Greetings, Agents of Impact!
👋 The Call: Optimizing muni bonds for racial equity. Public Finance Initiative’s Lourdes Germán, Robert Wood Johnson’s Kimberlee Cornett and other special guests will join ImpactAlpha’s next Agents of Impact Call, Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today.
Featured: The Liist
The Liist: Seven impact funds that are raising capital now (November 2022). Doomsday predictions abound. The world seems to have back-burnered climate action. This month’s COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is being dismissed even before it starts. A bright spot: the dedicated cohort of private climate investors that are building and scaling climate technologies and resilience-focused companies. This month’s Liist, in partnership with Realize Impact, includes a range of climate-focused investment funds in the market; four funds on The Liist are led or co-led by women.
- Systemiq Capital. The U.K. climate-tech investor is pumping growth capital into promising climate technologies. Systemiq Capital’s first fund was an early backer of hydrogen-powered aircraft manufacturer ZeroAvia.
- BlackTech Capital. The Toronto-based firm is investing in Black-led climate ventures across North America that are working toward a just economic transition.
- Omnivore. The India-based impact investor’s third fund for agrifood tech investments aims to boost the climate resilience of the country’s food system and its millions of smallholder farmers.
- Beyond Capital Ventures. Fund II from the women-led firm will invest in impact tech startups delivering basic goods and services in East Africa and India. Beyond Capital says its portfolio companies are impacting the lives of 56 million people, including 42 million women.
- Boston Impact Initiative. The place-based, women-led investor in Boston and greater New England aims to close the region’s racial wealth gap. The fund has backed East Boston Neighborhood Trust to acquire and preserve affordable multi-family properties in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.
- Propeller Ventures. The new fund from software entrepreneur Brian Halligan and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is backing ocean-focused climate tech entrepreneurs; it has already raised $100 million for IP and commercialization of tech solutions. Oceans are “the planet’s best hope to decarbonize the global economy,” says Halligan.
- Wangara Green Ventures. The Ghana-based firm is leveraging local market knowledge to invest in companies supporting the green economic transition. “We look at how to help each company take the best approach to climate issues that they can,” Wangara’s Ebenezer Arthur told ImpactAlpha.
- For more details, keep reading, “The Liist: Seven impact funds that are raising capital now,” by Jessica Pothering on ImpactAlpha. The Liist is produced in collaboration with Realize Impact, which helps holders of donor-advised funds make impact investments through “philanthropic investment grants.” See 21 more funds that have been raising capital in recent months in earlier editions of The Liist.
Dealflow: First-Time Fund Managers
Collide Capital raises $66 million to back diverse founders. The New York-based venture fund will invest in early-stage businesses led by Black, Latino and female founders who are closest to the problems they are trying to solve. “Traditionally, the money hasn’t always flowed to the person most capable or the person most excited about solving the problem,” Collide Capital’s Brian Hollins told ImpactAlpha. Collide Capital will invest an average of $750,000 each in up to 50 startups in fintech, supply chain infrastructure, and the future of work. Hollins previously helped build BLCK VC, a community nonprofit organization for Black venture investors. His Collide co-founder, Aaron Samuels, worked on AfroTech, a tech investing and wealth-building platform for Black entrepreneurs. They launched Collide in 2019 and raised $1.3 million to build a track record before going to investors to raise a larger fund.
- Corporate impact. Collide Capital’s fund received more than 20% of its total commitments from tech giants Twitter, Amazon and Alphabet. Alphabet invested via CapitalG, its independent growth equity fund; Amazon invested through its recently-launched catalytic capital initiative. Other investors include the University of California system, Bank of America, Citi, Northwestern Mutual, Bain Capital, Insight Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
- Track record. Collide Capital has backed 43 startups, more than 80% of which are led by Black, Latino and female founders, and exited three of its investments. Its portfolio includes Chicago-based decarbonization tech startup Rheaply and San Francisco-based SMBX, which enables retail investors to finance small businesses.
- Dig in.
BlackRock secures $4.5 billion for its fourth global infrastructure fund. The first close of the fund, which is targeting $7.5 billion, follows BlackRock’s $5.1 billion global energy infrastructure fund raised in 2020 and now fully deployed. BlackRock Alternative’s new fund targets opportunities in energy and low-carbon power, utilities, transportation and logistics, and digital infrastructure. Spending on clean energy and infrastructure needs to triple to meet net zero targets by mid-century, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook. While investing in climate solutions, BlackRock acknowledged the fund will also support “the infrastructure needed to ensure a stable, affordable energy supply during the transition.” (Fossil fuels, anyone?)
- Backpedaling. BlackRock’s Larry Fink has been an outspoken proponent of zeroing out carbon emissions. At last year’s COP26, the asset management firm helped launch the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, or GFANZ, set up at the COP26 climate summit. What a difference a year makes. Fink will skip COP27, which is kicking off in Egypt next week. The war in Ukraine has prioritized energy security. And GFANZ has loosened rules to placate U.S. financial firms that balked at ending fossil fuel investment. BlackRock told a British parliamentary committee auditing GFANZ that it would not support a net-zero scenario that called for no new investment in coal, oil or gas.
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Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:
- KKR raised nearly $1.9 billion for its second Global Impact fund, which will employ the same thematic strategies as its first impact fund, including climate action, sustainable living, education and inclusive economic growth.
- DeHaat, which provides smallholder farmers in India with access to inputs, markets and financing, secured $46 million in a Series E round.
- Indonesian solar startup Xurya scored $33 million in Series A financing from Jakarta-based Surya Semesta Internusa and Mitsui & Co.
- Charlottesville, Va.-based AgroSpheres raised $22 million to commercialize its line of sustainable crop treatments.
Six Short Signals: Ahead of the Curve
🌐 Global median class. Global economic growth over the last 30 years has been strongly pro-poor. (Max Roser / Our World in Data)
🏠 Eviction prevention. No-interest micro loans: Philanthropist’s new tool in preventing homelessness. (Los Angeles Times)
🏦 Bankable U.S. households. More Black and Hispanic Americans opened bank accounts during the pandemic. (Bloomberg)
👽 Space’s economic impact. Electric rockets. Climate research. Mars exploration. NASA’s economic benefit reaches all 50 states. (NASA)
🗞️ Inclusive climate journalism. Scan the The Global South Climate Database of scientists and experts in the fields of climate science, climate policy and energy. (Reuters Institute)
☢️ Solving the energy trilemma. Affordability, sustainability, and reliability: The case for nuclear energy as a sustainable investment. (The Center for ESG and Sustainability)
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Christian Braneon, ex- of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, joins Carbon Direct as its first head of climate justice… Noelle Laing of Builders Initiative, Chuck Templeton of S2G Ventures, and Elevar Equity’s Amie Patel join Impact Engine’s newly formed advisory board to advise on impact investing, investment firm building, and more… Tehmina Haider, ex- of men’s personal care brand Harry’s, and Michael O’Leary, ex- of Engine No. 1, join private equity investment firm L Catterton as partners to lead its new impact fund.
Tideline presents “Truth in climate impact: management and labeling best practices,” with Brookfield’s Kelly Goddard, British International Investment’s Nicola Mustetea, and Prime Coalitions’ Keri Browder, moderated by Tideline’s Jane Bieneman and Claudia Leon, Thursday, Nov. 3… The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance will accept applications for net-zero economy financial innovations until Dec. 26, 2022.
Thank you for your impact!
– Nov. 1, 2022