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Agent of Impact: Willemijn Verloop, Social Impact Ventures

ImpactAlpha, March 6 – Social Impact Ventures’ €40 million fund was the biggest private impact fund in the Netherlands when it launched in 2015. Now, founder Willemijn Verloop, with her partner Machtelt Groothuis, is back in the market with an €80 million second fund to replicate and expand its impact investing model, which includes a rigorous impact oversight structure, impact-linked carry, and quarterly impact and financial reporting.

“How can we ask the entrepreneurs we’re invested in to report on impact metrics if we do not use those metrics to judge our own success?” Verloop asks.

Social Impact Ventures has played a catalytic role in coaxing new investors to co-invest in impact deals, and to track their impact. When Social Impact Ventures sold its stake in the biofuels company GoodFuels, FinCo Fuels Group–which owns a network of gas stations–committed to continue tracking Social Impact Ventures’ impact metrics.

Verloop arrived in impact finance after an NGO career that included founding the international peace-building organization War Child, which supports children affected by war in 15 countries. Recognizing the potential of entrepreneurship to empower people facing adversity, she co-founded Social Enterprise NL, the Dutch national ecosystem builder for social entrepreneurship. By 2015, there were 2,000 more social startups in the Netherlands than five years earlier.

Social Impact Ventures remains a rare source of early-stage impact capital. One early investment: Samasource, which teaches basic tech skills and employs low-skilled, low-income workers in Africa (see “Agent of Impact: Leila Janah, 1982-2020”).

“We’ve seen the growth of young ventures in our pipeline,” Verloop says. “We can easily double what we’ve done in the last four years because we now have a developed pipeline.”

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