The wheels are starting to crank and the capital is starting to flow through the new impact investing mechanisms created by often-stodgy institutions like the United Nations and International Finance Corp. After a slow start, the UN's Green Climate Fund approved $745 million in new commitments in October, pushing its total commitments above $1 billion. The fund aims to approve more than $2.5 billion this year.
Landscape conservation. Among its approvals, the Green Climate Fund made its first equity investment in a landscape conservation strategy, committing $35 million to the Althelia Madagascar Sustainable Landscapes Fund, managed by Althelia Ecosphere. Althelia Ecosphere expects to deploy $50 million across 15 to 25 investments in conservation, renewable energy and eco-friendly agriculture, with target returns of eight percent. The profits will be reinvested in additional conservation and climate initiatives (see, “Beyond Carbon: Althelia Climate Fund Attracts Conservation Investors“).
The Green Climate Fund's $53.5 million commitment to the Sustainable Landscapes in Eastern Madagascar program also includes $18.5 million for technical assistance, project development and other not-for-profit activities to be lead by Conservation International. “In a landscape approach, you need to have a comprehensive set of activities, some of which being profitable (hence financed by the fund); some others not. The funding provided by the GCF addresses both needs,” Sylvain Goupille, managing partner of Althelia.
Startup Catalyst. The International Finance Corporation made its first two investments from its $30 million Startup Catalyst initiative: $3 million into Argentina-based accelerator NXTP Labs and $1 million to Egypt-based Flat6Labs. The Startup Catalyst program is part of the IFC’s Venture Capital group and invests in emerging market accelerators and seed funds. Its current focus is on mid-size emerging markets including Argentina and Egypt along with Mexico, Nigeria and Ukraine. It expects to fully commit Startup Catalyst’s $30 million through 15 to 20 investments in the next 18 months. The IFC’s Venture Capital group ultimately plans to build a $1 billion portfolio.
Reach fund. U.K.-based foundation Access is testing a catalytic capital model with the launch of its £4 million ($4.9 million) grant-based Reach Fund. The fund will be available to charities referred by a social investor who pledge to invest once the charity becomes “investment ready.” The grant from the Reach Fund—up to £15,000—would then be issued to support the charity’s investment readiness plan. Access will test the fund for a two year period.
In other dealflow…
Web safety. Online safety and filtering start-up Securly has raised a $4 million Series A financing round, let by Owl Ventures. Securly has developed a cloud-based web filter for U.S. primary and secondary schools to ensure students cannot access dangerous online content from school computers. The system allows schools to control the filters based on student ages and sends e-mail reports to parents on their children’s school-time web habits. Securly plans to use the new capital to build a home version of its system as well as additional digital tools, including an app and online portal for parents.
Creative youth. London-based impact ClearlySo made a £1.1 million ($1.3 million) equity investment in Latimer Group, a creative and media agency that supports integrating unemployed youth into sector through its youth network. The U.K.’s current unemployment rate among 16 to 24 year olds is 13.6 percent. Latimer will use the capital to boost its senior team and build its technology platform.
Energy savings. ClearlySo also supported Brighter World Energy—a socially conscious energy company in the U.K.—with raising a £500,000 ($608,000) seed round. Brighter World Energy claims that its competitive energy pricing model saves customers $240 on average compared to the country’s major utility companies. For every 2,000 customers it signs up, it also installs a solar microgrid in Africa.
Customer consciousness. Utility software company EnergySavvy has raised $14 million in a Series D round. The investment was led by GXP Investments and backed by Inherent Group, Prelude Ventures and EnerTech Capital. EnergySavvy’s software is designed to help utilities improve customer engagement and service. So far, it has been adopted by 40 utility companies. EnergySavvy is in the process of launching a consulting division and plans to use the latest financing to expand its software packages.
DealFlow is ImpactAlpha’s weekly roundup of what, where, how and why impact capital flowed each week… See more impact deals in ImpactAlpha’s DealFlow section. And send your deal news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Latimer Group.