TGIF, Agents of Impact!
🗣 Mind the gaps. There is a tendency to overestimate change in the short term and underestimate it in the long term. That truism, variously attributed, is no less true of the transformation of finance as in the march of technology. Sarah Kearney and Prime Coalition worked for a decade to mobilize philanthropic investors to back early-stage climate innovations deemed too nascent, too speculative and too capital-intensive for venture capital. Now that commercial capital is flooding into climate tech, Prime is bridging new climate capital gaps, such as first-time deployments of key technologies, as Kearney explained this week. The nonprofit ReFED is taking a page from that playbook to start to bridge the $14 billion gap in investments for food cold chains, rescue, shelf-life extension, and other food-waste reduction solutions.
Before you can build a bridge, you need to map the gaps. ImpactAlpha’s new Climate Finance Tracker, developed by Vibrant Data Labs’ Eric Berlow, visualizes the flow of more than $200 billion to more than 6,000 ventures and organizations. The picture that emerges: For all that capital, solutions for low-income communities, frontier markets, and climate adaptation and resilience remain massively underinvested. In an historic opportunity, ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese reports, U.S. policy breakthroughs are catalyzing investments in energy retrofits of old buildings, community solar, climate-resilient infrastructure and other hard-to-fund sectors. “You can’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions in America without a significant investment in communities of color, working-class white communities, communities that are by definition underserved,” BlocPower’s Donnell Baird said on this week’s Agents of Impact Call (watch the video replay). Building retrofits, EV charging infrastructure, heavy industry and low-carbon agriculture, and more – “these are trillion-dollar opportunities and markets,” Baird said. “And so catalytic capital is critical.” That’s a short-term bridge to long-term change. – David Bank.
Other must-reads this week on ImpactAlpha:
- ESG hits back. Agents of Impact are reclaiming the ESG narrative as pro-business and pro-worker, writes Fran Seegull of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.
- Muni impact. ImpactAlpha’s Dennis Price explains how a major insurer of municipal bonds is tapping data on community vulnerability to manage climate risk.
- Climate and crypto. The Ethereum “merge” points the way to a carbon-free blockchain, reports ImpactAlpha’s newest team member, Dan Keeler.
🎧 Impact Briefing. ImpactAlpha correspondent Shefali Anand joins host Brian Walsh from Delhi to discuss the surge of climate and impact investing in India. Plus, the headlines.
- India ink. India’s pledge to meet half of its energy needs with renewables by 2030 is driving a climate investment boom, Anand reports from Delhi. “Capital goes where entrepreneurs are going, and increasingly entrepreneurs are veering towards climate,” said Riddhi Vora of the Avaana Climate and Sustainability Fund. Altogether, equity capital, green bonds and other types of climate investments in India surged to roughly $20 billion in 2021, reports ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering. Notable: Only one-quarter of India’s climate investors identify as impact investors.
- Listen to this week’s episode, and follow all of ImpactAlpha’s podcasts on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.
Introducing the Climate Finance Tracker
Mapping climate opportunities. Where is capital most impactful in combating climate change? What kind of capital is needed where? And who is already funding what? Using machine learning and network theory, Vibrant Data Labs and ImpactAlpha, in collaboration with Crunchbase, Candid, Primer.ai, Sideporch and One Earth developed the Climate Finance Tracker to help answer those questions. For more on how Vibrant Data Labs’ Eric Berlow built the Tracker, read his Q&A with ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese.
The Week’s Dealflow
Deal spotlight: Exit to stakeholders. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and his family have given away the $3 billion outdoor apparel company. The new owners will earmark the company’s roughly $100 million in annual revenue for climate action and environmental preservation. How it works: the Patagonia Purpose Trust will own all of the company’s voting stock (2% of the total stock). The Holdfast Collective, a new nonprofit organization, will own the other 98% of non-voting stock. Profits not reinvested into the business will transfer as dividends to the collective to finance nature-based solutions and biodiversity protection. Ventura, Calif.-based Patagonia will remain a B Corp. and continue to donate 1% of sales to grassroots activists.
- Agents of Impact. The Chouinard family will oversee the Patagonia Purpose Trust’s board of directors. They will also guide the philanthropic work by the Holdfast Collective. “If we have any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now, it demands all of us doing all we can with the resources we have,” said Chouinard, the Yosemite rock climber-turned-businessman who launched Patagonia almost 50 years ago. “As the business leader I never wanted to be, I’m doing my part.”
