TGIF, Agents of Impact!
🗣 Through the looking glass. Sometimes a lens isn’t wide enough to take in the entire landscape. On this International Women’s Day, we had to pull our gender lens way, way back to appreciate women’s centrality and leadership in every urgent challenge. Only when we rounded up our Liist of funds raising capital this month did we realize that five of the seven are led by women (and even male managers are crowding into gender+health, like New Ventures’ Rodrigo Villar who is raising $20 million to finance women’s health startups in Latin America). “You have to infuse what you teach with love,” Laura Ortiz Montemayor of newly launched Regenera Ventures, tells Jessica Pothering (see Agent of Impact, below). Fellow Agents Suzanne Biegel (here) and Sana Kapadia (here) of 2X Global infuse the gender+climate thesis with love in their report on the climate solutions to be found in frontline communities in both rich and poor countries. And in a guest post, Aspen Digital’s Elizabeth Vivirito and Hazami Barmada argue that gender+tech can be harnessed to recoup the $1 trillion that has been shaved from the GDP of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade by women’s exclusion from digital opportunities.
Women like Impact Engine’s Priya Parrish are driving market shifts and systemic changes, as you can hear for yourself in our provocative conversation on this week’s Impact Briefing podcast. On a panel last week, Parrish, along with Elevar Equity’s Amie Patel, Corbin Capital’s Courtney Birnbaum and RPCK’s Chintan Panchal offered eight ways to transform asset management for impact. Attention to gender+climate is essential to a just energy transition in India, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes climate financing a major initiative for the G-20, as Bill Spindle reports to kick off his climate coverage for ImpactAlpha. Gender diversity and women’s leadership is central to purpose trusts and other stakeholder governance structures advocated by Jasper van Brakel of RSF Social Finance. And women farmers, small business operators and capital providers are core to business ecosystems that are lifting livelihoods in Africa, as Small Foundation’s Karina Wong writes as part of our Sustaining Impactseries with the Catalytic Capital Consortium. The truism is nonetheless true: for Agents of Impact, every day is International Women’s Day. – David Bank
The Week’s Podcast
🎧 Impact Briefing. Impact Engine’s Priya Parrish joins David Bank to explain how purpose-built asset management firms deliver better impact outcomes than ones that are merely purpose-driven. Host Brian Walsh has the headlines.
- Listen to this week’s episode, and follow all of ImpactAlpha’s podcasts on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.
The Week’s Agent of Impact
Laura Ortiz Montemayor, Regenera Ventures and SVX Mexico: Stewarding capital for Mexico’s regenerative economy. Laura Ortiz Montemayor is not on board with decarbonization. “Carbon is key to life. It’s a cycle that we need to balance,” she says. “That’s very different from decarbonizing.” At the impact advisory firm SVX Mexico, Ortiz and her team have helped direct $45 million into strategies and projects in the “regenerative economy.” With the launch of Regenera Ventures, she’s looking to raise $25 million to make equity investments to support 18,000 smallholder farmers in Mexico. The fund aims to empower farmers and local agribusiness owners as expert land stewards rather than financial beneficiaries. Most financial transactions “originate from fear,” Ortiz observes. “That’s not going to get us biodiversity outcomes.”
Ortiz has seen a promising narrative and capital shift in the dozen years since she left investment banking and helped launch SVX Mexico. More than $1 trillion is moving annually into climate solutions, though that’s still far below the trillions needed each year to meet the Paris Climate Agreement. The problem, says Ortiz, is that much of that capital favors costly technology over the best solution: nature. Smallholder farmers are the largest collective landowners in Mexico. They also have healthier soils and stronger biodiversity than large commercial farms, says Ortiz. Regenera strives to offer “trust-based” financing terms that it co-creates with such investees. “It’s about what we are trying to build that’s different, with a regenerative mindset,” she says. Natural systems are complex, but they offer “the greatest climate mitigation potential. The more we embrace the complexity, and nature’s intelligence, the more we will be aligned with it.”
- Keep reading, “Laura Ortiz Montemayor: Stewarding capital for Mexico’s regenerative economy,” by Jessica Pothering on ImpactAlpha, and share the story on Instagram.
The Week’s Dealflow
Deal spotlight: Representation matters. At your Oscar party this weekend, keep an eye, and ear, out for Rihanna. The Agent of Impact received her first Oscar nomination for Lift Me Up, her song in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She will be performing in front of co-star Angela Bassett, who’s up for best supporting actress as queen Ramonda. Only 22 Oscars have gone to Black actors and actresses in the Academy Awards’ 95-year history. This week, Charles King’s production company Macro raised $90 million, led by BlackRock’s Impact Opportunities Fund, to amplify diverse voices in Hollywood. Content focused on people of color, “has historically been in short supply but high demand,” said BlackRock’s Pam Chan. Closing the representation gap for people of color in the TV and film industry could unlock more than $10 billion in annual revenues, according to McKinsey & Co. Since King launched Macro in 2015, the company has delivered Oscar-winning films including Fences and Judas and the Black Messiah. King and his wife, Stacey Walker King, will celebrate the raise, and their record, at their own pre-Oscar party in Los Angeles. Share this post.
Carbon tech. Sumday, a carbon accounting software company based in Tasmania, raised $2 million… ViridiCO2 in London snagged £3 million to recycle CO2 from the chemicals industry into new products, like laundry detergent.
Conservation finance. Aspiration and One Small Planet back conservation venture RenewWest.
