ImpactAlpha Open | October 4, 2022

ImpactAlpha Open: ‘The LiiST’ of impact funds raising capital (October)

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Welcome to this week’s ImpactAlpha Open. We’ve got a new Liist of seven impact funds raising capital now. And in-person impact-investing events are back this fall. Check out our “Get in the game” section for great deals and discounts for ImpactAlpha partner events.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • Investing with a refugee lens;
  • Kickstarter’s new CEO;
  • ‘The LiiST’ of impact funds raising capital; and
  • Revitalizing neighborhoods, without gentrification.

Know someone that should be reading Open? Forward this email and suggest they sign up for free at Ok, let’s get to it. – Dennis Price

Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Investing with a refugee lens. Displaced people remake refugee camps in East Africa into testbeds for entrepreneurship and investing, I reported for ImpactAlpha.
  • Actionable impact data. To understand the impact of electrifying schools in rural Colombia, ALIVE Ventures asked the experts: parents and teachers, ALIVE’s Alan Pierce explains in a guest post. (Open)
  • Women-led funds. First-time female fund managers in South Africa are banding together to overcome misperceptions of risks – and to raise capital for enterprises by and for women, ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering reports from Cape Town.
  • Deploy, deploy, deploy. Climate was the talk of the town during New York’s Climate Week last month, but the real action may have been in Pittsburgh, Pa., 370 miles away, CleanEdge’s Clint Wilder reports for ImpactAlpha. (Open)
  • Climate-resilient + sustainable real assets. Alder Point’s Chris Larson, a longtime impact investor at New Island Capital, tells ImpactAlpha’s David Bank that his new firm’s sustainable real assets fund will emphasize “income yield, decarbonization, and, of increasing importance, climate resilience.” 

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Agents of Impact

🌍 Olu Oyinsan, Oui Capital: Investing in Africa’s mass market

lu Oyinsan launched Oui Capital in Lagos to invest in early-stage companies creating wealth for low- and middle-income communities. “If you’re not building for the mass market,” he told ImpactAlpha, “you’re probably not going to be around very long or grow very much.”

🏃🏿‍♀️ On the move

  • Heather Zichal, who led the clean energy advocacy group American Clean Power Association for two years, joins JPMorgan as global head of sustainability. “It is an incredible opportunity overseeing trillions of dollars in sustainable investments,” writes Zichal. 
  • Everette Taylor, the former chief market officer for online fine art marketplace Artsy, is named CEO of Kickstarter. “To be at a platform that literally helps peoples’ dreams come true, I feel like I’m doing my life’s work,” says Taylor.
  • Leroy Barber, co-founder of Voices Project, joins Neighborhood Economics as an executive director. At Neighborhood Economics, “We get to highlight the incredible entrepreneurs who are at work in San Antonio, El Paso, D.C., New York, all across the country,” said Barber. Says co-founder Kevin Jones: “He takes our community engagement to a whole new level.”

Impact Briefing (podcast)

🎧 On this week’s podcast

I joined host Brian Walsh to talk about opportunities in “refugee lens investing.” Brian shared takeaways from this week’s Agents of Impact Call, “Creative capital for gender-smart investing.”

The LiiST: October

💸 Seven impact funds that are raising capital now (October edition)

On Last week’s Agents of Impact Call, we heard from first-time, women managers of small impact funds in emerging markets. The takeaway: Write the check. “We are overtrained and over-mentored and underfunded,” Africa Trust Group’s Lelemba Phiri said on The Call. “We need the conversation to move from, ‘We believe in this and we think it’s something that can make a difference,’ to really putting your money where your mouth is.”

From Cape Town, Phiri partners with other first-time, women managers to source deals and establish track records. Investment policies that exclude first-time managers exclude deep talent that may find value where other investors don’t know to look.

This month’s edition of The LiiST with Realize Impact features mostly emerging markets impact funds, including two first-time, women-led funds.

  • Mirova Sunfunder’s Gigaton Empowerment Fund;
  • Alder Point Capital;
  • Five35 Ventures;
  • Africa Eats;
  • Africa Trust Group’s Enygma Ventures Fund;
  • Echo River Capital’s Fund I; and
  • Realize Impact and Sprout Enterprise’s R.I.S.E. artisan fund.

Go deeper (Open).

Deal Spotlight

🌊 Barbados debt-for-nature swap unlocks $50 million for marine conservation and ‘blue economy’

Island nations, among the most vulnerable to climate-drive driven extreme weather and rising sea levels, also have some of the highest debt-to-GDP loads, in part due to storm-related damages. Barbados is the latest nation to restructure its high-priced debt to free up funds for conservation.

  • How it works. The Caribbean island will buy back a portion of its higher-priced sovereign debt with $150 million in lower-interest loans arranged by Credit Suisse and CIBC FirstCaribbean. Loan guarantees came from The Nature Conservancy and the Inter-American Development Bank. The $50 million savings will go into a Conservation Trust Fund that will make grants to protect coral reefs, manage stormwater runoff and pursue other conservation efforts over 15 years.
  • Share this post.

Six Signals

🏢 Inclusive development. Parity’s Bree Jones: How to revitalize a neighborhood – without gentrification. (TED2022)

🚷 Sim NIMBY. The city-building game that won’t let you build. (Bloomberg)

💨 Return on renewables. Colorado Mason University’s geothermal energy system heats and cools 70% of the buildings on campus – and is saving students 2% on tuition. (KJCT News 8)

✈️ Clean planes. Eviation’s all-electric Alice aircraft makes its maiden flight. (Techcrunch)

🐄 Animal rights. Switzerland could be the first country to ban factory farming. (Time)

⚡ Smart cities. Manhattan’s EV-charging sites now outnumber gas stations 10 to 1. (Bloomberg)

Get in the Game

💼 Step up

  • Bamboo Capital Partners is hiring a fund financial manager in Luxembourg.
  • Rockefeller Foundation is recruiting a manager of innovative finance in New York.
  • Griffith Foods is looking for a managing director of alternative proteins.

🤝 Meet up

Fall conference season is underway. Register now for these upcoming ImpactAlpha partner events:

  • GIIN Investor Forum 2022 takes place Oct.12-13 in The Hague with Kristin Aamodt of ArcTern Ventures, Anurag Agrawal of Aavishkaar Group and others. Register here to get 10% off.
  • The Regenerative Food Systems Investment Forum is set for Oct. 12-13 in Denver with Jason Aramburu of Climate Robotics, Donna Holmes of Iroquois Valley Farms and other guests. Get 15% off with code IMPACT.
  • SOCAP22 is back in person, Oct. 17-20 in San Francisco with Willy Foote of Root Capital, Cecilia Foxworthy of Agora Partnerships, and other guests. EXCLUSIVE: Save $250 and get three months of ImpactAlpha for free with code s22_ImpactAlpha.
  • Mission Investors Exchange national conference convenes in person Dec. 5-7 in Baltimore, featuring Lisa Hamilton of Annie E. Casey Foundation, Darren Walker of Ford Foundation and others. MIE members can register here.

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