Shift Ventures looks to provide new funding for impact-minded businesses - Baltimore


Apr. 12, 2017 12:50 pm

Shift Ventures looks to provide new funding for impact-minded businesses

Jeff Cherry of Conscious Venture Lab and Joe Mechlinski of Shift teamed up to form Shift Ventures. The goal? Using business as a force for good in West Baltimore.

Jeff Cherry speaks at Labs@LightCity.

(Photo via Twitter)

Light City’s Social Lab featured many pairings of Baltimore entrepreneurs and change-makers. For Joe Mechlinski and Jeff Cherry, the partnership is now going beyond the talk.

Mechlinksi, who founded Fells Point-based entreQuest, talked about how business can be a force for good. He also runs an effort, now called Shift, that gathers entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and encourages doing social good.

Cherry runs Conscious Venture Lab, an accelerator seeking to help startups that drive community impact. He talked about how the program started in Howard County in 2013 with the support of then-County Executive Ken Ulman, and helped businesses like Hungry Harvest.

Now the program is moving into West Baltimore. Along with helping purpose-driven businesses grow, Cherry said Conscious Venture Lab is also looking to increase startup activity and resources in West Baltimore. One example was a pitch competition held with Innovation Village last year.

Using business as a force for good in West Baltimore, said Mechlinski, is a “groundbreaking idea.”

When Mechlinski met Cherry, he said he got interested in linking the two efforts.

“What we looked at is, ‘How can we come together? How can Shift really support Conscious Venture Lab in a way that takes this concept to a whole new level?'” Mechlinski said.


Now the two want to provide capital for the businesses that make an impact. Shift Ventures will fund a mix of early-stage companies in Conscious Venture Lab, as well as later rounds in other companies, Cherry said.

Teaming up can also provide a pathway to connect early-stage companies at Conscious Venture Lab with Mechlinski, as well as more experienced entrepreneurs who are members of Shift. Though they met through Shift, Cherry said he and Mechlinski have “pretty divergent networks.”

“It’s always a good thing in terms of the fund for us to be able to connect with others that are outside our network,” he said.

Applications are expected to go out for the next Conscious Venture Lab cohort in May.

People: Jeff Cherry
Already a member? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the community
New call-to-action


Meet the social entrepreneurship orgs bringing Silicon Valley resources to local neighborhoods

Conscious Venture Lab opens applications for 5th cohort

UMB debuting master’s program in health and social innovation this fall



Verizon is looking for the brightest ideas on how to use its 5G technology

Baltimore, MD 21201

14 West

Junior Database Administrator

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD


Account Executive (Baltimore)

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD

14 West

Product Operations Manager

Apply Now

These 10 Baltimore social entrepreneurs just joined Open Society Institute’s community fellowship

Sunday: Free ice cream and community conversations in Station North

Make an impact at Give Back Hack’s Baltimore edition this fall



Escape the August heat with cool AI tech

Philadelphia OR Baltimore

Technically Media Editorial Intern (Fall 2019)

Apply Now


Business Development Manager

Apply Now
Columbia, MD


Python Engineer (Software Systems Development)

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Baltimore

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!