Featured: Catalytic Capital

Off-takes, guarantees and blended finance: A lexicon of catalytic climate capital. Investments in climate solutions are crucial, but purchase orders can be transformative. Corporations are increasingly using their purchasing power to green their operations and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Hertz’s order of 100,000 Tesla Model 3s to revamp its rental fleet underscored the power of corporate purchase agreements to drive adoption of new technologies. The $4 billion order was an unmistakable sign that the proverbial hockey stick in electric vehicle adoption is at hand. Hertz launched in 1918 with a dozen Ford Model Ts. 

Dealflow: Climate Tech

Investors ramp up climate tech investments ahead of COP26. Venture capital investors poured $16 billion into climate tech startups in the first half of 2021. They’re padding the total ahead of next week’s COP26 global climate summit. Boston-based Via Separations raised $38 million to electrify and decarbonize high-emission industrial processes. The MIT spin-off replaces fossil-fuel energy to separate chemicals, pulp and petrochemicals. Texas-based NGP ETP led the Series B round, with 2040 Foundation and existing investors including Prime Impact, Safar Partners and The Engine.

Signals: Capitalism Reimagined

Expanding employee ownership to empower workers and strengthen small businesses. Impact investors are giving small businesses a boost with a powerful tool that can increase the wealth of employees, their families and their communities: employee ownership. The Seed Commons, a community wealth cooperative, has invested nearly $8 million in local communities. Apis & Heritage Capital Partners in June raised $30 million for its Legacy Fund I to transition businesses with large workforces of color into employee-owned businesses. Longtime investors Shared Capital Cooperative and The Cooperative Fund of New England provide critical financial services to local employee-owned businesses (for context, see “These 12 impact funds are catalyzing transitions to employee ownership”). “It’s time for investors at all levels – from private philanthropy to institutional investors – to join us in this work,” writes Diane Ives, who leads the employee ownership strategy at the Kendeda Fund, in a guest post. “Systemic change only happens at scale.”

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Perry Clarkson is promoted to principal at SJF Ventures… Kristin Ihnchak, ex- of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, joins Greenprint Partners as director of equitable planning… RSF Social Finance adds five new staff members: Ali Robinson and Michael Jones join as senior relationship managers in lending; Dana Stranz comes on as director of credit and portfolio management; Ellie Pickrell joins as relationship manager in lending; and Vic McKellips as client development manager.

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