In 2017, #MeToo became the shorthand for a long-overdue reckoning with sexual assault and harassment. Next year, #MeToo could very well be a trending hashtag for investors, fund managers and advisors moving billions into women-led and women-focused ventures, funds and investment products.
That capital could help make possible the realization of Sustainable Development Goal № 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” ImpactAlpha has been is tracking the global shift.
- Australia first Gender Equality Bond was oversubscribed 20-fold drawing A$8.25 billion ($6.3 billion) in interest from investors for the A$400 million ($303 million) issue. The bond backs companies promoting women leaders and closing the pay gap. (Note: an earlier version of this post incorrectly reported the bond had raised A$8.25 billion — that’s a lot!)
2. The International Finance Corp. raised $500 million from more than 40 institutional investors for its first social bond backing women-led companies and low-income communities.
3. The Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) listed its Women’s Livelihood Bond on Singapore Stock Exchange. The bond raised $8 million to help 385,000 women in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines build sustainable livelihoods.
4. The UBS Optimus Foundation is leading a $3.5 million development impact bond in Rajasthan, India, to reduce maternal and infant mortality. The “Utkrisht” bond hopes to prevent 10,000 deaths over the next five years.
5. Another UBS-backed development impact bond in India began delivering positive results in girls’ education. The Educate Girls bond, now in its second year, has achieved 87.7% of its enrollment target and 50.3% of its learning target for its three-year term.
6. Agora Partnerships is funneling working capital into women-led small businesses in Nicaragua through loans tied to business cash-flow. Agora’s lending program is backed by USAID and the Argidius Foundation, and local bank, Banco de America Central (BAC) Nicaragua.
7. The YWCA in Arizona has created $1 million loan fund for minority women entrepreneurs. The fund’s mission is two-fold: get more capital to underserved women, and to economically underserved areas.
8. Rethink Impact raised $110 million for women-led social startups tackling the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Most of the capital came from UBS Wealth Management Americas. (UBS has pledged $5 billion to achieve the SDGs, but the Swiss bank’s commitment to women might be its own trend to watch.)
9. As part of Unilever’s agreement to acquire Sundial — a $240 million hair and skincare brand founded by Liberian immigrants, the companies have committed $50 million toward a $100 million New Voices Fund for startups led by women of color.
10. Bárbara Kunde Minuzzi and Daniela Arruda founded raised $30 million through their venture capital fund Babel Ventures to back Latino entrepreneurs. Babel Ventures is among the rare U.S.-based VC funds led by women.
11. The Indian state of Karnataka launched a $1.5 million “proof of concept” fund to help women entrepreneurs pilot their products and ideas, part of a $333 million initiative to nurture 20,000 tech, social impact and other startups by 2020.
12. South African investment firm Sekunjalo Investment Group is staking $37 million on a fund for women-owned renewable energy businesses.
13. And finally, Hong Kong-based Delphnium Capital Partners has raised $16 million for a fund combatting the drop in female company leadership in Asia. The fund offers growth capital for mid-size companies with a strong roster of female senior executives.