The Brief | March 7, 2023

The Brief: Women lead The Liist, infrastructure in emerging markets, heat pumps in Maine, cutting solar soft costs, ESG standards explained

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Featured: The Liist

Venture funds zero in on women’s health, while women-led funds tackle education, social equity and regeneration. There’s a huge gender gap in medical and disease research funding. On the March Liist of openly raising funds, two fund managers have their sights set on the investment opportunity in women’s healthcare and services. Mexico City-based New Ventures launched a $20 million fund to offer revenue-based financing to women’s health services startups in Latin America. In the U.S., Europe and Oceania, Global Bio Fund is rolling out Jaya Ventures, a $100 million fund to back early-stage, women-led health tech ventures rooted in deep science and intellectual property. An example: Australia’s Baymatob, which is developing a monitor for postpartum hemorrhage, one of the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide.

  • Women-led. Appropo this week’s International Women’s Day, female fund managers dominate this month’s Liist, prepared in partnership with Realize Impact. Boston-based LearnLaunch Fund is investing in tech startups delivering better early and K-12 education, as well as workforce training. WakeUp Capital is filling a need for early-stage equity funding among Ireland’s social enterprises.
  • Regeneration. Most financing options for smallholder farmers and agricultural cooperatives are debt-based, supporting them on a season by season basis or for small-scale growth. “That’s survival mode. That’s not going to get us biodiversity outcomes,” says SVX Mexico’s Laura Ortiz Montemayor of the social impact advisory firm SVX Mexico. SVX is looking to raise $25 million for Regenera Ventures to help land stewards build and capture more diverse revenue streams, including agricultural products, carbon offsets, and water harvesting, while restoring biodiversity and strengthening landscape resilience. “There’s underlying wisdom that smallholder farmers have that we need to tap into,” Ortiz says.
  • Raising capital. Also on this month’s list is Altalurra Ventures, a Black-led venture capital fund that invests in early-stage impact tech startups. Lombard Odier Investment Managers’ new private credit strategy offers short-term debt to North American businesses delivering sustainable goods, services and real assets.
  • For more details, keep reading, “The Liist (Mar. 2023),” by Jessica Pothering and Roodgally Senatus on ImpactAlpha. Scan dozens of funds and managers in earlier editions of The Liist. Know an impact fund manager currently raising capital? Drop us an email or submit this form.

Dealflow: Sustainable Infrastructure

ImpactA scores backing from Legal & General to invest in emerging markets infrastructure. Health facilities, sanitation, transit and energy infrastructure in many emerging markets are starved for debt capital to finance new projects. “There are very few infrastructure debt funds that are focused exclusively on emerging markets,” said Victoria Miles of ImpactA Global, a U.K.-based investment advisory firm. The women-led firm is building out a private debt strategy for infrastructure projects of less than $300 million. “This middle market has been left a little bit orphaned,” explained Miles. Mainstream banks deem the markets too risky, and projects are too small for large private infrastructure investors. ImpactA will look to contribute about $15 million to $30 million to each projects it backs. The firm’s first investor is London-based money management firm Legal & General Capital.

  • Catalytic capital. ImpactA expects to invest alongside export credit agencies and development finance institutions, whose mandates are to invest in markets and sectors underserved by private capital. The firm would come in as a market-rate investor behind credit guarantees, or first-loss or subsidized capital. “We’re hoping to be catalytic in the kind of structures and partnerships we’re willing to contemplate, and through our willingness to come up with more innovative risk structures,” explained Miles.
  • Risk and impact. Recent market volatility in many emerging markets has deterred private capital. “What we feel is that infrastructure credit is the least risky way to get exposure in emerging markets,” she said. “We’d love to see a broader willingness in the market to take structured risk, especially in some of the low-rated jurisdictions.” As for the impact, she added, ImpactA is looking in markets where school attendance is affected by poor transit options, health is affected by urban pollution and unclean water, and life-expectancy is affected by inadequate health services. “The impact angle is highly compelling,” Miles said. “These projects speak for themselves.” 
  • Check it out

Aligned Climate Capital invests $6 million in Nyle Systems for heat pumps and green jobs in Maine. Brewer, Maine-based Nyle will use the investment to manufacture commercial-sized heat pump water heaters and create roughly 200 green jobs in the city of Bangor. Nyle’s water heaters work like regular heat pumps that use electricity to move heat from one place to another. The units will be sold to customers to “provide reliable hot water at lower cost,” said Nyle’s Ton Mathissen. Maine is one of the coldest U.S. states, and one of the most oil-dependent, spending $5 billion on average per year on heating oil. Maine had been making progress towards its net-zero and climate goals, even before Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act last August.

