Greetings, Agents of Impact!
Featured: Catalytic Capital
Bringing the energy transition to every building and neighborhood, with public and private capital. Green jobs in South Los Angeles. Low-carbon retrofits and cost savings in New York public housing. Electric vehicle and battery factories across the Rust – er, Battery Belt. The green energy transition, which seemed destined to leave many people behind, is going mass market. U.S. policy breakthroughs, including the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act, are catalyzing climate funding and investment opportunities in energy retrofits of old buildings, community solar, and climate-resilient infrastructure, and channeling capital to neglected regions and low-income communities. “Some of the best opportunities for growth occur when we invest in people and places that have been forgotten and overlooked,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week at a Ford electric-vehicle factory in Detroit. “We expect to see dollars catalyze innovative investments across cities and towns that haven’t seen such investment in years.”
Incentives for projects that benefit low-income communities are making projects that previously did not pencil suddenly viable. That will turbocharge efforts like those of BlocPower, which retrofits low- and middle-income residences with low-carbon energy upgrades. The Brooklyn-based company is already working to retrofit buildings at scale in cities including New York, Ithaca, N.Y., and Menlo Park, Calif. The IRA “will dramatically accelerate investments in green infrastructure across America,” BlocPower’s Donnel Baird tells ImpactAlpha. One challenge will be ramping up a skilled workforce to meet the demand. Climate-Resilient Employees for a Sustainable Tomorrow, or CREST, aims to train and place at least 25,000 individuals from underrepresented communities in the U.S. in clean energy jobs. Investments in the growth sectors of the future already are benefiting ailing Rust Belt communities, including in red states whose representatives opposed the federal legislation. “We know that rural communities are often overlooked because of a lack of investor confidence,” says Megan Brewster of Sorenson Impact Center, which released a “playbook” for rural Opportunity Zones. “There’s a lot of opportunity there in terms of both economic and social impact.”
- Keep reading, “Bringing the energy transition to every building and neighborhood, with public and private capital,” by Amy Cortese on ImpactAlpha.
- Tomorrow’s Call. Join “Mapping opportunities for catalytic climate capital,” ImpactAlpha’s first Agents of Impact Call of the season with BlocPower’s Donnel Baird, Shell Foundation’s Ashish Kumar, Jonathan Phillips of Duke University’s Energy Access Program, Vibrant Data Labs’ Eric Berlow, and ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese and David Bank, Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. Answer the Call.
Dealflow: Alternative Proteins
Bond Pet Foods raises $17.5 million to make lab-grown meat for pets. Animal byproducts used in pet food are less carbon-intensive than other types of meat, but they are still derived from traditional farming practices and are responsible for nearly 3% percent of agriculture’s carbon emissions. Boulder, Colo.-based Bond Pet Foods launched in 2017 to create lab-grown meats for pet food. The company uses animal cell samples and precision fermentation to cultivate chicken, beef, fish and other animal proteins to be used as ingredients. Bond will use the Series A funding to expand its product portfolio and scale up production at a 15,000-square-foot facility in Boulder.
- Pet priorities. “More and more, consumers demand their pets eat the same sustainable, responsibly-produced food that they themselves eat,” said Jorge Martinez of ADM Ventures, the investing arm of Archer Daniels Midland, which backed Bond’s round. Other investors include Wilbur Ellis, Thia Ventures, iSelect Fund, music icons Sia Isabelle Furler and Joan Jett, and others. Bond has raised $20 million to date.
- Check it out.
Tesseract raises $78 million to help consumers in Europe lower energy bills. Russian President Vladimir Putin this week threatened to cut off energy supplies to Europe. In the U.K., millions of households already are behind on their utility bills. London-based Tesseract is looking to deliver cheaper and cleaner electricity to consumers. The company cuts out middlemen by delivering renewable energy directly from generating assets. “Brave solutions are required” in the face of energy shortages and global warming, said Colin Hanna of Balderton Capital, which invested in the round. He said Tesseract’s model “can help us confront these dual challenges without slipping further back into fossil fuels.”
- Disintermediation. Investors in the round include Accel, former racing driver and sustainability entrepreneur Nico Rosberg, and Lowercarbon Capital. Lowercarbon’s Chris Sacca also invested as an angel investor. Tesseract will use the investment to purchase and build clean energy assets.
- Plug in.
Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:
- Dutch green mobility startup Lightyear scored €81 million ($82.1 million) in a round backed by impact investor Invest-NL to make long-range solar electric cars.
- Albedo secured $48 million with backing from Breakthrough Energy Ventures to develop low-flying satellites to collect imagery for agriculture, energy and other industries.
- Odyssey Energy raised $5.3 million for its distributed energy data platform that helps partners in developing countries finance, build and operate clean energy projects.
- Resources for Every Creator, or REC, snagged $2 million from Sean “Diddy” Combs to build a creative studio incubator for independent creators in Miami.
Impact Voices: Smarter Work
Seven ways organizations can foster personal, organizational and social well-being. The law firm Blue Dot Advocates recently overhauled its internal governance and decision-making systems. The specialists in impact investing distilled the six public benefit purposes in the firm’s certificate of incorporation into one overarching purpose: to foster well-being at all levels (personal, organizational, societal) through the practice of law. “How do we do that?” Bruce Campbell, Blue Dot chief happiness officer, asks in a guest post. Share decision making power, prioritize relationships and reckon with history are among the seven practices highlighted by Joanna Cea and Jess Rimington in Beloved Economies: Transforming How We Work, which features Blue Dot. The book, writes Campbell, “gives voice to a growing grassroots movement to radically rethink the purpose of work and economic activity.”
- Meaningful practices. “We find that practices like seeking difference, trusting there is time, and sourcing from multiple ways of knowing require our continual attention, diligence and willingness to stretch,” says Campbell. “The seven practices are about how to change the world by changing how we show up.”
- Keep reading, “Seven ways organizations can foster personal, organizational, and social well-being,” by Blue Dot’s Bruce Campbell on ImpactAlpha.
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Luminate seeks a global vice president of global programs… Activate is hiring a CEO and several other roles… Anheuser-Busch is looking for a director of community impact in New York… Results for Development is recruiting a program associate in Washington, D.C… The Environmental Defense Fund seeks a manager of energy transition, focusing on U.S. policy… James Lima Planning + Development is looking for a research analyst for policy and economic development, based in New York.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in partnership with ImpactAssets, the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and Uplink, will host an in-person event on neighborhood-level climate investments in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 20… The GIIN Investor Forum 2022 takes place Oct.12-13 in The Hague, Netherlands… Social good champion Devin Thorpe is hosting Super Crowd, a virtual crowdfunding conference, Sept. 15-16. ImpactAlpha subscribers get $125 off with code ALPHA.
Thank you for your impact!
– Sept. 13, 2022