The Brief | September 12, 2022

The Brief: Climate finance tracker, investing in oceans, gender-smart in Africa, coding classes in Vietnam, the climate king?

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact! 

Featured: Catalytic Capital

The Climate Finance Tracker’s data-driven map for catalytic climate investors (Q&A). Where is capital most impactful in combating climate change? What kind of capital is needed where? And who is already funding what? Eric Berlow, a “social impact data scientist,” had been working with foundations that were developing climate funding strategies. When he couldn’t find the answers to those questions, he set out to discover them for himself – with data. The result is the Climate Finance Tracker, an interactive data-driven map of climate finance flows developed by Berlow’s Vibrant Data Labs that will launch on ImpactAlpha this week. Berlow drew on natural language processing and machine learning to visualize the relationships of more than 12,000 U.S.-based funders and climate companies. The goal is to make it easier for philanthropic, private and public funders to see who is funding what, and the gaps that remain. And then to steer the kinds of financing – from grants to catalytic capital to VC to project finance – needed to take solutions to scale. 

The data-driven takeaways: The Climate Finance Tracker shows how commercial investors, including venture capitalists, have embraced clean energy, electric vehicles and other mature sectors, especially for wealthier demographic groups and developed markets. But solutions for low- and moderate-income communities, emerging and frontier markets, and climate adaptation more broadly remain capital-short. “There’s a big gap in private investments, especially venture, in areas that are more focused on climate equity – things around food security, water security and poverty alleviation,” Berlow tells ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese. Vibrant Data and ImpactAlpha are working with RTI International to extend the map’s data sets to Africa, Asia and Latin America. “There’s going to be trillions of dollars in investments in climate over the next decade,” Berlow says. “If we can bring evidence and data to bear on those decisions to be more strategically impactful, that’s our goal.”

  • Keep reading, “The Climate Finance Tracker’s data-driven map for catalytic climate investors (Q&A),” by Amy Cortese on ImpactAlpha.
  • Join the conversation. Berlow will preview the Climate Finance Tracker on Wednesday’s Agents of Impact Call, “Mapping opportunities for catalytic climate capital.” ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese and David Bank will explore effective strategies for bridging climate capital gaps in emerging markets, low-income communities, climate adaptation and climate justice with BlocPower’s Donnel Baird, Duke University’s Jonathan Phillips, Shell Foundation’s Ashish Kumar and other Agents of Impact, Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today.
  • Also this week. ImpactAlpha and ReFED host, “The power of catalytic capital to reduce food waste,” with Prime Coalition’s Sarah Kearney, Spring Point Partners’ Margot Kane and ReFED’s Angel Veza in conversation with ImpactAlpha’s Dennis Price, Thursday, Sept. 15, at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today.

Dealflow: Blue Economy

Ocean 14 Capital raises €100 million to advance the blue economy. Investing in sustainable and regenerative oceans is a multi-trillion-dollar global opportunity that could create 40 million jobs by 2030, according to the OECD. London-based fund manager Ocean 14 launched an ocean impact fund in December and is looking to raise €150 million ($152.3 million). Ocean 14 has secured $102 million. Investors include investment management arm of Denmark’s Augustinus Foundation, Lukas Walton’s Builders Initiative, Australia’s Minderoo Foundation, British businessman Alex Beard, and Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom. The European Investment Fund, last year committed €35 million, backed by a first-loss guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The Constitutional Reserve Fund of Monaco is the latest investor to join the fund, with €10 million.

