital for diverse founders and/or those who seek to improve healthcare outcomes or related social impact.
“We are excited to fund the first investment from the CareSource Diversity & Social Impact Fund,” said Chris LaMothe, CEO at Elevate Ventures. “Storybolt’s team has shown tremendous progress over the past few years and used other Elevate programs to its advantage. We are eager to watch their growth and to support them where we can.”
Storybolt received an $80,000 seed investment from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition in 2019.