ImpactAlpha Open | June 25, 2024

ImpactAlpha Open: Impact at Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners + ownership by acquisition

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! Welcome to the latest ImpactAlpha Open, our free weekly newsletter with the top news and opportunities in impact investing and sustainable finance. 

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In this week’s Open:

  • Impact at Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners (video)
  • Ownership by acquisition
  • D-SAFES for climate tech
  • Colluding… against climate change risks

Ok, let’s dig in. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Increasing representation of people of color in venture capital. About two-thirds of the portfolio companies of Marcy Venture Partners, founded by hip-hop icon Jay-Z, Jay Brown and Larry Marcus, are led by women and entrepreneurs of color. A similar percentage of Kellogg Foundation’s mission-driven portfolio is managed by female managers and/or managers of color, including Marcy. “People have been leaving this money on the table,” Kellogg Foundation’s La June Montgomery Tabron told David Bank in a joint video interview with Brown. Watch the interview.
  • Ownership by acquisition. New Majority Capital is raising a $50 million fund to create pathways to small business ownership for diverse entrepreneurs, as Roody Senatus reports. Dig in.
  • The impact of women-led funds. A generational opportunity exists as the increasing wealth of women flows to women-led funds that are investing in businesses improving the well-being of women and girls, as Visa Foundation’s Najada Kumbuli and Bootstrap Europe’s Stephanie Heller explain in a guest post. Go deeper
  • D-SAFEs for climate tech. To provide financing needed by climate tech startups seeking to cross the chasm to commercial deployment, Elemental Excelerator has put a new spin on the “simple agreement for equity” terms widely used in Silicon Valley. A “D-SAFE” is designed specifically for climate projects, as Amy Cortese details. Take a look.
  • Linking impact to finance. Roots of Impact offers up lessons for scaling impact-linked finance, as Jessica Pothering reports. Get smart quickly.
  • Colluding… against climate change risks. In his latest Fiduciary Future column, As You Sow’s Andy Behar dissects the case presented by the Republican majority of the US House Judiciary Committee against the “climate cartel” of investors and advocates urging corporations to get serious about decarbonization. “Apparently, the entire free market is colluding to protect itself from the risks of climate change,” Behar writes. Read on.

Agents of Impact

🏃 On the move

  • James Gifford stepped down as head of sustainable and impact advisory at UBS.
  • Tameo Impact Fund Solutions appointed Safeya Zeitoun as CEO and promoted Ramkumar Narayanan and Vincent Dufresne to executive managers.
  • Noorjit Sidhu, previously with Plug and Play Ventures, joined Social Finance as impact investing associate director in San Francisco.

The Week’s Podcast

🎧 This Week in Impact

Who is colluding with whom? Contributing editor Imogen Rose-Smith joins host Brian Walsh and ImpactAlpha editor David Bank for a roundtable discussion on the growing pushback against the ESG backlash.

  • Listen to the new episode of This Week in Impact. Get the podcast in your feed by subscribing on Apple or Spotify. And, if you like the podcast, please leave us a review.

Short Signals: What We’re Reading

🚗 Taming Tesla. Nia Impact Capital’s Kristin Hull showed up at Tesla’s gigafactory in Austin, Texas last week to present Nia’s anti-harassment shareholder resolution at the EV maker’s (largely male) shareholder meeting (for context, see “Elon Musk’s pay grab is a skirmish in the broader battle of the billionaires”). “When looking under the ‘frunk,’ we find failures in workplace management,” she told the assembled shareholders. With the proposal drawing 30% of the vote, Hull said, “I would expect the board to take action.” (Nia Impact Capital)

👩🏼‍🌾 Outcomes-based agriculture. Farmers in Vermont are being paid to keep phosphorus-based fertilizer from leaching. Midwest farmers earn income from the government and carbon credits by controlling nitrogen runoff. Texan ranchers are compensated for saving water savings and restoring native grasses. The $32 million in performance-based payments paid by the Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program since 2018 “could herald a transformative shift in USDA’s approach to conservation funding.” (Environmental Policy Innovation Center)

🏛️ SCOTUS and wealth taxes. The Supreme Court upheld a Trump-era tax on US shareholders with certain foreign profits kept overseas. But the justices signaled they may not stomach the wealth tax on rich Americans that is supported by some groups to finance the green transition, drive social change and reduce inequality. The 7-2 ruling was narrow and left the question of taxing wealth “for another day.” (US Supreme Court)

🥵 Climate insurance for women. India is wilting under its longest heatwave on record. In May, insurance company ICICI Lombard paid basic living wages totaling $340,000 to 46,000 low-income women in a pilot of parametric insurance with the Self-Employed Women’s Association. The free policies are meant to gauge appetite for such livelihood insurance as climate impacts intensify. (Bloomberg)

🧑‍🦱 Impact’s demographic sweet spot. At least some wealthy American millennials and adult Gen Zers are hot for alternative investments, including impact companies. More than one in five individuals aged 21-43 with at least $3 million in investable assets rank companies focused on positive social and environmental changes as a top growth area for their portfolios – the most interest of any age group. (Bank of America)

Get in the Game

💼 Step up

  • The Nature Conservancy is hiring an investment analyst of environmental conservation and sustainable finance. 
  • VentureESG is looking for a research fellow in London.
  • Mission Driven Finance seeks a director fund management, impact investing and fund administration.

Visit ImpactAlpha’s Career Hub for more hundreds of more impact investing jobs.

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