  • Ocean health. The ocean fund will target growth-stage tech investments in sustainable fish and aquaculture, alternative proteins, and ocean health and conservation. “We have zero chance to save the planet if we don’t have a healthy and functioning ocean,” said Ocean 14’s Chris Gorell Barnes. Two-thirds of the fund will go to investments in Europe. The fund has backed three companies, including Singapore’s SyAqua, a shrimp breeding tech startup, and Norwegian plastic management venture AION.
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Jaango Capital secures €34 million for its African gender-lens fund. Jaango’s Fatoumata Ba launched the venture fund at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020 to help bridge the funding gap for Africa’s women entrepreneurs. The Abidjan and Paris-based fund is looking to raise €60 million ($60.6 million) for startups working to overcome market failures and create jobs for women and youth in healthcare, logistics, financial services, retail, food and agriculture, mobility and the creative economy in Africa. Half of the fund will go toward women-founded tech startups, as well as businesses benefitting women. Janngo will write checks of up to €5 million, and each investment will be mapped against the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Gender alpha. Investors in the fund include the European Investment Bank, African Development Bank, Proparco, Burda Principal Investments and German family-owned media conglomerate Muller Medien. Janngo’s first venture capital fund has backed 11 tech startups, including Nigeria’s informal trade platform Sabi and Jexport, a global logistics tech venture that specializes in African imports and exports. More than half of the portfolio is women-led, Ba said, and more than half are focused on francophone West Africa.
  • Check it out.

Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:

  • Battle Motors raked in $150 million in Series B funding to electrify dump trucks, garbage trucks and other heavy work vehicles.
  • Nigeria’s blockchain-based fintech startup Bitmama scored $2 million to handle digital payments for Africa’s underbanked.
  • Edupia snagged $14 million to provide online classes and tutoring in English, math and coding to students in Vietnam’s small cities and rural areas.
  • U.K.-based Code First Girls secured €5.2 million ($5.3 million) to provide tech jobs and upskilling opportunities to women at no cost. 

Impact Voices: Climate Queen

God save the King – and the planet. “It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do,” the late Queen Elizabeth II was captured saying in a rare moment of candor about last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Peter McKillop of Climate & Capital traces the queen’s quiet climate journey and the opportunity now for her son and successor, King Charles III. The new king has long championed issues of the environment, sustainability, organic farming and biodiversity. “Those wacky beliefs have aged into wisdom,” McKillop writes. As king, he is poised to “challenge the oligarchs, quarterly-earnings-obsessed CEOs, tyrants and, yes, other monarchs who seem determined to prolong the life of the fossil fuel era.” The queen’s late husband, Prince Philip, was the patron of the World Wildlife Fund, and the next generation of royals seem to be on board. Heir to the throne Prince William has launched the prestigious Earthshot Prize for environmental solutions (see, “Agents of Impact: Young climate leaders”). Prince Harry this week flew commercial to return home from California, McKillop notes. “To see her much mocked and often humiliated men of Windsor come together would fulfill a wish of their dear mama and grandmother,” he says. “And if successful, it would ensure that her efforts to maintain the relevance of the British monarchy endure for generations to come.”

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Claudine Emeott, who leads the Salesforce Ventures Impact Fund, and Bain Capital Double Impact’s Todd Cook, will join Impact Capital Managers’ board of directors… Ben Cooper, ex- of Tideline, joins The Bridgespan Group as manager of impact investing. Bridgespan is also looking for a remote editor… Tides seeks a remote corporate social impact advisor… Living Cities is recruiting an assistant director for equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems in Washington, D.C… Also in the Washington area, The Nature Conservancy seeks a corporate engagement advisor for biodiversity… Virginia Community Capital is hiring a small business lender and a commercial loan closer.

Vera Institute of Justice is hiring an associate in Brooklyn… Social justice firm North Star Fund is hiring a storytelling associate in New York… The city of Detroit seeks an assistant director of sustainability… Bain Capital is looking for an ESG and sustainability manager… North Sky Capital is hiring an investment analyst in Minneapolis… Inclusive Prosperity Capital seeks a human resources manager… World Resources Institute is looking for a research manager for its electric school bus initiative with the Bezos Earth Fund.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $400 million to provide funding to create at least six regional food centers… DivInc’s Women in Tech Accelerator is accepting applications for its spring cohort… Climate Group will host, “Powering jobs census 2022: The energy access workforce,” Monday, Sept. 19… Registration is open for Impact State of Mind 2022, a three-day event on climate action and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, Sept. 21-23 in New York… The Regenerative Food Systems Investment Forum takes place Oct. 12-13 in Denver. ImpactAlpha subscribers get 15% off with code IMPACT.

Thank you for your impact!

– Sept. 12, 2022