ImpactAlpha Open: VC’s diversity dividend

ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact!

🗣️ Happy Tuesday. Welcome to the hundreds of you who have signed up for ImpactAlpha Open.

🤝 Let’s connect! The ImpactAlpha team will be back at in-person events this fall. Let us know where you’ll be in this quick survey.

In this week’s Open:

  • A democratic approach to fundraising for new impact fund managers;
  • How The Inflation Reduction Act is changing the climate narrative;
  • Pro Mujer’s Carmen Correa lifts up low-income women in Latin America; and
  • VC’s diversity dividend.

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Ok, let’s get to it. – Dennis Price


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Must-reads on ImpactAlpha

  • Community rounds. A new, more democratic approach to fundraising is putting wind in the sails of new impact fund managers, writes Havell Rodrigues of New Majority Capital. (Open)
    • Just in: Arlan Hamilton’s Backstage Capital scores a commitment from Bank of America. Backstage last year raised the maximum $5 million on Republic as retail investors jumped to help her invest in “under-estimated” entrepreneurs.
  • Great expectations. The Inflation Reduction Act is resetting the narrative around climate action and lifting the prospects of heat-pump makers, solar developers and energy-retrofit installers, ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese and I report.
  • Missing middle. In Uganda and Kenya, Balloon Ventures is bundling checks with technical assistance to bank mid-sized businesses that are financially served by just about no one, ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering shares
  • Slow and steady. High-risk and high-return impact opportunities need to be complemented with steady and replicable fixed-income investments that can channel more capital to basic human needs, writes Carrie Endries of Reynders, McVeigh Capital Management. (Open)
  • Climate action. Ceres’ Kristen Spalding shares more than 20 case studies of institutional investors using “climate action plans” to begin to align their portfolios with net-zero goals via investments, engagement, policy and disclosure. (Open)

Agents of Impact

♀ Pro Mujer’s Carmen Correa is standing by low-income women to lift Latin America

Billions of dollars of venture capital are flooding into Latin America. Yet a financing gap remains at the base of the economic pyramid. “We are still one of the few organizations working with low-income women in the region,” says Pro Mujer’s Carmen Correa, who took the helm as CEO of the 30-year-old nonprofit investor this year.

🏃 On the move

  • Waverley Street Foundation named Jared Blumenfeld as its first president. Blumenfeld was California’s Environmental Protection Secretary under Gavin Newsom. The $3 billion climate organization “will place community voices at the center of our work,” said Blumenfeld.
  • Mekaelia Davis, ex- of Surdna Foundation, will join Ballmer Group as director of Black Family Economic Mobility. Davis will lead a nationwide strategy at the impact LLC created by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie to create opportunities for Black families to increase household income, assets and wealth.
  • Generate Capital promoted Peggy Flannery and Pietro Lomazzi to managing director of investments. Alex Raksin, ex- of Oaktree Capital, also joined Generate as a managing director of investments. ICYMI: Talent is following the capital to climate ventures.
  • Balderton Capital hired former Deloitte ESG manager Elodie Broad as its first head of impact and sustainable future goals.

Sustainable Living

Sustainable late-summer swaps

Close out the summer in style… and feel good about it. Climate & Capital has rounded up a list of sustainable alternatives to summer staples that will help lower your environmental impact. Our favorites:

  • Stream2Sea sunscreen. The Protect Land + Sea-certified skin protection is the “first and only” mineral sunscreen proven safe for freshwater and saltwater fish and even coral larvae. Lather up.
  • Spirare surfboards. Artist and surfer Kevin Cunningham has more than a dozen board styles made from recycled wood, ocean plastic waste and other alternative materials. Get stoked.
  • OluKai sandals. Hawaiian brand Olukai uses recycled rubber and eco-leather to craft a range of water-safe footwear for men and women. A donation to Ama OluKai Foundation is made with each purchase to support Native projects. Slip ’em on.
  • Leaf Shave razors. The no-plastic razors last a lifetime with replaceable, recyclable blades. Fall in love.
  • Sustainable sunglasses. Options are proliferating, including bamboo-made shades from Swell VisionMita sunglasses made from recycled aluminum and water bottles; and Pala, which uses biodegradable acetate and recycled plastic.
  • Get the full list at Climate & Capital.

Deal Spotlight

🍌 Deal sizes rise for food-waste ventures

Companies and governments are recognizing the cost savings of curbing food waste. That’s creating an opportunity for investors. Average private investment deal size has grown from less than $5 million in the early 2010s to roughly $17 million in 2021, according to the food waste nonprofit ReFED. The food waste space has “benefited greatly from climate funders making the connection between food waste reduction and climate change mitigation,” ReFED’s Alejandro Enamorado wrote in ImpactAlpha. (Open)

  • Follow the money. Last week, San Francisco-based Afresh raked in $115 million to help grocers reduce food waste by managing fresh food inventory and sales. In June, Bogota-based RobinFood raised $32 million to expand food access and cut waste. And Finland’s Relex Solutions in February hauled in $568 million to help grocers meet consumer demand more efficiently. 
  • Share this post. And take a spin through all of our food waste coverage.

Six Signals

😷 Two years on, foundations stand by decisions to issue bonds in pandemic. (AP News)

👩🏽‍🦱🧑🏼‍🦱👨🏾‍🦲👩🏻‍🦰 We know that diverse teams make better decisions. A new study shows they also make better investments. (Harvard Business Review)

🌍 How Indigenous peoples are reshaping modern economies. (World Economic Forum)

🏳️‍🌈 Social tipping points: Societal change happens very slowly, and then all at once, according to evidence from a new study. (Science)

🗞️ “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate,” reads the headline of an article on page 7 of The Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette, on August 14, 1912. (Joe Sanberg)

☀️ Solar panels can now be printed like newspapers. (Pascal Bornet)


Get in the Game 

💼 Step up

  • RMI’s Climate Intelligence Program is hiring a carbon markets manager in Boulder, Colo.
  • New Story is looking for an impact investment senior manager in Mexico City.
  • The Estée Lauder Companies is recruiting a manager of sustainability and climate action in New York.

🤝 Meet up

  • Gender and investingCriterion Institute and the 2X Collaborative are hosting a webinar on ways investors can address gender-based violence, with Teresa Wells of Tiedemann Advisors, Jessica Espinoza of 2X Collaborative and Joy Anderson of Criterion Institute, Tuesday, Aug. 30.
  • In New York? Drop into “Transformative change in health equity through debt financing,” a hybrid event hosted by The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Tuesday, Sept. 13. Guests include Dave Chokshi of New York Health Foundation and Nathaniel Counts of Mental Health America.
  • The following day, Wednesday, Sept. 14, head over to “Capital for justice: impact through litigation,” an in-person event hosted by Capricorn Investment Group. Speakers include Rob Ryan of Aristata, James Goldston of Open Society Justice Initiative and Georgia Levenson Keohane of Columbia Business School.  

🎬 Take action 

  • Get smarter! Climate tech investor and advisor Jamil Wyne and Coleap are launching an online bootcamp for 20 early-stage climate tech startups. Use the code IMPACTALPHA10 for a discount.
  • The LHoFT is looking for fintech founders for its CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa Program.
  • Ghana Tech Lab and Villgro Africa are accepting applications through Friday, Aug. 19 for their female-led health tech startups program in Ghana. Five startups will receive $50,000.

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‘Til next Tuesday!