Greetings, Agents of Impact! Welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open, your go-to newsletter for news, community connections and career opportunities in impact investing and sustainable finance. One quick invitation:
👋 The Call: Year of the ‘S.’ Social factors have often taken a backseat to environmental and governance issues when it comes to ESG investing. This year, human capital, worker ownership and community resiliency are at the top of the impact policy agenda. Special guests Cambria Allen Ratzlaff of JUST Capital, Jesse Van Tol of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Jack Moriarty of Ownership America join Fran Seegull and David Bank to explore policy strategies and actionable opportunities, Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today.
In this week’s newsletter:
- Jay-Z’s NFL influence;
- State of the union;
- EVs in India; and
- Impact in private equity.
Let’s jump in. – Dennis Price
Must-reads on ImpactAlpha
- Inclusive economy. Impact investment strategies can turn the boom in small-business starts into long-term economic mobility for Black Americans, ImpactAlpha’s Roodgally Senatus reports.
- ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese covers the 10 racial-equity startups in Common Future’s new accelerator.
- Muni impact. On our last Agents of Impact Call, Ryan Bowers (Activest), Diane Manuel (Adasina Social Capital) and Eric Glass (Justice Capital) shared how they’re changing the rules – and the risk ratings – to root out systemic racism in the $4 trillion municipal bond market.
- Ethical climate tech. EV supply chains are riddled with human rights abuses. In a guest post, Working Capital Fund’s Evan Okun highlights five technologies that can help eliminate them.
- Impact management. I sat down (over video) with IRIS+ architect Kelly McCarthy, who aims to turn impact management theory into practice at private-equity firm Vistria.
Finance is changing. Stay ahead of the curve.
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Agents of Impact
☀️ Dawn Lippert, Elemental Excelerator and Earthshot Ventures
Dawn Lippert is closing capital gaps at both ends of climate tech funding. For more than a decade with Elemental Excelerator, Lippert has been plugging the financing gap for early stage startups building for communities on the front lines of climate change. With Earthshot Ventures, a $60 million venture capital fund, Lippert is mobilizing commercial and institutional capital to take those solutions to scale in every community.
- Keep reading Dawn Lippert’s story.
- ICYMI: “Elemental Excelerator’s climate-tech unicorns develop locally, deploy solutions globally.”
🏃🏿♀️ On the move
- Community Capital Management promoted Alyssa Greenspan to chief executive officer. She succeeds CCM founder Todd Cohen, who will transition to executive chairman.
- The Center for Economic Democracy named Yichen Feng, ex- of Lumos Capital Group, as managing director of capital strategies.
- Paul Bodnar, ex- head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, joined Bezos Earth Fund.
🎧 On the podcast
Fran Seegull of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance joins ImpactAlpha’s David Bank to talk about jobs, climate and communities in last week’s State of the Union address and to preview Agents of Impact Call No. 49. Plus, the headlines.
- Listen to the latest episode, and follow all of ImpactAlpha’s podcasts on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.
💸 Investors rally behind India’s EV startups
It seems like there’s an announcement every week about new financing for an electric-vehicle startup in India. EVs account for only 2% of vehicles in India, but sales nearly tripled last year as the government pushed to get more EVs on the road and install the charging infrastructure to support them. Ventures supporting the transition to electric raised nearly $1.7 billion last year, a jump of 117% from 2021.
- EV investing. Among the big deals: two-wheel manufacturer Ather Energy’s $128 million Series E round and Ola Electric’s $200 million Series C round. U.K. development finance institution British International Investment is throwing $250 million into EV manufacturing via automaker Mahindra & Mahindra. In 2021, TPG Rise Climate announced a billion-dollar bet on India’s EV market in partnership with Tata Motors (for context, see, “Investors in India are betting on climate tech’s financial opportunity“).
- Read the full spotlight.
🏈 Jay-Z’s NFL influence. With Rihanna, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, Roc Nation’s partnership with the NFL has helped open the Super Bowl halftime platform to a more diverse set of music genres and artists. (Dan Runcie, Trapital)
🌱 Plant-based pet food. Meat-based pet food has a large carbon footprint. Customers are shifting dogs and cats to a diet based on plants, insects and lab-grown protein, creating an opportunity for startups. (Bloomberg)
💅🏾 Black-led impact tech. Gro Intelligence, Planet FWD, Vericool and more than 22 other companies featured in the The Plug’s Black Tech Effect report of 100 high-growth, Black-led tech ventures qualified in the “impact” category with solutions to climate, water, food and healthcare challenges. (The Plug)
📈 Maturing impact market. Impact funds last year saw a year-over-year growth of 187% in the average amount of capital committed by institutional investors, which now stands at €278 million ($298 million), according to Phenix Capital’s database of 2,232 impact funds. (Phenix Capital
🏳️🌈 Inclusion alpha. The more open founders are in terms of their sexual identity, the more capital and revenue they have raised to date, according to a Proud Ventures survey of 130 LGBTQ+ founders in the U.K. (Proud Ventures)
🔍 ChatGPT does diligence. Kite Impact’s Gregory Neal asked the AI chatbot to come up with 10 red flags when conducting due diligence on impact managers. (Gregory Neal, Kite Impact)
Get in the Game
💼 Step up
- The Carlyle Group is looking for a vice president of ESG and impact in London.
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation seeks a mission driven investments analyst.
- Kapor Capital has an opening for a portfolio services director in Oakland.
🤝 Meet up
- As You Sow will release a list of companies defining the future of clean energy during a webinar, Thursday, Feb. 23.
- The 7th annual Impact Investing Symposium will take place Friday, Feb. 24 at Washington University in St. Louis.
- Overture is hosting a virtual conversation with Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national security advisor with the Obama administration, on climate change, U.S. foreign policy, and national security, Monday, Feb. 27.
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‘Til next Tuesday!