Impact Tech | April 27, 2023

On the minds of impact CEOs: Opportunity, scale and succession

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, Apr. 27 – “Deliver impact, drive sales” was the mantra of executives of high-performing impact companies at Big Path Capital’s MO Summit in Austin this week.

The gathering celebrated Big Path’s MO100 Impact Rankings. “We are in the early stages of the largest, fastest transformation in human behavior that we’ve ever seen,” Aspiration’s Andrei Cherny told Texas Tribune’s Sonal Shah in a keynote interview.

Cherny, who recently announced a congressional run in Arizona, added, “That is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs who can help drive that change and to make a positive impact, and by doing so, can create enormous enterprise value.”

Force for good

Big Path ranks companies based on their “Force for Good’ score, the product of a company’s annual revenues, revenue growth rate and B Impact assessment (see, “At these companies, CEOs focus on stakeholders to drive growth”).

Topping the chart: Steve McDougal of 3Degrees, Scott Jacobs of Generate Capital and Russell Diez-Canseco of Vital Farms. Others on the list include Amy King of Pallet, Joseph Kenner of Greyston Bakery and Stuart Landesberg of Grove Collaborative.

Leadership change

Succession isn’t just for Waystar Royco, the stand-in for News Corp. in the HBO series. At the off-grid solar company d.light, an early impact darling, cofounder Ned Tozun six months ago passed the CEO torch to Nick Imudia, a Nigerian entrepreneur with experience scaling up businesses in Africa.

Imudia’s “done an amazing job,” says Tozun, who emphasized the importance of bringing in a successor with “values alignment.”

Purpose trusts

Mike Bloomberg this week sent a signal boost to another form of succession planning when the Financial Times reported the billionaire is considering moving Bloomberg LP into a trust to finance Bloomberg Philanthropies in perpetuity.

Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard chose a perpetual purpose trust last year as part of his own succession plan, an option some exiting founders are adopting to enshrine values and reward employees, said Zoe Schlag of Common Trust (see, “Through ‘ownership trusts,’ investors can help employees become owners and owners retire”).

Risk diversification

The success of high-impact companies is attracting more investors to “impact alpha,” the financial edge that comes from investing in social innovation, said Elise Liberto of Brown Advisory.

Willis Davis of Burbank Group said product diversification is driving capital into the space. “We don’t think about it from a returns perspective, but more from a risk perspective,” Davis said, “and managing a portfolio of assets for someone that’s interested in having an impact lens across all aspects of their portfolio.”