Education and skills. Kai XR scored $1.6 million for virtual reality-based teaching for grade school students in the U.S… Koolskools raised $960,000 to help schools in Morocco provide online learning, monitor student progress and digitize school records… IDB Lab backed Quotanda to finance digital upskilling for women and youth in Mexico… RangeForce secured $20 million to upskill workers with cybersecurity tech skills.
Electric vehicles. Brooklyn-based itselectric secured $2.2 million to install curbside electric vehicle charging stations… EVC secured £165 million to install 100,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the U.K.
Energy transition. Residential solar company Palmetto raised $150 million from TPG Rise Climate… Energy and infrastructure investor EIG staked $90 million to solar energy developer Industrial Sun… Shifted Energy scored $4.3 million to deploy low-cost energy products to low-income households.
Fund news. Australia’s Minderoo Foundation invested in the Global Fund for Coral Reefs… Muus Climate Partners raised $50 million for its second early-stage climate tech fund… Blue Earth Capital invested $15 million in India-based impact investment firm Lok Capital’s fourth fund… The U.K. government is making an additional £880 million from forgotten bank accounts available to social enterprises via its Dormant Assets Scheme.
Green infrastructure. Aligned Climate Capital invested $6 million in Nyle Systems for heat pumps and green jobs in Maine… ImpactA scored backing from Legal & General to invest in emerging markets infrastructure.
Inclusive communities. RBC Global Asset Management raised $50 million from Cadence Design Systems to invest in affordable housing, homeownership and small business opportunities for historically-excluded communities in places where Cadence has operations.
Small business finance. DreamSpring secured $5.3 million from Kauffman Foundation for small business lending in Kansas City… Miami-based Marco raised $8.2 million in equity and $200 million in credit to provide trade financing for small businesses in Latin America and the U.S.
Smallholder farmers. Impact VC fund Plesion Capital invested $250,000 in Nigerian agtech venture Releaf… MCE secured $19.5 million to boost smallholder farmers’ climate resilience.
Sustainable business. France’s Sesamm raised €35 million to help companies keep on top of ESG investment news, trends and regulatory requirements.
The Week’s Talent
Kieron Boyle, ex- of Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Foundation, was named chief executive officer of the Impact Investing Institute… Carbon management platform Persefonipromoted Kristina Wyatt to deputy general counsel and chief sustainability officer… 2150 promotedRahul Parekh to partner and Margarita Skarkou to principal.
Saurabh Bajaj, ex- of Proterra Investment Partners, joined LeapFrog Investments’ climate investment team as director of investments. Katherine Owens, a former senior manager of climate change and sustainability services at EY, joins as associate director of impact measurement and management. Nimish Desai, ex- of Relativity Investment Management, joined as an associate director. Akshi Sharma, also ex- of Relativity, joins as an investment associate.
The Week’s Jobs
💼 Share the week’s impact jobs. Want to post a job in The Brief?Drop us a note.
In New York, the Global Impact Investing Networkseeks a database manager, Lendistry Capital Partnersis looking for a senior associate, UN Womenis looking for a sustainable development policy specialist, U.S. Bankhas an opening for a sustainable finance product strategist, and the New York State Insurance Fundis hiring a senior ESG and sustainability lead.
The World Bankis looking for a lead climate finance specialist… The Pew Charitable Trusts seeks a conservation finance senior officer and an officer for its conservation trust fund in Washington, D.C… University of Virginiais recruiting for the Donna and Richard Tadler University Professorship of Entrepreneurship in Charlottesville, Va.
Other U.S. locations
Packard Foundationseeks a mission investment analyst in Los Altos, Calif… The Andrews Grouphas an opening for an impact investing manager in Michigan… KeHE Cares Foundationis looking for a senior director of impact investing and financial management in Naperville, Ill.
Low Carbonis recruiting an investments manager in San Francisco… Advisianis recruiting a low-carbon analyst in New Orleans… Nasdaqseeks senior climate analyst… Community Investment Managementis recruiting a chief operating officer in San Francisco… MacArthur Foundationis hiring several summer interns and other roles in Chicago.
EBRDseeks an analyst for green partnerships… The International Rescue Committeeis recruiting a climate research and innovation project manager… BBCseeks a senior impact officer and impact manager.
Net Purposeis recruiting an environmental impact analyst… Bates Wellis looking for an impact finance associate… Danoneis looking for a sustainability and social innovation manager… Cardanois recruiting a senior sustainability and ESG research analyst.
Other global locations
Kiva has an opening for an impact investment manager, an impact data manager and an impact content manager in Bogota… Sagana Capitalis hiring a remote investment manager in Spain… New Storyis hiring an impact investment director in Mexico City… Alterna Impact seeks an impact fellow in Guatemala.
Allianz Investment Managementseeks an intern for ESG and sustainable investments in Munich… Graca Machel Trust is looking for a part-time analyst for its investment team and other roles in South Africa… The Paul Ramsay Foundationis hiring impact analysts in Sydney… LGTis looking for 20 or more global impact fellows.
Tiffany Manuel’s TheCaseMadeis hiring a leadership coaching and training director or senior director… Rural Innovation Strategiesis looking for a director of impact consulting… Align Impactseeks an investment research analyst… Starbucksseeks a senior manager of enterprise sustainability and water stewardship… Accionhas an opening for a director of public relations… Chemonics Internationalhas an opening for a director of climate finance learning and impact… 2X Global is hiring a climate lead.
That’s a wrap. Have a wonderful weekend.
– March 10, 2022