Agents of Impact | June 21, 2019

Follow the Talent: ImpactAlpha’s ‘Agents of Impact’ Special Report for June 21

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Welcome to ImpactAlpha’s weekly “follow the talent” roundup of impact investing career moves, job openings, events and opportunities. Help the growing ImpactAlpha community follow your talent: Send job moves, mandates, event announcements and other news to [email protected].

– Dennis Price, editorial director

Agent of Impact

Bitwise’s Irma Olguin JrIn California, “the Valley” meant the agricultural Central Valley long before it meant Silicon Valley. But towns like Fresno and Bakersfield have long been underdogs when it comes to tech’s promise of high growth and high pay. With Bitwise, Olguin and co-founder Jake Soberal have found a way to even the playing field. Bitwise has trained more than 1,000 software developers, provided facilities for more than 200 tech companies and renovated 250,000 square feet of building space in Fresno’s downtown. With $27 million in new financing, Bitwise is taking its model to other underdog cities, starting with nearby Bakersfield. “We’re creating our own critical mass,” says Olguin, who grew up in a farmworker family in Fresno before leaving for college and then work in the Bay Area, Chicago, North Carolina and other tech hubs.

An engineer and entrepreneur, Olguin realized Fresno was being left behind when a family tragedy brought her back to her hometown. Starting in 2010, she launched a software competition, then a nonprofit co-working space for designers and developers. That illuminated the intertwined problems of talent that left town even as employers couldn’t hire. Bitwise tackles the problem from all directions, training developers, attracting companies and providing attractive and functional tech workspaces previously unknown in Fresno. New Voices Fund’s Richelieu Dennis said he invested in Bitwise “as one of the only private entities approaching the realities of the economy, technology and marginalized communities with a successful, repeatable business model.” Kapor Capital’s Mitch Kapor said Bitwise’s combination of training, software development and common workspaces “has proven to revitalize communities while also successfully addressing the growing skills gap in the tech industry.” The Series A raise is one of the largest ever for a Latina-led tech company or, for that matter, any tech company in the Central Valley. “It was a matter of finding folks who were making the same kind of bet we are making,” Olguin said of the fundraising, “about human potential in places largely forgotten by tech.” Follow ImpactAlpha on Instagram.

Seize the Opportunity

Morgan Stanley is recruiting a vice president of sustainable finance digital product management in New York… Silicon Valley Community Foundation seeks an investment officer in Mountain View… Leapfrog Investments is hiring a senior associate director of healthcare in Kenya… Sustainable Oceans Alliance is looking for an accelerator program manager in San Francisco… Refugee Investment Network seeks an investment manager in Washington D.C… Capria is recruiting a network lead in Seattle… Calvert Impact Capital is looking for an investment analyst in Bethesda, Md….

The Bridges Impact Foundation is hiring a program associate for its MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT) Program in New York or Boston… Echoing Green is hiring a director of alumni programs in New York… Also in New York, Common Impact is looking for an associate consultant… Consulting and investment firm Karisimbi Business Partners is hiring a senior manager in Kigali, Rwanda… Align Impact seeks a philanthropy associate in Santa Monica, San Mateo, or New York… Social Finance is hiring a director of social investment.

Follow the Talent

Sapna Shah was named managing director at the Global Impact Investing Network… Swedish impact hub Norrsken is opening a location in Kigali, Rwanda, for tech entrepreneurs… Techstars launches a second impact accelerator, in Atlanta, with Cox Enterprises (see, Techstars looks for startups to help mitigate mounting social and environmental risks)… Richard Allen joins Stonehenge Capital Company as director of strategic initiatives… Visa and Metlife foundation, along with Accion, International Finance Corp. and MIX release the “Inclusive Fintech 50” of top early-stage fintech companies serving the world’s three billion financially underserved people…

Futurebound, Uncharted and Gary Community Investments launch the Futurebound Acceleration Lab to accelerate “breakthrough solutions to child development’s most complex challenges”… James Gifford, founder of Principles for Responsible Investment, leaves his impact investing role at UBS… Priscilla Almodovar, ex-of JP Morgan Chase, is the new CEO of Enterprise Community Partners… Scott Nance, previously with ImpactAssets, joins CapShift as vice president of business development.

Apply, Respond, Submit

The Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund and CaribbeanTales Incubator Program are looking for emerging and established film practitioners for a new film accelerator.

That’s a wrap! Help the growing ImpactAlpha community follow your talent: Send your own job moves, new opportunities and event announcements to [email protected].