The Brief | June 9, 2021

The Brief: Fintech in Latin America, racial equity in Georgia, impact in listed equities, plastic proliferators, emissions and diversity disclosure

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

Greetings, Agents of Impact! 

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Dealflow: Latin American fintech

Brazilian fintech Nubank rakes in $1.2 billion for Latam expansion. The São Paulo-based digital bank launched in 2014 to provide underserved Brazilians no-fee, low-interest digital credit cards they could manage on their smartphones. It today serves 40 million customers; in the past five months, Nubank says it has been adding more than 45,000 new customers per day. “There is still a lot to be done – around 50% of the population in Latin America still does not have a bank account,” said Nubank’s David Velez. The company will use the financing to expand to Mexico and Colombia, where it says it has waitlists of 1.8 million people. The Series G financing gives Nubank a valuation of $30 billion. 

  • Credit card play. One in five Nubank customers have never owned a credit card. The latest round of financing includes a $500 million investment from Berkshire Hathaway and $250 million from existing investors, including Base10 Partners (see, “Base10’s new $250 million fund”), as well as $400 million Nubank raised in January.
  • Dive in.

Georgia Power commits $75 million to advance racial equity and justice. The Atlanta-based utility company tapped a $200 million community-focused allocation from its parent, Southern Company. It will invest $15 million per year over the next five years to tackle racial inequality and racial injustice in disadvantaged communities where it operates in Georgia.

  • Targeted impact. Georgia Power said it will invest in scholarships for underrepresented students, historically Black colleges and universities, the social and workforce re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals, Black-owned businesses, and the net-zero carbon future.
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Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:

  • Victory Park Capital is using a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, to take public Dave, a responsible banking app backed by billionaire Mark Cuban. The deal values Dave at $4 billion.
  • BlueOrchard extends a $15 million loan to Dhaka-based lender LankaBangla Finance to support green projects and COVID recovery for small businesses. It is the Swiss impact investor’s first investment in Bangladesh.
  • Ahmedabad-based Pahal Financial Services secures $5 million in debt from WaterEquity to help low-income communities in India secure clean water and sanitation.
  • Germany’s Resourcify raises €3 million to help companies track and manage how much waste they’re producing.

Sponsored by StocksDigital: ESG On-Ramp

Measuring and improving ESG to create social and shareholder value. Investors are demanding better environmental, social and governance management. This year, the first six Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies began reporting their progress against the World Economic Forum’s 21 universal ESG metrics, using the “ESG on-ramp” technology platform Socialsuite. After committing to Socialsuite ESG on-ramp, Vulcan Energy secured $120 million from ESG investors. Upon announcing adoption of ESG reporting, Province Resources saw its shares rise 30% and was able to raise $18 million, including from ESG funds. Three companies have appointed their first female director since adopting the ESG program. “Strength in ESG allows companies to access more investment, attract and retain talent and secure more customers,” says Socialsuite’s Damian Hajda, “and to create social value while providing shareholder returns.” Learn more about ESG reporting with Socialsuite.

Signals: Ahead of the Curve

Short takes. A few of the reports and data points on our radar:

  • Impact in listed equities. Most sustainability strategies in listed equities have focused on managing environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, risks and opportunities within a portfolio of listed stocks. A report from the Global Impact Investing Network details a menu of impact strategies in listed equities that can deliver tangible impact in the real economy. One insight: To create a portfolio that goes beyond standard-issue ESG, inventors must refocus the entire investment process, from strategy definition and portfolio selection to performance measurement and engagement.
  • Plastic proliferators. ExxonMobil tops a list of the 100 biggest producers of the polymers used for cheap, single-use plastics that clog landfills and oceans. Minderoo Foundation’sPlastic Waste-Makers Index” also rounds up the biggest investors in polymer producers. Among the top 10: Saudi Arabia, China, Vanguard and BlackRock. The foundation recommends investors shift capital away from virgin polymer production and towards companies using recycled plastic waste as feedstock.
  • Data disclosure. The asset management industry’s top lobbying group, Investment Company Institute, sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking it to require companies to disclose greenhouse emissions and workforce diversity data. “Far too many companies have repeatedly refused to publicly share information on their gender and racial representation,” said Robert Raben of the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative. “We need data to catalyze progress on diversity.”

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Free agent. Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Antony Bugg-Levine is stepping down in August after nearly a decade as CEO. At the Rockefeller Foundation earlier, Bugg-Levine played a key role in building early infrastructure for impact investing. The South African-born Bugg-Levine says he hasn’t yet lined up his next job, but will continue his work “to build better funding systems that advance justice and equity.” He told ImpactAlpha he’s leaving NFF “with everything in place to make a next-level contribution that will require a leader with refreshed vision, who better embodies the strategic focus on racial equity and community-centered leadership.” (Meanwhile, Jed Emerson, Bugg-Levine’s co-author on the book Impact Investing, suited up for his own new gig at Tiedemann Advisors.) Here’s Antony’s post.

Osei Van Horne, ex- of Wells Fargo, is named managing partner and global head of sustainable growth-equity investing at JPMorgan Private Capital… Chloe Capital has openings in business development and marketing in Ithaca, N.Y… Tides is hiring a senior advisor of philanthropy… The Climate Corporation is recruiting a product manager of carbon and sustainability in San Francisco.

Capital for Climate is looking for a head of climate funds research and evaluation… Shared Value Media is hiring a community partnership manager in the San Francisco Bay area… Prime Impact Coalition is accepting applications from BIPOC candidates for its entrepreneur-in-residence fellowship, and for a fall internshipRoots of Impact and iGravity are seeking applications from impact organizations in Eastern and Southern Africa for impact-linked financing.

Thank you for your impact.

– June 9, 2021