The Brief | February 6, 2019

Narrowing the racial wealth gap, small-business lending in Asia, SocialSuite’s impact dashboard, Call No. 7

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact!

The Call, this Thursday: Optimizing for impact with data-driven management. The Impact Management Project has achieved something rare in impact investing: consensus. “The IMP” has worked with some 2,000 practitioners to forge shared understanding of the multiple dimensions of impact. “The industry is working together to make measuring and reporting impact a ‘pre-competitive’ issue,” says CEO Clara Barby. “It’s something we need to work on together.”

Get up to speed with IMP’s Barby, Wharton Social Impact’s Maoz (Michael) Brown, Y Analytics’ Maryanne Hancock, along with Tideline’s Ben Thornley and Echoing Green’s Liza Mueller on ImpactAlpha’s Agents of Impact Call No. 7. The Call is this Thursday, Feb. 7, at 9 am PT / noon ET / 5 pm GMT. Register for The Call

Featured: ImpactAlpha Original

Prudential commits $100 million to narrow the racial wealth gap in Memphis, New Orleans and Atlanta. Place-based, blended finance through a racial lens. A $100 million commitment from Prudential Financial hits a trifecta of impact investing trends. Prudential’s commitment to Invest4All aims to bridge capital gaps in underserved communities of color in Memphis, New Orleans and Atlanta. The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kresge Foundation are backing the portfolio with $20 million in investment guarantees. “We all understand that the traditional financial markets don’t always work, particularly for communities of color,” said Prudential’s Daryl Shore. “We’re really focusing on how to address the racial wealth gap, and how to deploy the capital we have within these communities to really help entrepreneurs and others achieve financial wellness and economic mobility.”

  • Risk reduction. The partial loss protection is intended to help Prudential “stretch beyond their customary underwriting box and provide capital to transactions that we believe will meaningfully create economic opportunity for people of color,” Kresge’s Kimberlee Cornett told ImpactAlpha. “We want to take prudent, but additional risks, to make investments that have the opportunity to move the needle.”
  • Racial lens investing. Prudential is among an increasing number of impact investors adopting a racial lens. “Race-neutral efforts have failed,” Living Cities’ Brinda Ginguly and Brian Nagendra wrote in ImpactAlpha last year. “Going forward, organizations across sectors must deliberately incorporate a racial lens into their economic security efforts.”

Read, “Prudential commits $100 million to narrow the racial wealth gap in Memphis, New Orleans and Atlanta,” by Carol Clause on ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Socialsuite raises $1.85 million for impact tracking software. The Melbourne-based startup develops software to help investors, companies and other organizations track social and environmental impacts. The company wants organizations to apply “the same rigor to impact measurement as there has been for hundreds of years around commercial and financial reporting,” says Socialsuite’s Brad Gurrie. Salesforce Ventures and AddVenture Fund backed the company amid a surge in impact investing in Australia, which is approaching A$6 billion ($4.3 billion). That’s a 10-fold increase since Socialsuite launched in 2014. Get the facts.

C4D Partners raises $30 million to invest in small businesses in Asia. Dutch fund manager Capital 4 Development Partners reached a first close for its fund to invest in small businesses in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. At least 30% of the C4D Asia Fund portfolio will be women-owned and run businesses. C4D is a spinoff of the Dutch non-governmental organization ICCO Cooperation, which anchored the fund. Other investors include the Dutch Good Growth Fund, FCA Investments and Australia’s Investing in Women. C4D hopes to raise an additional $20 million by the end of the year. Here’s more.

India’s Annapurna Finance raises $19 million to expand lending to rural women. The Indian microfinance institution, based in Bhubaneswar in the state of Odisha, lends primarily in rural areas, where only 16.5% of adults have access to formal financial services. The Asian Development Bank invested 1.4 billion rupees ($19.1 million) in Annapurna Finance to help it expand into affordable housing, a priority for the Indian government. Oman India Joint Investment Fund, and impact investors Oikocredit and Bamboo Finance increased their equity shares in the institution. Read on.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Rachel Reilly, formerly impact investing director at Enterprise Community Partners, joins Economic Innovation Group, according to a tweet from Reilly… The impact investment team at Partners Group is looking for a debt investment manager in New York… Uncharted is hiring a collective impact project manager, an accelerator project manager and other roles in Denver… Philanthropy data organizations Foundation Center and Guidestar merged to form CandidUpaya’s 2019 livelihoods accelerator program is open for applications from early-stage enterprises in India… Check out Enterprise Community Partners’ Untold Returns, a new podcast series hosted by Bethany McLean. Episode one: “The state of impact investing” (and then get your fill with more than 75 episodes of ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment podcast).

February 6, 2019.