ImpactAlpha, August 2 – Between the launch and the close is the raise.
Even impact fund managers with a compelling thesis, a solid pipeline and sometimes an enviable track record spend an inordinate amount of time fundraising. Every day spent pitching or presenting slide decks is a day not spent helping portfolio companies get the resources they need to scale their impact.
For Agents of Impact, helping impact fund managers – and especially first-time, diverse and emerging managers – to spend less time raising money and more time helping companies succeed is another way to accelerate impact (see, “Maximizing the impact of catalytic capital when supporting emerging fund managers”).
Yet angel investors, family offices, financial advisors and wealth managers may not know which firms and fund managers are in the market seeking capital. Lists and rankings may not indicate which funds are open to new investments. A welter of securities laws regulate whether and how fund managers can advertise themselves or “solicit” investments from limited partners.
With help from our partners at Realize Impact, we will be presenting a sampling of impact funds and companies that, based on public or accessible information, we believe to be in active fundraising mode. The inaugural edition of The LIIST (August 2022) includes:
- rePlant Capital’s evergreen private-debt Soil Fund;
- Renew West’s carbon offsets business;
- Gigawatt Global’s fund for renewable energy in Africa;
- Beneficial Returns’ Reciprocity Fund to supports social enterprises in indigenous communities in Latin America and Southeast Asia;
- Denkyem Coop’s community loan fund for Black-owned businesses;
- CNote’s Wisdom Fund to support women of color; and
- Maya Capital’s early-stage venture capital fund for Brazil and Latin America.
Realize Impact helps holders of any donor-advised fund make impact investments through “philanthropic investment grants.” As recommended by donors, Realize Impact has invested in some of the funds and companies included in The LIIST, as noted below. If you’d like to invest your philanthropy, or if you’d like to co-invest alongside them with your savings, let them know.
Note: The LIIST and this post is based on publicly available or accessible information, has not been further reviewed by the managers nor verified by third parties, are not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness and should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations. Nothing in this post shall constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities.
Structure: Public benefit corporation
Raised: $3.5 million (Seed)
Raising: $6 million (Series A with a rolling close; $1.3 million raised to date)
Domiciled in: United States
Investing in: North America
rePlant Capital is a climate finance firm that aims to scale regenerative agriculture that supports ecological benefits like soil health and water and biodiversity improvements. rePlant is deploying capital across the agricultural value chain through a series of funds.
By collaborating with mission-aligned investors, agricultural producers, and technological innovators, it connects farmers to capital, food and beverage companies and technical support required for long-term systemic change.
rePlant’s first fund, an evergreen private-debt fund called Soil Fund, provides financing to farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture practices. Soil Fund provides farmer-friendly financing, which includes, for example, blended-capital structures to provide farmers with below-market-rate loans and no-interest loans.
Soil Fund seeks to measure both the ecological and economic impacts of each deal to ensure that projects improve climate outcomes as well as farmer profitability.
Soil Fund’s lending pipeline is composed of farmers and ranchers managing a variety of crops and livestock, including nuts, produce, dairy, meat and grains. Its first loans were made in partnership with Danone.
rePlant is raising a Series A round, primarily from individuals and family offices. Investors can participate via personal accounts, donor-advised funds and other vehicles. For more information, see replantcapital.com or write [email protected].
(Disclosure: Realize Impact has invested into both of rePlant Capital’s fundraising rounds—the Seed and its currently open Series A—from a pair of donor-investors.)
Raised / Committed: $2.2 million
Raising: $4 million, with under $1 million available
Domiciled: U.S., Delaware C Corp
Investing in: U.S., Peru, Papua New Guinea
RenewWest creates and manages large-scale ecosystem regeneration projects. The company supplies independently-verified, scientifically-rigorous, and social benefit-focused carbon offsets to leading global ESG-focused companies. Its team is composed of experienced carbon market and project experts, entrepreneurs and foresters.
To date, RenewWest has developed one of the largest single-site, carbon-focused reforestation projects in the U.S. and has two larger projects in the works. RenewWest’s project pipeline includes up to eight million acres of conservation and reforestation work internationally and accounts for 660 million tons of sequestered CO2. Projects are based in the U.S. Peru, Mexico and Papua New Guinea.
RenewWest works closely with local communities and landowners to drive value for their “natural assets,” while incentivizing restoration and conservation. The projects are designed to deploy dollars into communities, increase wages, and generate multi-generational revenue.
On the buy-side, RenewWest works with large buyers of high-quality credits. It has landed one large contract and says it is over-subscribed on the project demand-side. Demand is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
While carbon is the key revenue driver, the company looks to highlight biodiversity, water quality and ecosystem services to generate higher returns as the importance of nature restoration increases.
