The Brief | May 23, 2022

The Brief: Davos watch, healthy childbirth in the U.S., impact tech in Latin America, consumer solar in Germany, optimizing EV charging

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Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Featured: Davos Returns

At elite World Economic Forum, Davos Man and Davos Woman will talk sustainability, inclusion and action. It’s back. As the world’s corporate and government movers and shakers gather at Davos after a two-year pandemic pause, the World Economic Forum – and its “Davos Man” archetype – are evolving to meet the moment. “The return of war, epidemics and the climate crisis, all those disruptive forces, have derailed the global recovery,” the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab told reporters ahead of the gathering. “Those issues must be confronted in Davos.” A pair of academics analyzed eight years of WEF press releases to chart the group’s shift from a focus on growth to sustainability and inclusion. Davos Man has been joined by Davos Woman. And the talk, at least, is about moving from talk to action. “Undoubtedly, the new Davos Man will continue to preach equality in its 2022 meeting, even as his conference remains one of the most exclusive events of the year,” conclude the researchers, EMLV’s Shawn Pope and Stanford’s Patricia Bromley. This year’s Davos gathering has been called the most consequential in its 50-year history. 

  • Disruption. ImpactAlpha’s analysis of the WEF’s program, “History at a Turning Point,” found that the word “Ukraine” appears 47 times. There are 77 mentions of “climate,” and 55 references to “crisis” or “crises.” Russia’s oligarchs and envoys were asked to stay home. Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko is leading Ukraine’s delegation; President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the summit by video on Monday.
  • Climate smart. Extreme weather is already disrupting crops and food security. A new carbon removal off-take initiative launched by Switzerland-based SouthPole will include global corporations like LGT, Mitsui O.S.K. Line and Swiss Re. This year’s Davos gathering is “a chance for us to reset the way we’re thinking, particularly from a corporate perspective, about the impact of climate related issues,” SouthPole’s Philip Moss tells ImpactAlpha. The group aims to remove up to one million tons of carbon this decade at an average cost of $400 per ton. Read the full story.
  • Farmer finance. “Driving capital to farmers and ranchers to help them adopt climate smart practices can get us closer to net zero,” Ranchers in Action’s Erin Fitzgerald writes in a guest post for ImpactAlpha as she heads to Davos. She calls for incentives similar to renewable energy credits to spur investment in crop irrigation techniques, rotational grazing, fenceless sensors, and digital and drone monitoring. “A harmonized roadmap and investments in transformative agriculture,” she says, “can translate into measurable results.”
  • Tech innovators. The WEF’s list of 100 early and growth-stage tech pioneers includes a half-dozen startups from Africa, such as Kenya-based Access Afya, and Latin America, including microTERRA in Mexico. There are three ventures from the Middle East and North Africa, including Tunisia’s HawKar. Seven nature and climate startups include Proeon in India. Okra Solar in Australia is among seven energy, materials and infrastructure companies. Health and healthcare firms include Vietnam-based Docosan.
  • What we’re watching. Emmanuel Faber, chair of the new International Sustainability Standards Board, will discuss the changing landscape of ESG reporting… U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, Kenyan activist Elizabeth Wathuti, China climate envoy Xie Zhenhua, and Saleforce’s Marc Benioff will take up climate resilience… The Rockefeller Foundation’s Rajiv Shah, the World Farmers’ Organization’s Theo De Jager, and Unliver’s Hanneke Faber will chew over the emerging food crisis… BlocPower’s Donnel Baird, Gavi’s Seth Berkley, and Everstream Analytics’s Julie Gerdeman will highlight innovations that may outlast the crises… “Is globalism dead?” the FT’s Rana Foroohar wants to know from The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman. How to follow.
  • Keep reading, “At elite World Economic Forum, Davos Man and Davos Woman will talk sustainability, inclusion and action,” by Amy Cortese on ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: Investing in Health

Black-led Cayaba Care raises $12 million to reduce maternal morbidity. Maternal morbidity refers to short or long-term health issues during and after pregnancy, labor and delivery. In the U.S., more than 60,000 women are affected by severe issues. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. Philadelphia-based Cayaba launched in 2020 to provide maternity care, mental health counseling, breastfeeding support and patient education for low-income mothers and mothers of color. “As a former emergency room doctor, a healthcare insurance executive, and most importantly, as a father, I have seen the vast gaps in the system for maternity healthcare, particularly affecting communities of color,” said Cayaba’s Olan Soremenkun. The company offers home-based care through local nonprofits, church groups and other community organizations.

  • Women’s health. Cayaba has served more than 1,000 mothers and opened an in-person clinic in less than a year, said Ulili Onovakpuri of Kapor Capital. Cayaba says its patients have seen a 35% reduction in emergency room visits as a result of its services. Kapor led the Series A round with Seae Ventures, an early-stage venture fund for women, Black, Indigenous and health tech founders of color. Other investors include Wellington Partners, Citi Impact Fund, Rhia Ventures and SteelSky Ventures, a Black woman-led venture health fund.
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LGT’s Lightrock secures $300 million for impact tech in Latin America. The new fund of the London-based private equity investor is anchored by LGT Group, the investment arm of Liechtenstein’s royal family, with allocations from Bradesco, XP Inc., BNDES and several local family offices. The firm is looking to increase its investments in Latin America to more than $1 billion over two years, said Lightrock’s Marcos Wilson Pereira. “We will continue to back innovative and ready-to-scale businesses that contribute positively to society and the environment.”

  • Latin America portfolio. Lightrock has deployed more than $400 million in Latin America since 2017. Among its 11 Latin America portfolio companies are Colombian enterprise tech startup Tul, Mexican small business fintech venture Konfio, and Chile’s Betterfly, which recently became Latin America’s first B Corp.-certified unicorn. Lightrock aims to attract another $100 million in co-investments from its limited partners.
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Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:

  • Zolar raked in $105 million, led by Energy Impact Partners, to install home solar systems and meet clean energy demand in Germany.
  • Germany’s Predium scored €1.6 million ($1.7 million) in pre-seed funding to help real estate companies manage their assets more sustainably.
  • ChargeLab secured $15 million in Series A funding to help EV charger manufacturers manage their equipment. 

Agents of Impact: Where to Meet

  • Confluence Philanthropy hosts its Advisors Forum and Climate Solutions Summit at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York, June 1-3. The first day is members-only; guests may apply to attend June 2-3.
  • US SIF’s Forum 2022 from June 6-8 near Albuquerque, N.M. will feature S.E.C. Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw and U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin.
  • PayPal’s Dan Schulman will keynote the Sorenson Impact Summit, June 13-15 in Park City, Utah.
  • Mark your calendars. ​​The GIIN Investor Forum will convene in The Hague, Oct. 12-13.

Thank you for your impact!

– May 23, 2022