ImpactAlpha Open | September 27, 2022

ImpactAlpha Open: Making markets for women – and the world

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Hi there, Agents of Impact – welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open.

I’d like to share a special invitation to tomorrow’s subscriber-only Agents of Impact call, “Creative capital for gender-smart investments.” ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering and David Bank will host Leila Charfi of Actawa Ventures in Tunis, Anna Raptis of Amplifica Capital in Mexico City, Lelemba Phiri of Africa Trust Group in Cape Town, Nicole Garcia of USAID Invest, and Suzanne Biegel of GenderSmart, Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 9am PT / 12pm ET / 6pm Cape Town.

✅ Catch up quickly. “How women-led funds in South Africa are unlocking capital for women and small businesses,” by Jessica Pothering.

👉 Become an ImpactAlpha subscriber today (with 25% off!) and we’ll send you the call-in details. Learn more.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • An eco-friendly way to (not) mine gold;
  • Building a gender-smart portfolio; 
  • ‘Impact alpha’ with diverse fund managers; and
  • Al Gore’s investment firm charts the ‘sustainability revolution’

Let’s jump in. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Leave it in the ground. What’s the most eco-friendly way to mine gold? Not to mine it. A blockchain-based finance company headquartered in Singapore is buying up mining claims in Canada for the express purpose of not digging for gold, David Bank reports.
  • Bamboo wipes. A startup in the Netherlands is teaming up with a fund manager in Ghana to demonstrate the green, resilient, local economic impact of… toilet paper, reports Jessica Pothering.
  • Green bank. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund has $27 billion for state green banks and other community-based lenders. Eric Hangen and Michael Swack of the Center for Impact Finance at University of New Hampshire offer five principles to ensure that green banks reach low- and moderate-income people. (Open)
  • Reversing the curse. Investors and fund managers have a role to play in breaking the cycle of low (return) expectations of emerging-market impact funds, argue the IFC’s Clemens Feil and Neil Gregory of Johns Hopkins University. (Open)
  • Portfolio-first stewardship. Faced with systemic threats like antimicrobial resistance and climate change, institutional investors may be better off tanking a few of their holdings to boost returns and reduce risks across the rest of their portfolios, reports ImpactAlpha’s Dan Keeler.

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Agents of Impact

♀ Suzanne Biegel, GenderSmart: Making markets work for women and the world

“Be a first mover,” says GenderSmart’s Suzanne Biegel, who encourages investors to back first-time female fund managers so they can go on to raise second and third funds. “Help them in every way that you can to succeed.” Biegel is an Agent of Impact for her work and advocacy in growing the field of gender-lens investing. 

🏃‍♀️ On the move

  • Lisa Woll, who has served as CEO of US SIF for nearly 17 years, will step down from the post after Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. “As Serena Williams said at the start of this year’s US Open, ‘I am not retiring, but evolving,’” said Woll.
  • HSBC has added senior talent at its new Sustainability Center of Excellence, including Justin Wu, ex- of BloombergNEF, as co-head of climate change for the Asia-Pacific region; Milo Sjardin, also ex- of BloombergNEF, as managing director and head of climate analytics; and Susannah Fitzherbert-Brockholes, ex- of PwC, as director of sustainable finance.
  • Haydee Moreno, chief operating officer at JUST, the Austin-based financial services organization for women, is named co-founder and joins the board of directors.

Impact Briefing (podcast)

🎧 On this week’s podcast

Host Monique Aiken is joined by ImpactAlpha’s David Bank, who was in New York last week taking the pulse of investors and other stakeholders at Climate Week. Plus, the headlines

Deal Spotlight

👩🏽‍🦱🧑🏼‍🦱👨🏾‍🦲👩🏻‍🦰 Investors rally around inclusive fund managers

First-time impact fund managers tend to outperform more experienced peers. VC Include last week selected a dozen impact-oriented venture capital and private equity funds led by general partners with diverse backgrounds for its two-month education and mentoring fellowship program. 

Separately, Alphabet, through its growth fund CapitalG, allocated the final $40 million of its $100 million commitment in 2020 to seven Black venture fund managers investing in Black entrepreneurs. Among the recipients are Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures, Black Tech Nation Ventures and Nasir Qadree’s Zeal Capital Partners. 

  • Overcoming hurdles. Emerging and diverse managers are getting creative to overcome historic barriers to fundraising. RareBreed Ventures, Rogue Women’s Fund and VitalizeVC joined forces to raise $10 million for their funds through a shared special purpose vehicle. Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, an Indigenous-led and owned venture capital firm, secured $46 million in a first close of its second fund to invest in Indigenous-led enterprises.
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Six Signals

📈 Charting the transition. In its annual trends report, the investment firm co-founded by Al Gore charts the capital allocations and commitments, falling cost curves and technological innovation, and customer demand and social awareness driving the ‘sustainability revolution.’ (Generation Investment Management)

🧑🤝‍👩 Steward-ownership. Patagonia’s “exit to the planet” was a win for the climate. It is significant as well for the movement of entrepreneurs, companies and investors working to create self-determined and purpose-oriented governance structures. (Purpose Foundation)

🥽 Responsible tech. Six elements for a healthy technology system. (Omidyar Network)

⚡ Clean power(house). Midway through 2022, Texas had almost as much wind, solar, and energy storage under construction (12,204 MW) than the next five states combined and over three times as much as the next closest state of California (3,757 MW). (Joshua Rhodes and American Clean Power)

👑 Climate and the CrownKing Charles’ real estate empire is a powerful climate tool. (Quartz)

🌱 Changing curriculum. New Jersey public school students will be the first in the country required to learn about climate change this school year – and be introduced to careers in climate solutions. (ABC News)

Get in the Game

💼 Step up

  • Social Finance seeks a vice president of impact investments in Boston.
  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator is hiring a government and university relations manager in Los Angeles and several other roles.
  • DBL Partners seeks an associate in San Francisco.

🤝 Meet up

Don’t miss these ImpactAlpha partner events: 

  • Phenix Capital is hosting “Impact Summit America” featuring actor Matt Damon and Gary White of Water Equity, Marieke Spence of Impact Capital Managers and Thomas Belazis of Rockefeller Foundation, ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese and other guests, tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 28 in New York. Asset owners and institutional investors can apply for a complimentary ticket.
  • GIIN Investor Forum 2022 takes place Oct.12-13 in The Hague with Eli Angen of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Shade Duffy of AXA Investment Managers and others. Register here to get 10% off.
  • The Regenerative Food Systems Investment Forum is set for Oct. 12-13 in Denver with Asha Agrawal of Patagonia’s Tin Shed Ventures, Elizabeth Candelario of Mad Agriculture and other guests. Get 15% off with code IMPACT.
  • SOCAP22 is back in person, Oct. 17-20 in San Francisco with Jennifer Astone of Integrated Capital Investing, Noramay Cadena of Supply Change Capital, and other guests. Save $250 with code s22_ImpactAlpha.

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