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Debating Mark Zuckerberg’s Bold Bet on an Un-Foundation (podcast)

A couple announcing the creation of a new legal structure a week after the birth of their first child usually does not draw global headlines. But the launch of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC, continues to reverberate. In this week’s Returns on Investment Podcast*, I am joined by Imogen Rose-Smith, senior writer at Institutional Investor,

Net Gain: Bureo Collects Fishing Nets, Creates Skateboards, Fights Pollution

Ben Kneppers paused as he strolled around a music festival in Santiago, Chile. In front of him was a booth where local kids could repair damaged skateboards, making them ride-able again rather than throwing them away. Kneppers, an environmental consultant originally from Massachusetts, was impressed by the project. And as an avid boarder himself, he admired

DealFlow Dec. 4-10, 2015: ImpactAlpha’s Roundup of Investments, Raises and Exits

This week: Omidyar’s alternative to bitcoin, ImpactAssets’ new notes and a $15 million boost for a UK social enterprise that provides transit services in disadvantaged areas of London. Omidyar Backs Banks’ Alternative to Bitcoin. Secure digital currency could dramatically lower the costs of financial services for the poor, making eCurrency Mint an impact investment for Omidyar Network, the

New York Pension Fund Tips $3.5 Billion Toward “Low Carbon Future”

It’s time to start tallying up the billions that major institutional investors are betting on the low-carbon economy. New York State’s $183.5 billion Common Retirement Fund will double its $1.5 billion sustainable investment program and commit $2 billion to a new index “that will exclude or reduce investments in companies that are large contributors to

DBL Partners’ Nancy Pfund: Spotting the Next Tesla and Solar City (podcast)

When Nancy Pfund‘s DBL Partners recently closed its $400 million third fund, ImpactAlpha wrote, “Want to spot the next Tesla? Watch DBL Partners.” In her podcast interview with ImpactAlpha, Pfund discusses new investments from Tanzania (Off Grid Electric) to San Francisco (Advanced Microgrid Solutions). Hint: Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, is on the board of

DealFlow Nov. 25-Dec. 4: ImpactAlpha’s Roundup of Investments, Raises and Exits

Celebrity Investors Back Pay-As-You-G0 Solar in Africa. The Kenyan solar energy venture M-Kopa has pulled in $19 million in new financing from celebrity investors. The investment was led by Generation Investment Management, an investment firm founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and his partner David Blood. Sir Richard Branson and the Case Foundation also

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to Finance Both For-Profit and Non-Profit Solutions

A new crop of billionaire activists are signaling that they’re going to use all the tools at their disposal to tackle challenges from climate change to income inequality. Those tools include not only grants and advocacy, but high-impact private investments in companies, funds and high-leverage mechanisms such as loan guarantees and first-loss protections for commercial investors. The