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Fund news. British International Investment-backed Endure Capital, in Egypt, secured $50 million for its venture fund’s first close to invest in early-stage impact startups in Africa… Citi is ramping up its impact fund to $500 million… Janngo Capital secured €34 million for its African gender-lens fund… Ocean 14 Capital raised €100 million to advance the blue economy… U.S.-based SER Capital Partners closed its first fund at $475 million and will invest in sustainability-focused middle-market businesses and infrastructure… Energy Impact Partners raised €390 million for its first European fund.
Impact tech. Albedo secured $48 million to develop low-flying satellites to collect imagery for agriculture, energy and other industries… JusticeText scored $2.2 million to improve judicial outcomes for low-income criminal defendants by making video evidence more transparent… NeoCarbon in Berlin raised $1.3 million for its direct air capture kits that can be retrofitted in industrial cooling towers to catch carbon emissions… Nigeria’s blockchain-based fintech startup Bitmama scored $2 million to handle digital payments for Africa’s underbanked.
Clean energy. Odyssey Energy raised $5.3 million for its distributed energy data platform that helps partners in developing countries finance, build and operate clean energy projects… Tesseract raised $78 million to help consumers in Europe lower energy bills.
Creative economy. Resources for Every Creator, or REC, snagged $2 million from Sean “Diddy” Combs to build a creative studio incubator for independent creators in Miami.
Education and skills. Edupia snagged $14 million to provide online classes and tutoring to students in Vietnam’s small cities and rural areas… U.K.-based Code First Girls secured €5.2 million to provide tech jobs and upskilling opportunities to women at no cost.
Electric vehicles. Battle Motors raked in $150 million in Series B funding to electrify dump trucks, garbage trucks and other heavy work vehicles… Dutch green mobility startup Lightyear scored €81 million to make long-range solar electric cars… TeraWatt Infrastructure raked in more than $1 billion for EV charging for commercial fleets.
Farmer finance. German agtech startup Klim raised $6.6 million, led by Green Generation Fund, to help farmers transition to regenerative agricultural practices… Sahyadri Farms raised nearly $40 million to digitalize India’s smallholder farmers.
Investment tech. Green Exchange, a public benefit corp., seeks regulatory approval for an exchange for green investors and sustainability-minded companies… Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle-backed Ethic raised a $50 million growth investment.
The Week’s Talent
Claudine Emeott, who leads the Salesforce Ventures Impact Fund, and Bain Capital Double Impact’s Todd Cook, will join Impact Capital Managers’ board of directors… Ben Cooper, ex- of Tideline, joins The Bridgespan Group as manager of impact investing… TBLI Group’s Robert Rubinstein joins Sustainable Network as a part-time advisory board member.
The Week’s Jobs
The Bridgespan Group is looking for a remote editor… Tides seeks a remote corporate social impact advisor… Boston Consulting Group is looking for an associate or consultant for climate and sustainability… Sorenson Impact is recruiting a director of fundraising… Inclusive Prosperity Capital seeks a human resources manager… Bain Capital is looking for an ESG and sustainability manager… Activate is hiring a CEO and several other roles.
World Resources Institute is looking for a research manager for its electric school bus initiative with the Bezos Earth Fund… The Environmental Defense Fund seeks a liaison for community engagement with historically Black colleges and universities and seeks a manager of energy transition, focusing on U.S. policy… Luminate seeks a global vice president of global programs.
In New York: Vera Institute of Justice is hiring an associate… Social justice firm North Star Fund is hiring a storytelling associate… UNICEF USA is hiring an impact investing associate/senior associate for its impact fund… Anheuser-Busch is looking for a director of community impact… James Lima Planning + Development is looking for a research analyst for policy and economic development… BlackRock is hiring a sustainable investing research and strategy associate/vice president.
In Washington, D.C.: Living Cities is recruiting an assistant director for equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems… The Nature Conservancy seeks a corporate engagement advisor for biodiversity… Results for Development is recruiting a program associate. In Virginia, Virginia Community Capital is hiring a small business lender and a commercial loan closer.
Elsewhere in the U.S.: The city of Detroit seeks an assistant director of sustainability… North Sky Capital is hiring an investment analyst in Minneapolis… The Connecticut Green Bank seeks a manager/senior manager of clean energy finance in Stamford… Bridgewater Associates seeks a program manager for sustainable investing in Westport, Conn… ECMC Foundation is recruiting a senior associate for its Education Innovation Ventures program in Los Angeles.
Internationally: MSCI is looking for an ESG controversies specialist in Toronto… IMPACT Partners seeks an investment director in Copenhagen… Acumen is hiring a senior associate for impact in London… World Impact Foundation is looking for a part-time investment officer in Peru… McKinsey seeks a green finance consultant in Singapore.
That’s a wrap. Have a wonderful weekend.
– Sept. 16, 2022