1. Getting the rules right for a community-led COVID recovery. The COVID disruption could be a watershed moment for the expansion of community lending. The emergency appropriation of $12 billion in last month’s relief package for community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, and minority depository institutions, or MDIs, is intended to bolster the balance sheets of lenders to low-income communities and underserved populations. But details of the legislation may hinder the effectiveness of the capital infusion. In a guest post on ImpactAlpha,Laurie Spengler of Courageous Capital and George Surgeon of GSJ Advisors suggest how the Treasury Department can get the rules right. “We encourage impact investors to join Treasury in this effort by increasing their investment in MDIs and CDFI depository institutions – especially common equity investments,” they write. “The time is now.” Keep reading.
The Week’s Agents of Impact
Georgia’s organizers. “Welcome to the New Georgia,” proclaimed Senator-elect Raphael Warnock. “It is more diverse, and it's more inclusive. And it readily embraces the future.” Warnock, the first Black person to be sent to the Senate by the state – and fellow Senator-elect Jon Ossoff, a Jewish man, signal the profound demographic and cultural shifts that also helped tip Georgia for President-elect Joe Biden. But demographics alone can’t explain their historic achievement. For that, you have to thank the civic leaders and community organizers that worked for years – decades – to educate, mobilize and register new voters in overlooked, under-represented communities. They knew Georgia was up for grabs long before Democratic party leaders caught on. If demographics shifts are the fire, says Nsé Ufot of New Georgia Project, “organizing is the accelerant.”
The Week’s Dealflow
Low-carbon future. Daystar Power raises $38 million to expand commercial solar power in West Africa… The Rise Fund acquires renewable energy company Element Markets… Electric fleet company Proterra to go public through merger with ArcLight SPAC… SilviaTerra raises $4.4 million to build a carbon marketplace from forestlands… Gro Intelligence secures $85 million to build climate risk-adjusted indexes.
The Week’s Talent
Maëlle Gavet, previously with Compass, joins Techstars as chief executive officer… Patricia McCarthy, ex- of Common Future, joins Candide Group as managing director. Candide named Hope Newsome, previously with Virtus LLP, as chief compliance officer and promoted Laurika Harris-Kaye to portfolio manager… New Forests names Adrian Williams, ex- of AMP Capital, as chief financial officer… Leticia Peguero steps down as vice president of programs at Nathan Cummings Foundation.
The Week’s Jobs
BLCK VC is recruiting an executive director… The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility seeks a deputy director… One Acre Fund is hiring an associate writer in New York… Prime Coalition is looking for summer fellows… Global Forest Generation seeks a communications director… Sistema.bio is looking for a national technical manager in Pune, India… The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeks an impact investment officer in Princeton, N.J.
“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.
Bryce Roberts and Tim O’Reilly: VCs that help startups raise revenues, not rounds
The team at
New Revivalists is a series from ImpactAlpha and Village Capital profiling the people, places and policies reviving entrepreneurship — and the American Dream.
New Revivalists: Bryce Roberts and Tim O’Reilly, co-founders, Indie.vc. Place: San Francisco Bay Area The approach: “It’s not how fast you grow, but can you grow sustainably. This focus on operating businesses that make early revenue is a really fresh idea in Silicon Valley. But it’s a really old idea in the real world.” Follow: @bryce and @timoreilly
In an age of bloated venture capital funds and startups that are long on valuations and short on profit models, investor Bryce Roberts and media entrepreneur Tim O’Reilly are getting back to basics.
Through an approach they dubbed Indie.vc, Roberts and O’Reilly are surrounding founders with the resources and networks that other VCs offer, but without the baggage and sky-high expectations. The team has backed 16 firms with investments of between $100,000 and $500,000, with a focus on customers, cash flow and sustainability rather than future mega-funding rounds.
The investments are executed through O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), the pair’s venture capital firm, which is applying the Indie.vc approach in its fourth fund. ImpactAlpha caught up with Roberts and O’Reilly to talk about their unconventional approach to investing in and building companies, and why they burned that unicorn head.