For Dave Fanger, building an in-house startup was labor of love.

“It was a nights and weekends passion of mine,” said Fanger, CEO of Swell, the impact investing platform owned by Newport Beach, California-based insurer Pacific Life. “We were looking for asset managers to acquire, but I didn’t see anything out there that was addressing the values I was looking for.”

For Fanger, finding partners who were committed to sustainability was important. So six years ago, he teamed up with a colleague and decided to launch Swell — but instead of creating a startup from scratch, he decided to do so from within Pacific Life. As venture capital funding becomes harder to come by, corporate-incubated startups may become more common. For Swell, maintaining the “separateness” of the startup entity is a critical driver of success.

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