The Brief | March 30, 2020

The Brief: Matthew Weatherley-White walks the talk, Africa’s $3 billion COVID bond, DBL’s fourth fund, air taxis, SOCAP’s Cari Hanson

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impacts!

Series: Walking the Talk

Matthew Weatherley-White: How I invest my own money. Climate is the organizing principle of Caprock Group’s Matthew Weatherley-White’s personal investment portfolio. In the next installment in ImpactAlpha’s “Walking the Talk” series, which features investors who are bringing impact and sustainable investing strategies to their own portfolios, Weatherley-White says he’s seizing the current market turmoil to prune and further green his portfolio, which feels “awesome… and responsible… and intelligent” (see Calvert Impact Capital’s Beth Bafford’s earlier post in the series, Making my money work for my kids and their future). Weatherley-White says issues like equality of opportunity, affordable housing and access to essential services, while compelling, don’t have climate’s “existentially short fuse.” The hardening climate science tells us, “if we don’t figure out how to arrest global warming, these other issues will become irrelevant,” he says. “So I’m giving it everything I got.” Weatherley-White admits his allocations fly in the face of conventional portfolio theory. “If you seek unconventional results, you must pursue an unconventional approach.”

  • Private companies. Among 10 private investments, Weatherley-White is invested in an early fund of Generate Capital, a fund from Wunder Capital, the operating company and underlying fund of TriLinc Global, green infrastructure firm Greenprint Partners, and impact reporting platform iPar, a Caprock spin-off. His single largest asset: his stake in Caprock. Weatherley-White admits it’s scary being so concentrated, but says he has “enormous faith in my partners, colleagues and clients, so I feel reasonably confident that Caprock’s future is solid.” Caprock, a founding B Corp., is working toward employee share ownership for non-founders.
  • Retirement plan. Weatherley-White’s 401(k) is managed by tech-driven asset manager Ethic, and is based on Caprock-defined climate screens. “I own the exact same fund that our clients own,” he says (and even pays the same fee). Weatherley-White’s IRA includes two debt strategies: Greenbacker Renewable Energy Corp., a publicly-traded renewable-energy finance company, and Advance Global Capital, which finances small manufacturers in developing countries.
  • Coronaddendum. He says being relatively light in public equities, having no exposure to public debt, and being climate-smart makes sense in the current market volatility. Amid the coronavirus-induced downdraft, Weatherley-White remains “even more convinced that the investment strategy that I’ve pursued is the right one for my family.”
  • Keep reading. How I invest my own money” by Matthew Weatherley-White on ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

African Development Bank issues a record $3 billion social bond to combat COVID-19. The three-year Fight Covid-19 bond, one of the largest-ever U.S.-dollar-denominated social bonds, attracted $4.6 billion in interest. The COVID-19 virus was late to reach Africa, but African nations with already-strained healthcare systems and infrastructure have been warned to prepare for the worst. AfDB is the latest development bank to mobilize funds to combat the coronavirus. “These are critical times for Africa as it addresses the challenges resulting from the coronavirus,” the development bank’s Akinwumi Adesina said in an announcement of the bond sale. He said the bond was part of a soon-to-be-announced “comprehensive response.”

  • Reprogramming. The Inter-American Development Bank and IDB Group are “reprogramming” existing efforts and will make an additional $3.2 billion available to countries affected by COVID-19. IDB Invest, part of IDB Group, a development finance agency for Latin America and the Caribbean, is also readying a $500 million Crisis Mitigation Facility to fund direct health-related responses to the pandemic and short-term lending for small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Fast tracking. The International Finance Corp. recently sold a $1 billion social bond targeted at COVID response. The bond was part of a larger $14 billion in fast-track financing by the World Bank and IFC targeted at “efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19.”
  • Agents of Impact Call No. 14. Join ImpactAlpha, the Collaborative for Frontier Finance and local fund managers who are mobilizing stabilization and liquidity funds for small and growing businesses. RSVP for The Call, Thursday, April 2 at 9am PT / noon ET / 5pm London /  9:30pm Delhi.
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France commits €4 billion to see tech startups through corona crisis. The Ministry of State for Digital Affairs and public investment bank Bpifrance announced emergency funding, including bridge financing, guaranteed loans, accelerated payments and investments.

Lillium secures $240 million for electric ‘air taxis.’ The Munich-based company hopes to have its vertical take-off and landing aircraft in full-scale production by 2025. China’s Tencent led the round. Existing investors European venture firm AtomicoLGT and German venture firm Freigeist Capital also participated. Lillium has raised $340 million to date.

New fund planned by DBL Partners. The San Francisco-based “double-bottom line” venture firm is raising up to $450 million for its fourth fund, per an SEC filing. Portfolio companies of earlier DBL funds include Tesla Motors, Solar City, Revolution Foods, Andela, Farmers Business Network and Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Cari Hanson takes the helm of SOCAP as CEO Lindsay Smalling transitions… Open Road Alliance seeks an investment analyst/associate in Washington, D.C. (see, Short-term loans are a safety net as social enterprises face an ‘unexpected OMG moment’)… The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issues a call for proposals for global ideas for improving health, equity and climate change in U.S. cities… Convergence is hosting “Demystifying Blended Finance” on Tuesday, April 14.

Thank you for reading. 

–Mar. 30, 2020