The Brief | July 30, 2019

The Brief: From resistance to revival, small business in India, manufacturing in Illinois, farmer livelihood impact bond, Y Analytics hires

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Agents of Impact The Call No. 10: Reporters’ Roundtable. Bias is a liability. Diversity is an asset. A growing number of investors and investment funds are looking for Returns on Inclusion by backing overlooked talent and entrepreneurs and investing in underserved markets. On The Call this week, ImpactAlpha’s editors and “special agents” of impact will dig into the big themes driving our coverage. Join a lively conversation that will take you inside ImpactAlpha’s editorial thinking. Thursday, Aug. 1st, at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm London. RSVP today.

Featured: ImpactAlpha Original

From resistance to revival: Can the Democratic debates mobilize support for America’s inclusive economic agenda? The candidates have a chance to move beyond resistance and stake out the foundations of an inclusive economic revival. In this week’s debates in Detroit, policy wonks will spot in the planks of the presidential candidates ideas that have been percolating for years in towns and cities across the U.S. When Kamala Harris last week introduced a plan (“Reducing the opportunity gap”) to invest $12 billion to fund and support minority small business owners, she became at least the sixth Democratic candidate to do so. Proposals from Cory Booker (“Paying it forward”), Elizabeth Warren (“Level the playing field”), Pete Buttigieg (“The Douglass Plan”), Beto O’Rourke (“America’s small businesses”) and John Delaney (“Commitment to Black America”) also include startup and business capital or support for women or entrepreneurs of color.

Impact investors, for example, have a quality jobs agenda. Booker and Tim Ryan would boost apprenticeships. Harris wants $60 billion for science, technology, engineering and math education, including at historically black colleges and universities. Joe Biden would stand up against non-compete clauses that suppress wages. Bernie Sanders’ jobs guarantee would put millions to work rebuilding infrastructure and supporting schools and seniors. Jay Inslee’s Evergreen Economy Plan would build out America’s clean energy and create 8 million jobs. Policy matters. Smart tax incentives, subsidies and risk reduction can mobilize capital quickly, as the 2017 tax bill’s provisions for Opportunity Zones (co-authored by Booker) have shown. And, as Opportunity Zones have also shown, getting policy right is crucial for true impact (see, “How and why to measure the impact of investments in Opportunity Zones).

Keep reading, “Can the Democratic debates mobilize support for America’s inclusive economic agenda?” by Dennis Price on ImpactAlpha.

Sponsored Content: Tiedemann Advisors

Your impact investing journey: Aligning your investments with your values. Impact investors have varied goals and objectives. Some seek to align their portfolio with a singular issue like climate change. Others may diversify their impact investments across social and environmental issues or global and local issues. Issues range from income inequality to sustainable land management to education. “Impact investing should be a customized journey for each investor,” writes Tiedemann’s Brad Harrison. An experienced impact advisor can help clients map their journey on a timeline that meets their goals and objectives. Tiedemann’s proprietary impact diagnostic tool walks investors through every stage of the impact investing process. Align your investments with your values.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Indifi raises $21 million for financial services for India’s small businesses. Only 5% of India’s nearly 50 million micro and small businesses have access to formal financial services. Gurgaon-based Indifi Technologies offers loans to restaurants and other small businesses in retail, hospitality and travel. Quick-approval loans and lines of credit help businesses manage cash flow. The company has originated 15,000 loans to customers in 200 Indian cities. Indifi secured early backing from impact investors Elevar and Omidyar Network, which re-upped in the latest round. “Reducing the high cost of assessment and verification for lenders can help millions of borrowers gain access to credit they need to invest in their future,” Omidyar wrote. Indifi’s new equity financing was led by U.K. development finance institution CDC Group, and included Accel and another new investor. Dig in.

mHUB launches fund to revive manufacturing in Illinois. Illinois’ economy is generally on the up, but manufacturing employs only half as many people as it did three decades ago. Chicago-based hardware lab mHUB is launching a new fund to nurture manufacturing opportunities in the state through startup innovation. mHUB is looking to raise a $15 million Product Impact Fund to invest in 60 startups targeting the industrial Internet of Things, communications, and high-impact areas like clean energy, healthcare and smart buildings and cities. mHUB says the fund will fill a gap in capital for makers and product-based startups. The U.S. Commerce Department’sEconomic Development Administration is kickstarting mHUB’s fundraising with $300,000. Check it out.

KisanHub clinches £3.4 million to boost food-supply transparency. The U.K.-based startup is tackling inefficiencies and food waste with a data platform for experts, suppliers, processors and retailers that source from farmers, starting with India’s fragmented agriculture market.

Waterfield Advisors initiates agriculture development impact bond. The Mumbai-based wealth advisor is looking to raise $3 million from investors for a Tata Trusts’ initiative to help 6,500 subsistence farmers triple their incomes through farm management and capacity building.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

ImpactAlpha is hiring: Director of Growth. Hot business trend meets scalable media model. Our new Director of Growth will drive subscription marketing to grow recurring revenues so we can serve the growing community of Agents of Impact even better. Join ImpactAlpha’s team (and spread the word).

Diane Mak, ex- of Social Finance UK, joins Y Analytics as a senior director of impact solutions. David Frank, previously with McKinsey & Co., joins as managing director of client service and product development (see, “Y Analytics: The Rise Fund’s new impact measurement business gets a mixed welcome)… PG Impact Investments is looking for a private equity investment manager for impact investing in South-East Asia in Singapore… BlueOrchardis hiring a regional manager of Latin America in Lima.

– July 30, 2019