The Brief | October 25, 2023

The Brief: SOCAP’s best-dressed, mini-grids in rural Africa and Asia, next-generation geothermal energy, managing water scarcity

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact! 

Featured: Seen at SOCAP

Best-dressed at SOCAP: How does your outfit express your impact? Clothes are culture. Clothes are personality. Clothes are expression. For the fourth year, ImpactAlpha roamed the spaces of SOCAP, the annual social capital markets conference in San Francisco, to spot attendees who stood out for their sartorial splendor. Photographer Maura Dilley asked participants how their outfits express their social impact. Above: Nicole Johnny of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners. “I’m Navajo, and I always love wearing Navajo jewelry. I’m even wearing a Navajo hairstyle that we wear because it shows that our thoughts are collected,” Johnny says. “Going into SOCAP, we really want to be intentional about amplifying and uplifting Indigenous voices and communities because that’s what we do at Raven.” 

  • Making the scene. Among the other attendees who caught Maura’s eye: My Tam Nguyen of Tzeda (“I want my look to be welcoming so that anyone can come talk to me”); Jennifer Clark of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (“It’s always good to look good and feel good and that helps ease the hard stuff”); and Liv Anderssson of Biozerac, who carries a “commitment to circularity into my wardrobe by only buying clothing secondhand”.
  • Take a spin through SOCAP’s best dressed, by Maura Dilley on ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: The Transition

Husk Power lands $103 million for renewable mini-grids in rural Africa and Asia. Husk was an early mover in off-grid energy, developing power systems fueled by rice husks for disconnected rural communities in India. It pivoted its business as the cost of renewable and clean technologies dropped, and digital tools made it easier to connect with rural customers and understand their needs (see, “Can off-grid solar keep focus on energy access for the poor as commercial capital arrives?“) The $43 million in Series D equity and $60 million in debt from STOA Infra & Energy, the US International Development Finance Corp., Proparco, the IFC and the European Investment Bank will help Husk to install 1,400 solar-biomass mini-grids in Africa and Asia. Husk is building out additional business lines, including commercial and industrial rooftop solar and sales of renewable appliances that support rural livelihoods.

Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:

  • Eden scored $12 million for its electrical reservoir stimulation technology, which can reduce costs and increase efficiency of geothermal energy projects. “At Eden, we create underground lightning strikes to vaporize rocks and enhance permeability in geologic reservoirs,” Eden’s Paris Smalls said in a statement. (Eden)
  • Wellington Management closed a $150 million early-stage venture fund to invest in Black, Latino, women and other underrepresented founders. (Wellington)
  • Amsterdam-based Carbon Equity clinched €6 million ($6.4 million) in a Series A funding round backed by 4impact to unlock private climate investing for the “mass affluent” market. (
  • Hitachi Energy, through a strategic partnership with Portland-based Powin, acquired a majority stake in EKS to expand its energy storage offerings. (Powin)

Signals: Water Management

Investors push corporations to better manage scarce water resources. Corporations are the world’s largest consumers of water. The biggest corporate water users are making little progress toward managing the resource responsibly, according to a report from sustainability consultancy Ceres. Corporations face more than $300 billion in water risk, according to Ceres. The findings come as water concerns grab the climate spotlight. “Business-as-usual water management approaches that fail to adapt to the changing state of water resources have no place in our current reality,” Ceres said in the report. Three-quarters of the 72 evaluated companies have set time-bound targets aimed at reducing their water use. But just 17% have set targets to reduce their impacts on water quality; even fewer have targets to protect or restore ecosystems to support freshwater supplies and aquatic biodiversity. 

  • Leaders and laggards. Ceres used corporations’ public disclosures to assess their vulnerabilities, opportunities, and strengths in water management. None of the companies assessed made it into Ceres’ highest-scoring category. Only 11%, including Cargill, Danone SA, Microsoft, and Gap Inc., ranked in the second quartile. Among the laggards at the bottom of the pile: Hain Celestial Group, Monster Beverage, and Chiquita Brands International.
  • Read on

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Transform Finance names Curt Lyon as executive director, succeeding Andrea Armeni, who is now director of Social Impact, Innovation and Investment at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service… Impax Asset Management appoints Ross Pamphilon, ex- of Wells Fargo Asset Management, as head of fixed income… Therese Stoch, ex- of Keller Postman, joins Creation Investments Capital Management as chief operating and compliance officer.

Waverley Street Foundation seeks a grants manager in San Francisco… The Environmental Defense Fund is hiring a remote clean energy senior manager… Acumen is on the hunt for a health principal… Blue Earth Capital is looking for a New York-based investment professional to oversee its private equity funds and co-investments… Also in New York, Grameen America seeks a senior director of development. 

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is recruiting a Sacramento-based associate portfolio manager for sustainable investment and stewardship strategies… Enabling Qapital has an opening for a junior business development manager in Zurich… 2X Global and Sagana invite fund managers that invest with a gender lens to participate in Project Catalyst, a scan of private market funds that builds on Project Sage, by completing this survey by Nov. 10… ImpactAlpha’s David Bank will moderate “American Democracy: A new investment imperative for impact investors,” in San Francisco today.

👉 View (or post) impact investing jobs on ImpactAlpha’s new Career Hub.

Thank you for your impact!

– Oct. 25, 2023