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#Featured: ImpactAlpha Original
Deval Patrick is ready to roll with the $390 million Bain Capital Double Impact Fund. Deval Patrick has been talking — and listening — for two years. Now, the former governor of Massachusetts turned impact investor is ready to move capital. The Bain Capital Double Impact Fund had originally targeted a raise of $250 million, but expanded the fund after strong interest from institutions and individuals. Patrick is looking for 12 to 15 deals of $10 to $40 million each. Bain took a majority stake in its first two investments, Impact Fitness and Living Earth.
Along with TPG Growth’s RISE fund, Bain’s arrival on the impact scene signals “an increasingly vibrant capital market for businesses at various stages of investment,” as Brian Trelstad, a partner at Bridges Fund Management (and a co-investor in Impact Fitness) put it. The new level of scale makes some impact early adopters nervous. “Our commitment is to prove the model,” Patrick told ImpactAlpha. “We’re being closely followed. We owe it to the field to do it well.”
Read “What we know about Bain Capital’s $390 million Double Impact Fund,” by David Bank on ImpactAlpha:
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#Dealflow: Follow the Money
Solera Health raises $18 million for chronic disease-prevention marketplace. The Phoenix-based company’s online marketplace connects patients, payers, and physicians with community organizations and other digital health solutions. The firm closed $18.3 million in financing, led by private equity firm Adams Street Partners, to expand into non-medical prevention programs and “alter an antiquated approach to the administration of preventive benefits,” said Adams Street’s Tom Bremner. Existing investors SJF Ventures, Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners and Sandbox Industries participated in the round. The new funding brought the firm’s total capital raised to more than $30 million.
Singapore’s Spring to seed social “deep tech” startups. Singapore’s business development agency, Spring, committed $73 million to startups in manufacturing, health, urban solutions, and sustainability. The sectors “generate significant economic and social impact, such as productivity improvement through the use of innovative and disruptive technologies,” the agency said in a statement. The fund will make seed equity investments from $350,000 to $3 million. To attract domestic and foreign co-investment partners, Spring is offering to match investments at a ratio of more than two-to-one for early-stage technologies. Investment partners are expected to provide business and commercialization support for the technologies they’re investing in, along with mentorship for the startup teams.
Global Partnerships invests in BRAC and edtech startup Arifu. Nonprofit impact investor Global Partnerships made three investments in East Africa. Global Partnerships provides debt to early- and growth-stage social enterprises that focus on poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. It issued over $2 million in debt to development organization BRAC to support women entrepreneurs in Tanzania and Uganda living on less than $3.10 per day. Global Partnerships’ Women-Centered Finance with Education initiative has disbursed more than $94 million in capital and impacted 2.1 million people by facilitating small business loans and education on financial literacy, health, nutrition, business, and money management. Separately, Global Partnerships’ early-stage Social Venture Fund made a $100,000 loan to Arifu, a mobile platform for skills training and livelihood product information.
See all of ImpactAlpha’s recent #dealflow.
#Signals: Ahead of the Curve
Innovate for refugees. Portable economic identities. A global telemedicine platform. A refugee-managed recycling center. Innovate For Refugees, a competition hosted by Beirut-based MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, rewarded tech solutions to the acute hardships faced by refugees. Nearly a third of the 1,633 entries came from women — and 15% came from refugees themselves. Among the seven winners: Boloro and BanQu project, from Amman-based payments platform Boloro and BanQu, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., lets users securely make payments and receive funds. HeyDoc!, a telemedicine platform created by Lebanese IT experts Ahmad Al-Hidiq and Salah Al-Hidiq, already has 1500 user and 500 advisors. HeyDoc! recently got a boost from the Dubai-based TURN8 accelerator program and backing from an angel investor. Recycle Beirut employs job-seeking refugees to help manage waste in Lebanon, which lost its main landfill in 2015. The firm currently employs 17 Syrian refugees. “If you use innovation to find a solution to a tough social problem in a large market, you have hit the investor’s sweet spot,” says Christina Andreassen of WOMENA, a Dubai-based angel investment platform.
Can Thailand get back on a sustainable pathway for 2030? Thailand, with major wealth inequality and relatively low economic growth, is at risk of missing the sustainable development boat. Thailand ranks 100th in the 2016 Global Sustainability Competitiveness Index, and 153rd in natural capital due to water management problems, local pollution, falling biodiversity and the depletion of natural resources. The Thai government is oblique in its Voluntary National Review of its progress. Regarding progress towards SDG №6, for example, the report reads: “Almost 100 percent of households have access to safe and affordable drinking water as well as sanitation facilities. However, challenge remains in remote rural areas where we are doubling our effort to address the situation.”
How can Thailand rebound? For Asia as a whole, a $1.7 trillion investment in four systems — food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being — could unlock at least $5 trillion in business opportunities and generate 230 million jobs in Asian countries. The Business and Sustainable Development Commission has proposed a framework for blended finance to fill the funding gap, lower risks and attract private investors.
Thailand has its own opportunities to leverage the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for investment. As a start: Reshape urban housing via affordable accommodation. Implement energy efficient infrastructure. Develop electric transportation systems. Adopt sustainable agriculture and food production models. Reducing food waste. And shift to more inclusive, affordable healthcare models. Underpinning any such transformation, say Khon Kaen University’s John Draper and Peerasit Kamnuansilpa in the Bangkok Post: the ability for Thais to engage in a social dialogue and be able to openly criticize their government’s inefficiency and corruption.
Onward! Please send any news and comments to TheBrief@impactalpha.com.