ImpactAlpha Open | January 24, 2023

ImpactAlpha Open: New capital decision-makers + inclusive crowdfunding

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Happy Tuesday, Agents of Impact! Welcome to ImpactAlpha Open, your weekly dose of ImpactAlpha and other impact investing news and trends.

👋 You’re invited to Call No. 48: Investable opportunities in high-impact municipal finance. Fiscal justice, community resilience and mispriced risks are creating opportunities for high-impact investments through municipal bonds. Join Ryan Bowers of Activest, Diane Manuel of Adasina Social Capital, Eric Glass of Justice Capital, and other Agents of Impact for a showcase of tangible impact opportunities for fixed-income investors, Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 10am PT, 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today (thanks to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for making this subscriber-only call open to all).

In this week’s newsletter:

  • ESG-P, for politics;
  • Impact’s new decision-makers;
  • Inclusive crowdfunding; and
  • Returns on engagement.

Ok, let’s get to it. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Davos dud? Confabs such as this week’s World Economic Forum face a growing credibility problem, ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese and David Bank report.
  • Community infrastructure. Optimizing the deployment of more than $1 trillion in federal funding for broadband, decarbonized buildings and a skilled workforce as well as clean energy and electric vehicles was top of the agenda at Milken Institute’s Public Finance Forum, Amy reports.
  • ESG-P, for politics. Some people decry corporate money in politics. Others use it to guide their investments. In a guest post on ImpactAlphaAbigail Wuest of the research group Goods Unite Us argues that tracking the political contribution of companies and their top executives is one of the best indicators of corporate impact – and of financial performance.
  • Heavy-duty EVs. California is pushing to electrify the approximately 30,000 heavy-duty trucks that transport containers and bulk freight between ships and rail facilities at the state’s 40 ports. That’s an opportunity for companies like Oakland-based Forum Mobility, which is building out a network of charging depots for heavy-duty electric trucks, reports ImpactAlpha’s Roodgally Senatus.

Connect with other Agents of Impact

⚡  Go inside impact investingEnjoying ImpactAlpha OpenUpgrade to an annual, all-access ImpactAlpha subscription to mix it up with peers and welcome newcomers across ImpactAlpha’s platforms and channels. Subscribe today and take 25% off.

Agents of Impact

✍️ Demetric Duckett, Living Cities: New decision-makers for the new majority

Building wealth for women and people of color is about numbers as well as equity. By mid-century, there will be a new majority in the U.S.; over half the country will be composed of people of color. The new majority “deserves the very support that we’ve seen in building wealth in this country in the middle of the past two centuries,” Demetric Duckett of Living Cities tells ImpactAlpha’s David Bank on this week’s Impact Briefing podcast. Duckett is seeking to provide some of that support through Living Cities’ third Catalyst Fund, a $100 million fund anchored by a $10 million investment from the Kauffman Foundation.

🏃🏿‍♀️ On the move

  • Kelly McCarthy, former chief impact officer of the Global Impact Investing Network, joins Vistria Group as head of impact.
  • Mark Rogers will become New Forests’ CEO. David Brand is stepping down from the role after 17 years.
  • Narina Mnatsakanian, ex- of Van Lanschot Kempen, joins UBS Asset Management as head of impact investing.

Impact Briefing

🎧 On this week’s podcast

Living Cities’ Demetric Duckett tees up the collaborative’s third Catalyst Fund and lays out why it’s time for a new generation of capital decision-makers. Host Monique Aiken has the headlines.

Deal Spotlight

💸 Nature-based biotech

Forests, oceans and soils play a crucial role in absorbing greenhouse gas emissions – and they could use some help. San Francisco-based Living Carbon has developed photosynthesis-enhanced seedlings that grow into “carbon-guzzling supertrees” that can capture six to nine tons of carbon in a lifetime. That “means more timber, forests and other carbon-storing products sooner and cheaper,” said Chris Sacca of Lowercarbon Capital, which backed the company’s $21 million Series A round this week. Living Carbon, launched last year, has raised $36 million to date. 

Six Signals

📈 Private asset impact funds. Total assets among debt and equity impact funds focused on emerging and frontier markets are estimated to have grown roughly 6% in 2022, following 16.9% growth in 2021, according to Tameo. The Swiss impact investing specialist surveyed funds representing 34% of the $84 billion emerging market private asset impact fund universe. (Tameo)

♿ ESG and disability data. People with disabilities and their families control over $13 trillion in disposable income per year, yet only 4% of businesses are expanding their offerings to include people with disabilities. The Valuable 500, a collective of 500 CEOs and their companies, is calling on its members to increase disability disclosures, including reporting on workforce representation, inclusion goals, training, employee resource groups and digital accessibility. (The Valuable 500)

🙌 Inclusive crowdfunding. Online startup investing continues to be more inclusive than traditional venture capital funding options. Startups with minority founders received 25.4% of dollars invested in regulation crowdfunding equity deals in 2022 (vs. as little as 2% of total VC dollars). (Kingscrowd)

⚡🚗 U.S. investors 4x EV investments. Automakers and battery manufacturers plan to invest up to $210 billion in electric vehicles in the U.S., more than four times what was planned in 2020. (E&E News)

⛏️ Low-carbon energy mineral mining. Mining quantities for low-carbon energy (solar panels, wind energy, geothermal, concentrating solar power, hydropower, nuclear, electric vehicles, battery storage, and changes to electricity grids) are just a fraction of what we mine for fossil fuels. (Sustainability by numbers)

🌱 Returns on engagement. Companies asked by investors to disclose their environmental impacts were twice as likely to do so as those that weren’t asked directly. (The Wall Street Journal)

Get in the Game 

💼 Step up

  • New York Life Insurance Cois looking for a senior associate and impact investing analyst in New York.
  • BlueMark seeks an analyst for impact investing and verification in New York.
  • Founders First Capital Partners seeks a remote underwriting associate.

🤝 Meet up

  • Climate Career Week is hosting a five-day free virtual event this week for tech workers exploring career opportunities in climate.
  • Nonprofit Quarterly presents a webinar on Black “food sovereignty” featuring Demetrius Hunter of Black Farmers Hub, Brielle Wright of Black Farmers Market, and LeeAnn Morrissette of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, Wednesday, Jan. 25.

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