The Brief | August 1, 2019

The Brief: HCAP’s good jobs fund, Techstars’ sustainability startups, Jobs for the Future’s investment arm, LIIF’s public bond offering

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Hop on The Call today. For you last-minute types, there’s no need to RSVP for today’s Agents of Impact Call No. 10ImpactAlpha’s editors will mix it up with Special Agents Cynthia Muller of Kellogg Foundation, John Goldstein of Goldman Sachs and Adam Connaker of Rockefeller Foundation – and you. The call kicks off at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm London. Just dial (515) 604-9978 (or these international lines) and use the passcode 318752# (shhh…The Call is for subscribers only).

Featured: Deal of the Day 

HCAP Partners closes $150 million fund with a “good jobs” thesis. The San Diego-based private equity firm has carved out a niche, investing in lower middle-market companies and working with them to improve the quality of their jobs. The thesis: Better workplace practices attract and engage better employees, which increases enterprise value. The firm has applied its “gainful jobs approach” to more than 40 companies across three funds with $300 million in assets. HCAP’s fourth fund, which closed at $150 million, attracted limited partners including the Ford Foundation (as part of its $1 billion endowment carveout for mission-related investments), family offices and financial institutions. Founded in 2000 as Huntington Capital, HCAP makes growth-stage mezzanine debt and equity investments in technology, healthcare, services, and manufacturing in the western U.S.

‘Good jobs’ is emerging as a compelling impact investment thesis (see, “Impact investors have a quality jobs agenda). “The more jobs and high-quality jobs, the better,” Ford Foundation’s Roy Swan told ImpactAlpha in an earlier podcast, arguing that superior companies engage employees in a superior way with superior human capital investment. Lack of such engagement costs American companies more than $500 billion a year in lost productivity, according to Gallup, which has attracted private equity companies targeting job quality. HCAP’s approach keys on five attributes of a “gainful” job: Opportunities for advancement, sustainable livelihoods, broad-based participation, paid sick days and wellness initiatives. HCAP’s portfolio companies employ 9,00 people; half of them are women and more than 60% are people of color. Share this post.

Sponsored Content: Tiedemann Advisors

Your impact investing journey: Measuring and managing your impact investments. Financial advisors are used to sharing quarterly reporting on financial performance. Tiedemann takes it one step further by providing detailed impact reports “highlighting key environmental and social outcomes for each client,” writes Tiedemann’s Brad Harrison in the final installment of “Your impact investing journey.” Tiedemann’s quantitative environmental and social impact reports, integrated in a single technology solution, detail the impact of specific holdings as well as portfolio-wide impact. The firm also helps its clients engage with shareholder resolutions. Expertise in impact investing, Harrison says, means Tiedemann’s experienced financial advisors “know how to communicate with investors in a way that allows them to continue pushing forward on their impact investing journey.” Measure and manage your impact investments.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Techstars Sustainability startups tackle clean water, regenerative farming and supply chains. The tech accelerator and investor picked 10 companies in the U.S. and Mexico for its second three-month sustainability program in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Three of the ten companies focus on water resources, including Gybe, which uses remote sensing and satellite imagery for conservation and resource management. Four focus on agriculture, including Regen Network, which helps farmers transition to regenerative farming practices, and bext360, a blockchain-based platform for monitoring agricultural supply chains. Separately, Techstars secured $42 million in equity financing to expand its global footprint. Techstars currently hosts 49 programs in 16 countries and invests $80 million in startups annually. SVB Financial Group and Foundry Group backed the latest round. Check it out.

Jobs for the Future acquires Employment Technology Fund.  Jobs for the Future got its start 35 years ago helping Connecticut’s workforce meet the state’s jobs needs. The non-profit organization’s work has since expanded across the country. The organization acquired Employment Technology Fund, which will become Jobs for the Future’s investment arm, making debt and equity investments, EdSurge reports. Employment Technology Fund was launched in 2017 with backing from the JoyceKelloggRockefellerWalmart and ECMC foundations. The fund has invested in seven early-stage companies, including Palo Alto-based Cell-Ed, which caters to low-literacy and low-skilled adults, and Denver-based PAIRIN, which is focused on soft skills training. The acquisition will help expand Jobs for the Future’s incubator, JFFLabs. Read on.

Low Income Investment Fund raises $100 million with a public “sustainability bond.” The community development financial institution raisedthe funds through its first public debt offering to invest in community development projects across 14 U.S. states. LIIF said the issue received an A- rating with a positive outlook from S&P. The bond will support affordable housing in Washington, D.C., early childhood and nonprofit arts spaces in San Francisco, a health center in New Orleans and a grocery store in the South Bronx, among other projects that expand opportunity for low income communities.

Luminate invests in Avalanche to democratize polling. The spinoff from Omidyar Network backed Avalanche to develop low-cost research tools accessible to small and mid-size community and political organizations.

Hokodo scores €2 million to insure small businesses against unpaid invoices. Small business services are getting more sophisticated. Fluidly helps small businesses manage cash flow, a key reason many small businesses fail. London-based Hokodo provides insurance for invoices that never get paid.

Kenya’s Taimba secures funding from Gray Matters Capital. Taimba is connecting small farmers and urban buyers in the east African country. Impact investor Gray Matters Capital invested $100,000 in the company via coLABS, its gender lens-initiative.

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 (and spread the word).

San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System is hiring a private equity investment analyst… Unshackled Ventures is looking for an analyst in San Francisco… Capria is recruiting for roles in Seattle and Singapore, as well as locations in Africa and the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

– Aug. 1, 2019