  • Clean energy transition. More than 28,000 heat pumps were installed in Maine in 2021, made possible by legislation signed by Governor Janet Mills to incentivize homeowners to transition to cleaner energy sources and to boost local jobs. Maine aims to install 100,000 new heat pumps by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. Brooklyn-based BlocPower raised $154 million last week for citywide heat pump installations in buildings in low-income neighborhoods.
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Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:

  • Charleston, S.C.-based residential solar company Palmetto raised $150 million from TPG Rise Climate to reduce soft costs of solar systems and expand into financing for green homes.
  • France’s Sesamm raised €35 million ($37 million) to help companies keep on top of ESG investment news, trends and regulatory requirements.  
  • Impact VC fund Plesion Capital invested $250,000 in agtech venture Releaf, which is working to improve the climate resilience of Africa’s smallholder farmers and food supply chains.
  • EVC secured £165 million ($198 million) from Denham Sustainable Infrastructure to install 100,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the U.K.

Six Short Signals: What We’re Reading

💦 Tesla’s blue green-light. The EV maker secured rights to build a new “gigafactory” in northern Mexico after a notable concession in the arid border region: a commitment to recycle water used in the assembly process. (Reuters)

🇰🇪 Green entrepreneurship in Kenya. Energy efficiency and storage, sustainable transportation, water management, green buildings and five other climate-related sectors represent a $122.7 billion market opportunity for small businesses in Kenya. (ANDE)

📈 Climate alpha in public markets. Companies on the Carbon Clean 200 list of publicly-traded companies have generated a total return of 91.2% compared to 87.8% for the MSCI ACWI broad market index and 61.3% for the MSCI ACWI/Energy Index of fossil fuel companies. (As You Sow and Corporate Knights)

👩🏽‍🦱🧑🏼‍🦱👨🏾‍🦲👩🏻‍🦰 Diversity in asset management. A group of 600 large asset managers known as the Institutional Allocators for Diversity Equity & Inclusion has partnered with fintech venture Clade to increase placements with 900 diverse fund managers. (Bloomberg)

💲 VC for Black and Latino founders. The list of Black and Latino-led startups that have raised $1 million in venture capital funding grew to 1,128 in 2022, up from 870 the year before. (Harlem Capital)

📜 ESG standards explained. Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures. Carbon Disclosure Project. Duke MBA Daniel Gadigian rounds up the rapidly evolving world of ESG and sustainability regulation and standards. (CASE at Duke)

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Carbon management platform Persefoni promotes Kristina Wyatt to deputy general counsel and chief sustainability officer… 2150 promotes Rahul Parekh to partner and Margarita Skarkou to principal… Advisian is recruiting a low-carbon analyst in New Orleans… Chemonics International has an opening for a remote director of climate finance learning and impact… KeHE Cares Foundation is looking for a senior director of impact investing and financial management in Naperville, Ill.

In New York, Lendistry Capital Partners is looking for a senior associate, UN Women is looking for a sustainable development policy specialist, U.S. Bank has an opening for a sustainable finance product strategist, and the New York State Insurance Fund is hiring a senior ESG and sustainability lead… Align Impact seeks a remote investment research analyst… Rural Innovation Strategies is looking for a remote director of impact consulting.

In London, EBRD seeks an analyst for green partnerships, the International Rescue Committee is recruiting climate research and innovation project manager, and BBC seeks a senior impact officer and impact manager… MacArthur Foundation is hiring a U.K.-based network and operations coordinator, several summer interns and other rolesCNote and Management Leadership for Tomorrow will co-host a webinar on ESG and diversity, equity and inclusion resources, Tuesday, Mar. 21. 

Thank you for your impact.

– March 7, 2023