The Brief | July 10, 2023

The Brief: Steering global impact, diverse fund managers, aquaculture unicorn, battery recycling, chief impact officers

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Featured: National Advisory Boards

The Global Steering Group looks to mobilize capital and build impact ecosystems. In Turkiye, the country’s first outcomes-based bond will tackle youth unemployment. Australia, Canada, Ghana, Nigeria and Spain have committed to inject a combined $1.5 billion into local wholesalers and funds of funds, modeled on Big Society Capital in the UK. This week, the first African Impact Summit in Cape Town will highlight innovation in impact investing across the continent. These examples are indicative of the growth of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, which after 10 years includes nearly three dozen national advisory boards, or NABs, from Bangladesh and Brazil, to the US and Zambia. “Together, we can put the world on track to a global impact economy and a just transition that leaves no one behind,” GSG’s Maeva Amarger says in her report from the GSG’s leadership meeting in Istanbul in May. 

  • Policy corner. In close to half of GSG member countries, governments have implemented at least one policy or piece of regulation related to impact investing. In Argentina, the National Security Commission approved a regime for social impact bonds. Colombia, South Africa, Zambia and other countries have included impact investing in their national development plans. The EU is extending the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and rolling out the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. The backlash against environmental, social and governance, or ESG, investing could make the US an outlier. “The contrast with Europe could not be more stark,” says Amarger.
  • Meet up. This year’s Global Impact Summit, hosted by GSG and Spain’s NAB, is set for October 2-3 in Málaga.

Dealflow: Returns on Inclusion

Insight Partners secures $118 million to invest in diverse fund managers. The New York-based firm launched 20/20 Vision Capital after the summer of unrest following the murder of George Floyd. The firm’s partners committed the entire $15 million of the inaugural fund, which has backed 14 diverse-led and early-stage funds, including Collide Capital and Precursor Ventures. With commitments from several large public pension funds, the second 20/20 Vision Capital fund has invested in nine new fund managers and reupped in the earlier portfolio of managers. More than half of 20/20 Vision Capital’s 23 portfolio funds are led by women, Black and/or Latino first-time managers. The goal is for “the fund managers to directly access institutional capital on their own,” said Insight Partners’ Richard Wells.

  • Institutional impact. “We hope that the emerging funds that 20/20 Vision Capital invests in grow to become a fit,” said Michael Trotsky of Massachusetts’s Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, a limited partner in the fund. Other LPs include Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System, New York State’s Common Retirement Fund, Alberta’s Investment Management Corp., and Illinois’ Teachers’ Retirement System. Racial preferences in public-sector investments and asset allocations could face legal challenges following the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action (see, “Racial equity investors lean in”).
  • Inclusive VC. Insight Partners has a 27-year track record of investing in software and technology businesses. The firm “has recognized that the problem wasn’t a shortage of minority founders, but rather a shortage of funds investing in them,” said Insight Partners’ Dionne Chingkoe. The 20/20 Vision Capital fund has addressed the challenge “by investing with diverse general partners who in turn have the opportunity to identify and invest in diverse founders.”
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eFishery rakes in $200 million for sustainable seafood in Indonesia. The aquaculture tech venture says the Series D financing brings its valuation to over $1 billion, making it an early aquaculture unicorn. eFishery provides feed, supplies and access to finance and markets, to more than 70,000 smallholder fish and shrimp farmers in Indonesia. Indonesia has the second-largest aquaculture hub in the world (behind China). “With our ocean approaching the brink of species collapse, this increase must come from sustainable sources: namely aquaculture,” said Amy Novogratz and Mike Velings of Aqua-Spark, an early backer of eFishery.

  • Financing fish. The planet is expected to consume nearly 20% more fish by 2030. Investors in the round include ResponsAbility, Malaysian public pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan, and Abu Dhabi-based 42XFund.
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Dealflow overflow. Other news crossing our desks:

  • JAX Microfinance Fund raised $250,000 from the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida to invest in non-predatory local small business lenders, bringing the fund’s available capital to more than $550,000. (Jacksonville Free Express)
  • Singapore-based NEU Battery Materials raised $3.7 million from Shift4Good and SGInnovate to recycle lithium-ion batteries. (Recycling Today)
  • NLC Health Impact Fund scored €20 million ($22 million) of a targeted €100 million to invest in early-stage medtech, biotech and digital healthcare companies. (European Biotechnology)

Six Short Signals: What We’re Reading

💥 Impact in the C-Suite. The role of chief impact officer got a boost when BetterUp hired the most famous CIO to date: Prince Harry. Corporate leadership teams are elevating impact from an isolated department to an essential lens for making decisions. (Inc.)

📈 Demand for sustainability. A quarter of asset managers in Pitchbook’s 2021 sustainable investment survey said that majority of their LPs had asked them about sustainability. In last year’s survey, only 17% reported such questions from so many clients. (Pitchbook)

👩🏽‍🦱🧑🏼‍🦱👨🏾‍🦲👩🏻‍ Racial equity collaborative. Members of the American Sustainable Business Network, Confluence Philanthropy, The ImPact, Impact Capital Managers, Intentional Endowments Network and Toniic gathered in New York to build a multi-year plan to advance racial equity in capital markets. (ICM)

💲 For dealflow, less is more. When Elevar Equity decided to actively talk about its investment philosophy, the goal was not to increase the number of pipeline opportunities coming its way, but to reduce them, writes Elevar’s Jyotsna Krishnan. (Elevar Equity)

📐 Managing systemic risk. Managing impact is a growing imperative to optimize the market’s capacity to manage risks and opportunities. (Impact Management Project)

🎆 Drones > fireworks. Salt Lake City, Lake Tahoe, Calif., and North Richland Hills, Texas, were among US cities that opted for drone-lit skies over fireworks this Fourth of July, hoping to reduce air pollution and fire danger. (The Hill)

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

KKR managing director George Aitken takes over as the firm’s chief of global impact in Asia, replacing Chee-Wei Wong who stepped down last week… One Rock Capital Partners is hiring an ESG senior associate in New York, Los Angeles or London… The Global Impact Investing Network seeks a lead climate solutions investing strategist and a director of impact principles in New York… Also in New York, ERM is looking for a consulting director for ESG and impact post-investment value creation. 

Thank you for your impact.

– July 10, 202