Uneasy Blend of Investor Expectations: Five Ways to Build Better Capital Stacks

I recently sat around a table of investors charged with finalizing the structure of a global impact fund. I couldn’t help but hear the contradictions that laced the discussion. One public investor had a mandate to “catalyze private capital” but was unable to accept any terms considered subordinate to other investors. Another investor wouldn’t be able

Financing the Sustainable Development Goals with ‘Blended Capital’

Here’s the latest trillion dollar question: How to finance the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations on Friday? The new set of 17 goals for 2030, known as the SDGs, build on the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, that were adopted in 2000 and ran through this year. The 169 specific targets

Small Foundations Are Embracing Impact Investing

Paperwork and bureaucracy aren’t just pains in the backside of everyone working at every small business or smaller nonprofit. They’re also barriers to entry — for new people, new ideas and even new sources of capital. Crowdfunding might help level the playing field, but even that has a new set of challenges and limitations. When

VilCap Investments: New $13.2M Fund Doubles Down on Peer-Selected Investments

Village Capital has relied on peer selection to build one of the most productive accelerator programs in the impact investing marketplace. In six years, “Vilcap” has launched more than 35 accelerator programs on five continents, investing $2 million in 55 early-stage companies. Entrepreneurs chose every investment. Now Ross Baird, Village Capital’s executive director, is taking

Lending for African Farming: Financing the Other 90 Percent of Smallholder Agriculture

Social lenders such as Root Capital have pioneered financing for smallholder producers of export crops like coffee, cocoa, and tea. Now, Root is seeking to help build agricultural businesses that serve local staple crop markets as well — a financing market that may be 10 times as big. Root, together with Germany’s KfW Development Bank and agriculture

Ecotrust Forest: Making the Math Work for Sustainable Timber in the Northwest

Ecotrust Forest Management has gone where most other sustainable timber funds fear to tread: the Pacific Northwest. The Portland-based investment manager has successfully closed a $52 million fund for the purchase and sustainable management of northwest forests with an approach it says can both benefit local communities and the environment and deliver market-rate returns for investors. The

Acelero Learning: Flexible Financing to Give Low-Income Kids a Head Start

When we last left Acelero Learning, the pioneering early childhood education provider was struggling to repay its early impact investors after the company’s Head Start programs generated impressive academic gains but modest returns. A year later, those investors are staying in and Acelero has an additional $30,000 each month to spend on expanding its services