1. Refugee investment blueprints. President-elect Joe Biden has signaled a Day-One reset on immigration. The network of investors, funds and companies driving affordable housing, healthcare, mobile banking and other solutions for migrants and refugees represents a set of blueprints and proof-points for the incoming administration. Says Refugee Investment Network’s John Kluge, “We’re starting to actually see a track record in the field.” Dig in.
The Week’s Agent of Impact
Tony Hsieh, Zappos and Downtown Project (1973 - 2020). You could almost see the tumbleweeds blowing down the streets of downtown Las Vegas when Tony Hsieh launched The Downtown Project in 2012. After selling the shoe retailer Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 billion, Hsieh moved the company to downtown Las Vegas and poured $350 million into revitalizing the blighted area, far from the city’s glitzy Strip. The Downtown Project invested in 50 small businesses, from restaurants to toy stores, as well as 50 tech startups in the area, and seeded arts festivals, residential housing and an early education center. The project may have been overhyped, and was criticized for its over-reliance on real estate investments. Hsieh left the active management of the project in 2014. Much of the 45 downtown acres it acquired remain undeveloped.
The Week’s Dealflow
Impact tech. Third Derivative aims to accelerate climate tech… Aphea.Bio secures €14 million to develop eco-crop treatments… Aurora Solar raises $50 million to digitize solar energy… Habitat for Humanity aims to accelerate shelter tech startups in emerging markets.
The Week’s Talent
ImpactAlpha contributing editor Monique Aiken, ex- of Mission Investors Exchange, joins The Investment Integration Project as managing director… Thierry Adant, formerly with Willis Towers Watson, is named chief investment officer at Newmarket Capital… Casey Family Programs’ Antoinette Malveaux and University of Washington’s Reggie Brown have been elected to the Beneficial State Bank board of directors… Taryn Goodman Gallery, former food and agriculture lead for TPG Rise Fund, joins Cultivian Sandbox as managing director.
The Week’s Jobs
Impact Engine is looking for a senior associate in Chicago… The FAIRR Initiative seeks an investor outreach manager in London… The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism is looking for an operations manager in New York…San Francisco-based Community Vision is recruiting a president… Quantified Ventures seeks summer associates in environmental finance and health and human services in Washington, D.C. or remote.
“It’s a great time for new entrants, but for those of us who’ve been doing this for a while it is equally urgent to raise our game right and to not get complacent,” said Margot Brandenburg of the Ford Foundation.
Host Monique Aiken recaps this week’s Agents of Impact Call on gender-smart investing and we go to South Africa to follow up with Secha Capital’s Kuhle Mnisi and Wukina’s Maureen Sibanda, this week’s Agents of Impact.