The Brief | December 4, 2018

Six sources of gender alpha, ride-hailing in informal markets, U.K. community-impact fund, biotech in Japan,, Shell’s climate commitment

The team at


Greetings, ImpactAlpha readers!

Featured: ImpactAlpha Original

Six sources of ‘gender alpha’ and other takeaways from Agents of Impact Call No. 5 (audio). There’s not just one advantage from looking at investments through a gender lens. On ImpactAlpha’s Agents of Impact conference call last month, Catalyst at Large Suzanne Biegel ticked off a half-dozen or more. The advantages include the governance and leadership dividend from having a diverse set of people in the boardroom and senior management. The innovation dividend derives from women entrepreneurs and co-founders, as well as women inventors and innovators. The “size-of-the-women’s-market dividend” reflects advantages to companies aware of women’s increasing power in purchasing decisions.

Money is starting to move toward explicit gender-lens strategies. There’s approximately $2.2 billion in private venture-capital and private-equity funds that Biegel tracks through Project Sage, and about $2.4 billion in public investment vehicles, according to Veris Wealth Partners’ latest report. The much bigger category of managed and institutional assets that take gender issues into consideration may be as much as $1.7 trillion, according to the latest report from US SIF. The social impact dividend, said Biegel, fresh from co-producing last month’s Gender-Smart Investing Summit, comes from investing in issues that disproportionately affect women and girls. “People are coming up and saying, ‘This is as relevant in energy, climate change, access to water and new business models, as it is in the more obvious areas of health, education and financial inclusion.”

Read, “Six sources of ‘gender alpha’ and other takeaways from Agents of Impact Call No. 5,” by David Bank on ImpactAlpha. Missed Call No. 5? Click through to listen to the full audio recording.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Egypt’s Halan raises early funding for motorcycle ride-hailing. Halan’s ride-hailing app summons motorcycle taxis and three-wheeled “tuktuks” in Egypt and Sudan. The company launched last year to tap the potential of smart services in informal and overlooked mass-transit markets. Founder Mounir Nakhla says his experience in underserved markets “showed me how much wealth and opportunity there is.” Halan secured an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Singapore-based Battery Road Digital Holdings and Egypt-based Algebra Ventures. Here’s more.

Japan’s Dai-ichi Life backs biotech venture Molcure. Molcure’s machine learning-powered platform seeks to speed development of drugs and treatments for cancers and other diseases. Life insurance company Dai-ichi is investing ¥100 million ($880,000) in the Tokyo-based venture. Molcure is Dai-ichi’s seventh impact investment since October. The ¥36.3 trillion ($319.9 billion) life insurance firm has primarily backed global-health and financial-services startups through its new impact investing initiative. Read on.

Community Impact Partnership will seed small businesses in the U.K. Housing associations are U.K. non-profits that provide affordable and community housing for low-income and underserved people. Four associations – Clarion Housing Group, L&Q, Orbit and Peabody – are creating a three-year loan fund, the Community Impact Partnership, to provide unsecured loans and grants to small and medium-sized businesses that provide cleaning, catering, landscaping and other services in the residential areas. Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital have seeded the fund with £3 million ($3.8 million). Learn more.

Signal: Ahead of the Curve

Shell to link short-term carbon-emission reductions with executive pay. When the world’s biggest investors say jump… Royal Dutch Shell committed to reduce its Net Carbon Footprint – the total emissions associated with its energy products – by 20% by 2035 and around half by 2050. By 2020, the British-Dutch oil and gas company will link executive pay to three- to five-year carbon reduction targets. The announcement follows pressure from Climate Action 100+, a group of more than 300 institutional investors with $32 trillion in assets that is pressuring key greenhouse gas emitters to support the goals of the Paris climate agreement (see, “Pension funds tell companies: ‘No excuses’ for inaction on climate change). Shell acknowledged that its “future success is contingent on its ability to effectively navigate the risks and the opportunities presented by climate change.”

  • The signal: Oil and gas majors will play ball with big pension funds and others that increasingly see climate change as a systemic risk to their portfolios. As climate leaders and laggards increasingly diverge, Shell is keen to be seen at the forefront of the energy transition.
  • European leaders. Europe’s oil companies, including Shell, are better prepared than North American producers in navigating risks, opportunities and climate governance, according to a ranking by Climate Disclosure Project (see, “European oil and gas majors hedge climate risks”).
  • New benchmark. The commitment by Shell is “a critically important benchmark against which the other oil and gas majors will be assessed,” said Ceres’ Mindy Lubber. Climate Action 100+, she says, “will now use this commitment to raise the bar for the oil and gas industry as a whole.”
  • Share this post with a friend or colleague.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Tapan Kataria is a new director at Backstage Detroit… GreenTec Capital is hiring a financial controller in Frankfurt… The Inter-American Development Bank seeks a specialist for its migrations initiative… The Miller Center of Social Entrepreneurship is searching for a director of finance and administration… Check out the Reel Impact Film Festival from One World, Thursday, Dec. 6 in San Francisco.

December 4, 2018.