SIILK Initiative Call Recap: A Conversation with the Mayaan Fund

Recently, IEN’s SIILK Initiative had the pleasure of hosting a presentation from the budding Mayaan Fund, a student-managed investment fund out of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (HUJI). Elana Steinbach and Shir Kahanov, the student-and-faculty leads of the Fund, explained the fund’s inception, its role in the HUJI community and venture capital ecosystem, and the fund structure. 

A Look At the Mayaan Fund

The Mayaan Fund is a student-led, $1 million fund that makes early stage investments in the impact-tech space. Its investment size will vary between $50k and $100k, with an investment life of three to four years.

The HUJI has contributed to a number of international and Jerusalem-based startups, and counts over 4,000 active founders among its alumni. The Mayaan Fund intends to invest in a number of these impact-oriented start-ups using the SDGs as a framework for its portfolio KPIs.

As an impact-focused fund, Mayaan will be guided by frameworks set out by the Impact Management Project (IMP).The Fund will look to prioritize competitive returns, ESG risk management, ESG opportunities, and maximum-impact solutions in its investment decisions. Its sector-agnostic investments in mission-driven startups will allow students to balance all of these factors when choosing investments. 

While students choose the vehicles in which to invest, an investment committee including HUJI staff guide the process, with input from an advisory committee, which includes Shir and two of HUJI faculty members. The advisory committee also serves as a consistent point of contact for investors in the fund as industry experts in venture capital. The investment committee consists of industry experts across sectors, both external and internal to the HUJI community -- providing stability across investment horizons that frequently outlast student tenure. 

Students also have the opportunity to consult with mentors throughout their tenure as analysts. In fact, mentorship is the final part of a student’s journey through the fund, as Mayaan Fund alumni are invited to shape the future of the fund as mentors. 

Student recruitment and engagement begins for students in their second semester as an undergraduate, where interested applicants qualify to manage the Fund after passing an analyst course. Students are encouraged to be involved in Fund management throughout their tenure at HUJI (across undergraduate and graduate programs), moving from analyst to team leader and eventually mentor as their experience grows. 

Moving Forward

The Mayaan Fund is seeking feedback and perspectives from the student-managed investment fund community! If you have previously been involved in a student-managed fund or are currently involved in a student fund (especially if focused on impact VC), the Mayaan team welcomes your insights! You can reach out to Shir or Elana directly through LinkedIn. 

We hope their example encourages you to pursue greater sustainability integration at your institution or student managed investment fund. For more information on establishing a sustainable investing focused student-managed investment fund at your school, or building out sustainable investing curriculum, see our SIILK resources or reach out to Bella Alvarez at [email protected].

View the Mayaan Fund's Presentation

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