Upstart Co-Lab’s pipeline of creative economy deals is now an investable impact strategy. The “creative economy” of fashion, food, film, video games and other art and culture industries has emerged as a powerful driver of quality jobs, vibrant communities, and social and economic inclusion. It's also now an impact investment thesis. New York-based nonprofit Upstart Co-Lab has created the Inclusive Creative Economy Strategy, a pooled investment vehicle for fund managers and entrepreneurs of color in creative enterprises that build livelihoods and inclusive communities. “We believe that the creative economy can be the door to welcome artists, art lovers and cultural institutions into a bigger conversation about impact investing,” says Laura Callanan, the former top official of the National Endowment for the Arts who launched Upstart in 2016.
Dealflow: Place-Based Investing
LISC teams up with Colorado Health Foundation to back diverse-owned businesses. Local Initiatives Support Corp.'s Colorado BIPOC Micro Equity Fund provides “equity-like” capital to small business owners of color in disadvantaged Colorado communities “that are poised to grow but haven’t had access to the capital they need,” explains LISC’s George Ashton. The $2 million pilot fund, which is back-stopped by the Colorado Health Foundation, will make investments of $50,000 to $250,000. After a year, owners will repay the capital with a share of revenue if they’ve hit agreed-upon revenue targets. “If a business is unable to hit its growth metrics, philanthropy steps in and assumes the obligation on behalf of the business,” said the Colorado Health Foundation’s Ben Bynum.
Signal: Circular Economy
Circulate Capital eyes opportunities to tackle plastic waste in Latin America. Singapore-based investment fund Circulate Capital, which has backed projects in South and Southeast Asia, now sees an opportunity to reduce plastic waste in Latin America. The $175 million fund was launched in 2018 with investment from some of the world’s biggest plastics producers and users including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow and Mondelēz. A new study breaks down the circular economy opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Many countries in the region already have policies to eliminate waste by reusing, repurposing or recycling materials. Implementation has been limited, creating a window for the private sector to help tackle plastic pollution in the region, the study says.
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Banks Benitez, ex- of Uncharted, joins Ezra Climate as head of venture development (for background, see “Common Future and Uncharted merge to expand entrepreneurship and wealth-building in underserved communities”)... Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board appoints Anna Murray, ex- of Sun Life Capital Management, to the role of senior managing director and global head of sustainable investing… David LeZaks of the Croatan Institute joins Planetary Health Collective’s board.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, which supports ImpactAlpha’s Investing in Health coverage. In partnership with J&J Impact Ventures, ImpactAlpha is exploring the …