RenewWest’s investors include two climate-focused strategic investors—a large family office and a neobank.
The firm is scaling its team to increase project bandwidth, onboard new projects and develop technology tools to help analyze and execute on projects more efficiently. For more information, see https://www.renewwest.com/ or mail [email protected].
Raised: $20 million ($13M equity + $7M debt)
Raising: $45-$70 million total
Domiciled in: Netherlands
Investing in: Africa
Gigawatt Global is a Jerusalem-based, Dutch-registered company that provides access to renewable energy in Africa while also supporting humanitarian and social causes including women’s empowerment, health, education, access to clean water, and food security.
Gigawatt Global’s pipeline includes solar, wind and hydro electricity. In Rwanda, it delivered the first utility-scale solar electricity interconnection under the White House’s Power Africa program.
The company’s team includes Israelis, Palestinians, British and local African team members in its active markets. The firm works in partnership with governments in all markets where its projects are based.
It has been honored by the U.S. State Department as a finalist for the Secretary of State’s ACE awards in Corporate Excellence and Sustainability.
Gigawatt Global is backed by American investors. It is exploring strategic partnerships at the platform-level and has signed a term sheet with an investor consortium for a Series A rounds—its first institutional round of investment. For more information, see Gigawattglobal.com, or write [email protected].
(Disclosure: Realize Impact has invested a few times into Gigawatt Global from a handful of donor-investors.)
Structure: Recoverable grants
Investing in: Latin America and Southeast Asia
Beneficial Returns’ The Reciprocity Fund supports social enterprises that create economic opportunity and sustainable livelihoods to promote prosperity among indigenous communities in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Indigenous peoples represent 5% of the world’s population but account for 15% of the world’s extreme poor. They own and live on just 25% of land but safeguary 80% of global biodiversity.
Recoverable grants can be used to circulate capital to indigenous social enterprises on favorable terms, then can be returned to investors for future grantmaking
The Reciprocity Fund uses seven-year recoverable grants from impact investors and philanthropic institutions to make transformational loans to social enterprises serving Indigenous communities. At the end of the seven years, grants are returned, less a pro rata share of any losses.
To date, the fund has loaned more than $1 million to fifteen enterprises, most of which work in the agriculture sector, like AFIMAD. Some of the fund’s investors include The Dunn Family Charitable Foundation, RSF Social Finance, SK2 Fund, ImpactAssets and Realize Impact.
Structure: Fund or Community loan fund
Raised: $290,000 (recoverable grants) $180,000 (unrestricted grants)
Raising: $2 million in grants, recoverable grants, equity and debt
Domiciled in: U.S.
Investing in: Washington State
Denkyem Coop is a Washington-based social purpose corporation that provides affordable loans to Black-owned businesses. Denkyem applies character-based underwriting and offers revenue-based financing for growing businesses in Washington state that are focused on improving their communities.
Denkyem has applied for CDFI certification, as well as SSBCI (State Small Business Community Investment) opportunities.
CNote Wisdom Fund
Structure: Fixed-income fund
Deployed: $15 million
Raising: Open-ended, no limit
Investment Minimum: $100,000
Rate: 1.00% APY
Domiciled in: California, U.S.
Investing in: U.S.
CNote is a women-led impact investing platform that makes diversified community investments via federally-certified community lenders to increase economic mobility and financial inclusion.
The fintech company’s founders believe that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to pursue financial freedom, and that everyone can play a part in building a more equitable world by changing where we invest our cash. CNote’s tech-enabled investment platform offers cash and fixed-income opportunities at scale for investors.
CNote’s Wisdom Fund is a vehicle designed for accredited investors to support women of color.
CNote, a certified B Corp., was ranked as one of the top impact companies in 2021 by Real Leaders and has been listed for the past two years on ImpactAssets 50. It has also been awarded the Best Women-Owned Business Award by the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles
Structure: Early-stage venture capital fund
Domiciled in: Brazil
Investing in: Brazil and Latin America
Maya Capital’s ambition is to transform Latin America through entrepreneurship. The company, which was co-founded by Monica Saggioro and Lara Leman, calls itself a “startup investing in startups,” with a focus on long-term partnerships. “We empower diverse talent with a fearless passion about driving systemic change.”
Maya is raising its second fund with a target of $100 million. Its first fund, launched in 2018, raised $40 million fund and invested in 29 startups, including Kovi or Gupy in Brazil and now-unicorns NotCo in Chile and Merama in Mexico. For more information, write [email protected] or see https://www.maya.capital/
Maya Capital co-founders Monica Saggioro and Lara Leman.