ImpactAlpha Open | May 16, 2023

ImpactAlpha Open: Exiting with impact alpha

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! Welcome to ImpactAlpha Open, our free weekly newsletter to keep you up to date and in the know on impact investing and sustainable finance.

⚡️ Breaking: Illumen Capital raises $168 million second fund to fight bias in asset management. “There’s massive pent-up latent value within markets that can be unlocked,” Illumen’s Daryn Dodson told ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering. Read today’s story.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • Exiting with impact alpha
  • Responsible private equity
  • AI + education
  • Screening out guns

Ok, let’s get to it. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Exiting with impact alpha. Hundreds of exits racked up by early impact funds are putting to rest any lingering concerns about their abilities to generate market-rate returns, Amy Cortese reports.
  • Responsible private equity. Private equity firms as well are adopting impact for an edge, rolling out employee ownership strategies, diversity goals and decarbonization funds, as NYU’s Tensie Whelan shared in a guest post in ImpactAlpha.
  • Impact-linked finance. A deeper commitment to impact helped Novulis, an Ecuador-based dental care company that serves low-income families, grow revenues and attract growth capital, Jessica Pothering reports.
  • Carbon markets. Acumen portfolio companies d.light and Burn Manufacturing are using carbon credits they earn by reducing emissions to lower the upfront costs of climate-friendly products for low-income consumers, Acumen’s Dan Waldron shares in a guest post.
  • Community ownership. Communities in the US are pushing back on speculators and fighting gentrification with legal structures and evergreen investment funds to preserve ownership of commercial and residential assets.
  • AI + education. Educators are mapping opportunities to direct generative AI to enhance student outcomes and success, Impact Engine’s Rahul Bhide and Ainsley Campbell share on ImpactAlpha.

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Agents of Impact

🌱 Aina Abiodun, VertueLab: Centering community in climate tech in the Pacific Northwest

Nigeria-born climate entrepreneur and “professional nomad” Aina Abiodun is bullish on place-based climate innovation. “There is nothing more urgent than when you’re living the disaster,” Abiodun tells ImpactAlpha. Hawaii, for example, has committed to greening its energy production. New York is moving aggressively to decarbonize its building stock. As the incoming head of Portland-based climate nonprofit VertueLab, which has funded climate tech in the Pacific Northwest for 15 years, she says, “Let’s tackle this thing from a local perspective and see how we can build it out.” 

🏃🏿‍♀️ On the move

  • Don Wood, ex- of DFJ, joined B Capital as a venture partner focusing on climate tech.
  • Impax Asset Management promoted Leah Wood to global head of marketing and client experience.
  • Kimberly Stotzer succeeds Quentin Strode as chief executive officer of New Community Investments.

Impact Briefing

🎧 On the podcast

Tensie Whelan of the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business joins host Brian Walsh to discuss the long and winding road to responsible private equity. Plus, the headlines. 

Deal Spotlight

💸 Brookfield bucks fundraising malaise as it eyes another mega decarbonization fund

Private equity funds are bracing for a challenging fundraising year. Not Brookfield Asset Management. Already this year, the Canadian firm has raked in $19 billion across its strategies. Its second energy transition fund is expected to approach $25 billion. The firm’s Bahir Manios cited the “strong demand from institutional capital for this strategy” on the firm’s quarterly earnings call.

Six Signals

✌🏾 Gun violence reduction. Screening out gun companies from investment portfolios can lead to a higher cost of debt for firearm companies, argues Bhakti Mirchandani of Trinity Church Wall Street in the first in a series of posts that explore how investors can end the age of mass shootings. (Forbes)

📈 ESG could have saved Silicon Valley Bank. The recent bank failures shine an oft-neglected light on the “G” in ESG and present a sobering warning of how ESG factors can be deeply consequential in assessing risks. (Investment News)

🌱 Clamping down on carbon-neutral claims. The European Parliament voted last week to support new rules to improve product durability by combatting greenwashing and misleading claims on consumer labels, such as ‘CO2 neutral’ or ‘carbon neutral.’ (Euractiv

☀️ Catalyzing climate finance. Risk-sharing instruments that catalyze private capital are among the products and processes that need to be scaled at development banks to effectively deploy volumes of climate finance in emerging markets. (Climate Policy Initiative)

💨 UK’s windy transition. A third of the UK’s electricity came from wind farms in the first three months of 2023, marking the first time in the country that wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas. (BBC)

👷🏾‍♀️ Rust Belt’s green future. Steel built the US Rust Belt. Green steel could help rebuild it. Steel manufactured using hydrogen and powered by renewable energy could drastically reduce carbon emissions and employ a well-paid, industrial workforce. (Grist)

Get in the Game 

💼 Step up

Check out the full list of the week’s impact jobs on

🤝 Meet up

Don’t miss these upcoming impact investing events:

  • June 20-22Asian Venture Philanthropy Network Global Conference 2023 (Kuala Lumpur)
  • July 13-14Africa Impact Summit, hosted by GSG, African national advisory boards for impact investing, and the University of Cape Town’s Bertha Center (Cape Town)
  • August 27-30Latimpacto’s 2023 Conference (Rio de Janeiro)

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