ImpactAlpha Open | October 25, 2022

ImpactAlpha Open: Impact investors… in real life

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact! 

Welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open

ImpactAlpha’s David BankZuleyma Bebell and fanned out at last week’s SOCAP conference in San Francisco to make connections and soak up the activity. In London, ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese and Jessica Pothering rounded up opportunities at the intersection of gender and climate at the GenderSmart investing summit.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • The missing “E,” for employees, in ESG;
  • Leveraging balance sheets for impact;
  • Investing in ocean tech; and
  • The state of gender-lens investing.

Know someone that should be reading Open? Forward this email and invite them to sign up for free at Let’s get to it. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • To ESG or not to ESG. Keep calm and optimize for impact is the takeaway from our roundup of the latest in the culture war over corporate assessments of risks and opportunities. And center workers in that assessment, argue Ford Foundation’s Margot Brandenburg, Oxford’s Bob Eccles and Leo Strine, former chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, who suggest adding another “E” – for employees. (Open)
  • Economic resilience in the Global South. To address cascading climate and energy crises, the World Bank and the entire multilateral development banking system need to be more ambitious and more creative, report ImpactAlpha’s Dan Keeler and Amy Cortese. To drive economic growth, back female fund managers more likely to invest in women entrepreneurs, say Tokunboh Ishmael of Alitheia Capital and Richenda Van Leeuwen of Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs. (Open)
  • Expanding the toolkit. Social bonds and loan guarantees let philanthropic foundations leverage their balance sheets for impact, as Dan Keeler reports. The Rockefeller Foundation has committed to using all the tools in its kit to accelerate climate action, says Rockefeller’s Thomas Belazis in an interview with Amy Cortese.

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Agents of Impact

💲 Sandra Moore, Advantage Capital: Bringing capital to entrepreneurs of color

New Orleans-based Advantage Capital seeks out businesses in underserved communities. Sandra Moore is the firm’s chief impact officer and its only Black woman partner. Following the murder of George Floyd, Moore pushed the firm to adopt an explicit racial lens. “I knew we needed to continue to deploy capital to businesses in capital-starved markets, but with a laser focus on supporting minority-owned businesses,” Moore told ImpactAlpha.

🏃🏿‍♀️ On the move

  • Jules Kortenhorst, ex- of RMI, will join Vision Ridge Partners. He’ll be succeeded at RMI (formerly Rocky Mountain Institute) by Jon Creyts, who has worked with the organization since 2012.
  • Peter Bruce-Clark, ex- of Social Impact Capital, joins Radian Capital as a venture partner.
  • Phil Sanders is promoted to partner at New Media Ventures.

Impact Briefing (podcast)

🎧 On this week’s podcast

Host Monique Aiken is live and in person with Rodney Foxworth of Common Future and ImpactAlpha’s David Bank at SOCAP22 in San Francisco. Plus, the headlines.

Deal Spotlight

🌊 Propeller Ventures raises $100 million climate tech fund for ocean-based solutions

Trees get all the glory. But oceans absorb 20 times more carbon dioxide than trees. “Only a fraction of venture capital dollars that have flooded into climate tech flows into the seascape of ocean-based solutions,” said Hubspot’s Brian Halligan, who launched Boston-based Propeller in partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The seed fund will target early-stage companies using algae and microbes for energy, green packaging and pharmaceutical applications; decarbonizing maritime shipping; mining lithium; generating offshore wind; and desalinizing water; and developing other solutions. 

Six Signals

🇦🇺 Impact institutions. Australia’s major banks are considering providing $400 million for a “social impact” investment bank modeled on Big Society Capital in the U.K. (Financial Review)

👩🏽‍ Women rising. Take a spin through the gender-lens investing ‘State of the Field 2022’ report. (GenderSmart)

☀️ ESG oversight. Directors are confident of their board’s understanding of areas that fall under ESG, including talent and culture (92%), but less confident in areas like climate risk (<66%). (PwC)

👷🏾‍♀️ Worker power. Supporting transnational worker organizing should be at the center of the fight for “ethical AI.” (Noema Magazine)

🚲 Catalytic capital. Denver spent $4.1 million to get more people on e-bikes. It worked. (Fast Company)

🔬 Impact tech. Deep Science Ventures launched a doctorate to put venture creation at the heart of the PhD. (Isabel Thompson)

Get in the Game 

💼 Step up

  • S2G Ventures seeks an investment associate and an investment analyst.
  • The Nature Conservancy is recruiting an investment associate for NatureVest in Arlington, Va.
  • The Global Impact Investing Network seeks an associate.

🤝 Meet up

  • Reuters Events is hosting “ESG Investment North America 2022,” with Pathstone’s Erika Karp, World Bank’s Tapiwa Sikipa, and others, Wednesday, Nov. 2 in New York.
  • Tideline presents “Truth in climate impact: management and labeling best practices,” with Brookfield’s Kelly Goddard, British International Investment’s Nicola Mustetea, and Prime Coalitions’ Keri Browder, moderated by Tideline’s Jane Bieneman and Claudia Leon, Thursday, Nov. 3.
  • Mission Investors Exchange’s national conference convenes in person Dec. 5-7 in Baltimore featuring Tracy Palandjian of Social Finance, John Palfrey of the MacArthur Foundation, and others. MIE members can register here

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