MORE TO EXPLORE: Social Innovation

Innovating Divestment and Shareholder Engagement investment Strategies for Social Change

Client
Transform Finance
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Team
Michael Cox, Stephanie Owens, Kyung Won (Nate) Park, Arshele Tyus
Transform Finance is an investment network for asset owners that connects investors to community-based organizations (CBOs). Transform Finance serves marginalized communities and advises investors and CBOs on how to maximize the impact of their investment and capital. Given the increasing relevance of its work to institutional investors, Transform Finance engaged a Capstone team in exploring new tools to advance social change through the public capital markets. The organization’s goal is to push beyond traditional divestment and shareholder engagement strategies within the constraints of prudent portfolio management. The team conducted comprehensive research and produced analysis about existing capital allocators and financial innovations, while examining innovative tools and strategies for the organization to consider. The team’s research material and analysis culminated in a set of final recommendations for capital allocators and financial innovations.
Capstone Year

Developing a Wage Negotiation Platform to Narrow the Gender and Race Wage Gap

Client
Tactical Mentor
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Team
Michael Вrocker, Harriet Flavel, Jeffrey Jiménez, Jasiel Martin-Odoom, Jasmin Matos
Women earn 54 to 87 cents for every dollar earned by their Caucasian male counterparts. Most of this wage gap is "explained" by characteristics such as experience, education, and occupation. However, over 20 percent of the wage gap is "unexplained" and represents the wage penalty. A significant contributing factor to this penalty is the tendency for women and people of color to refrain from salary negotiation, and a higher likelihood of penalization when they do negotiate. A Capstone team developed the hypothesis that if these populations negotiate more and better, the wage gap will narrow. The team completed a literature review, interviews, a design sprint, and a component design, followed by user testing and product design. They developed a product called Tactical Mentor, which offers finance professionals tools to evaluate their job offers, improve their negotiation skills, and receive better compensation packages. The team developed a business case that presents Tactical Mentor’s value proposition, competitive landscape, and business model.
Capstone Year

Enhancing Youth Voter Engagement Through a Digital Platform

Client
Motivote
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Team
Emily Graham, Rachel Konowitz, Jessica Riegel, Adam Steinberg
In the US, people between the ages of 18-29 consistently vote at lower rates than any other demographic. In response, a Capstone team created Motivote, a digital platform strategically designed to encourage voting accountability among young Americans. The Motivote team conducted a literature review, a competitor and stakeholder analysis, and administered over 100 interviews with young individuals. The findings informed the creation of Motivote’s platform, which incentivizes voting by making it fun and habit-forming through friendly competition and rewards. Users form teams and make refundable monetary pledges that are returned once the entire team has voted. The Motivote team piloted the platform during the Pennsylvania special congressional election to evaluate the feasibility of implementing it in a district-wide election. The team also piloted the platform in the Wagner Student Association election. Lessons learned from the pilots helped inform Motivote’s operational strategy, plan for scaling, and wireframe design. The team’s work culminated in a comprehensive wireframe and a robust business case, including a launch plan to be executed in the summer of 2018.

 

Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Measuring the Social Impact of Early- and Growth-Stage Firms

Client
Grand Central Tech
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Team
Alexis Herschkowitsch, Loulou Momoh, Zuowen Wei, Ziyan Zhao
Grand Central Tech (GCT) is an initiative funded by the NYC Economic Development Corporation that aims to support and advance companies addressing NYC’s most pressing urban challenges. GCT is considering incorporating social value consideration into its startup screening, valuation, and mentoring process. GCT enlisted a Capstone team to create an introductory tool for assessing early- and growth-stage social impact firms. The team researched existing forms of social impact measurement, conducted informal interviews with companies in the GCT portfolio, and developed and administered a survey of GCT companies to evaluate social impact potential. Based on the results, the team created a Social Impact Dashboard for GCT, accompanied by a comprehensive report about the state of social impact evaluation within the field.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Developing a Smart Cities Strategic Framework and Index

Client
Citi Ventures
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Citi Ventures is the innovation and venture capital team of Citigroup, a multinational investment banking and financial services corporation. Citi Ventures employs a discovery mindset to bring forth new ideas by exploring the startup landscape and engaging in strategic investments and partnerships regardless of the lifecycle stage. Citi Ventures enlisted a Capstone team to provide a blueprint for a longterm smart city strategic framework that assesses future products and services against clear strategic goals. The framework would support the development of a preliminary smart cities index and a product or service that should be revenue generating and implementable in one to five years. The team conducted stakeholder interviews and industry research to inform their framework design. The team delivered a final report to Citi Ventures, which included a smart cities strategic framework, a business plan, five-year pro formas, an operational narrative of a proposed smart cities product, and recommendations that support the development of a smart cities index.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Strategies to Enhance the Financial Viability of Environmental Projects

Client
National Audubon Society
Faculty
John Ceffalio
Team
Audrey Campbell, Lucia Herz, Edwin Jacobi
The National Audubon Society (Audubon) is a nonprofit environmental organization that seeks to conserve and restore natural ecosystems and wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Despite growing demand for investable social and environmental enterprises, a lack of viable environmental projects that can both generate financial returns and environmental gains persists. Audubon engaged a Capstone team to develop strategic recommendations for leveraging its existing programs and generating the gains mentioned above. The team conducted in-depth research, interviews with impact investing practitioners, and an extensive analysis of Audubon’s internal programs. Based on their research, the team delivered a final report that offers a clear description of the impact investing field, preliminary steps the Audubon team should consider, and strategic recommendations on how to use impact investments to finance and scale the organization’s existing programs.
Capstone Year

Marian Lee

Marian Lee
MUP 1995
Assistant City Manager/Chief Sustainability Officer
City of South San Francisco