The Brief | July 7, 2023

The Week in impact investing: Leaning in

The team at


TGIF, Agents of Impact! 

🗣 Navigating complexity. Basic challenges can often be maddeningly complex. In this holiday-shortened week, celebrate the creativity, resilience and grit that Agents of Impact bring to the work every day.

  • Racial equity investors lean in. In the wake of last week’s US Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action, investors are reaffirming their commitment to building a more equitable society, report David Bank and Dennis Price. “It’s disappointing, but we’re right back at work,” Illumen Capital’s Daryn Dodson told ImpactAlpha. “I and many others have shared the need to focus on returns, stay focused, and build remarkable businesses,” said Melissa Bradley of 1863 Ventures.
  • Family forests fight climate change. Family owners of small forests can tap carbon markets for revenues to manage their land to sequester carbon, support biodiversity and reduce wildfire risk under a program launched by The Nature Conservancy and the American Forest Foundation, reports journalist Marcello Rossi for ImpactAlpha.
  • Communities connect to capital for food, water and housing. The refrain of “too much money, not enough projects” rang hollow to many delegates of last month’s Salzburg Global Seminar, particularly those from the Global South, reports David Bank from Austria. “Where we come from, there isn’t capital,” said Empowa’s Glen Jordan, who is working on affordable housing in Mozambique (hear Jordan discuss the work on this week’s Impact Briefing).

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  • Impact lineup. Speakers in Tideline’s Compass Series include Megan Reilly Cayten of Climate Asset Management, Rodney Foxworth of Worthmore, Laura Houët of CMS, Dimple Sahni of Anthos Fund and Asset Management, Eddie Madzikanda of Temasek, and Jane Bieneman of Tideline. Register here.

The Week’s Podcast

🎧 Impact Briefing. David Bank chats with Empowa’s Glen Jordan in the latest conversation from the “Connecting capital to communities” gathering at the Salzburg Global Seminar, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Host Brian Walsh has the headlines. 

Empowa: Affordable housing for Mozambique’s informal economy. In Mozambique, a country of 32 million, only some 600 families have mortgage loans. For nearly everyone else, home ownership has been far out of reach. “When there’s no formality, there’s no identification, income is informal, the mortgage product just doesn’t work,” says Jordan. “So we have to turn it around and create products that meet the needs of the informal market, and create structures that enable the capital to flow to those structures in a way that’s cost effective.” Netherlands-based social enterprise Empowa is a capital provider to developers like Casa Real, which is building climate-resilient houses that sell for $10,000 each. Empowa’s rent-to-own model lets residents build equity over time. 

For Zimbabwean-born Jordan, affordable home ownership is a means to an end. “How do we alleviate poverty? How do we enable people who aren’t formally employed, who are hustling? How do we get them to create wealth?” he asks. “It’s not because people don’t have money. It’s because of the systems.” Empowa uses blockchain technology to record payments and transfer value to residents, creating an immutable record. Rather than rely on credit ratings or income statements, Empowa’s technology “enables us to be forward-looking,” he says. The project’s pilot has housed 30 families, who already have gained about 5% equity in their homes, with a 99% payment rate. Resident describe “the ecstasy of that opportunity that they never thought they would have in their lifetimes,” Jordan says. “The demand is almost unlimited.” 

The Week’s Dealflow

Deal spotlight: Avaada’s big push to green India’s ammonia and hydrogen production. Green ammonia and green hydrogen are among the highest impact opportunities for the net-zero transition. The fuels are key to sustainable shifts in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation. Mumbai-based Avaada Group scored $1.3 billion from Brookfield Renewables and others to ramp up production for green ammonia, methanol and hydrogen, along with solar manufacturing and renewable power generation. India is aiming to meet 10% of global green hydrogen demand by 2030.

  • Policy push. India included more than $2 billion in incentives in its National Green Hydrogen Mission to ramp up domestic production of green hydrogen. To drive demand, the government plans to set minimum usage requirements for green hydrogen and derivative products, like ammonia for fertilizer. A report from Systemiq identified public mandates for green ammonia use in fertilizer as one of three “super leverage points” that could tip the scales for emerging clean technologies. India’s policy interventions could bump the green share of its total hydrogen demand from 16% to 46% by 2030.
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Clean energy. Nuru secured over $40 million for clean energy access in the Democratic Republic of the Congo… Steady Energy scored €2 million in seed financing to build a modular nuclear reactor by 2030… US-based Actis will sell South African clean energy producer BTE Renewables to Engie and Meridiam. 

Carbon markets. Treebula, a Swedish online marketplace for trading forest-based carbon credits, raised €2.4 million.

Inclusive fintech. Agel raised pre-seed funding to provide Islamic finance-compliant credit to merchants in Egypt… Tuma, a DRC-based fintech venture that helps merchants receive payments via smartphones, snagged $500,000. 

Ownership economy. Everytable raised $25 million to open new locations for food entrepreneurs of color.

The Week’s Talent

ESG legal authority Paul Watchman died at age 70… Founding members of Impact Capital Managers’ new LP advisory council include Mark Berryman of Caprock, Cynthia Muller of Kellogg Foundation, and Sanjeev Krishnan of S2G Ventures and Builders Vision, among others.

The Week’s Jobs

💼 Share the week’s impact jobs. Want to post a job in The Brief? Drop us a note.

US East Coast

In New York: JPMorgan Chase seeks a VP of impact venture investing on its impact finance and advisory team… RBC Capital Markets is recruiting a VP of portfolio management renewable energy tax credit syndications… Green Rock Energy Partners has an opening for a portfolio senior analyst. 

Opportunity Finance Network is looking for a development services senior associate in Washington, DC… Raymond James is hiring a sustainable investing director in St. Petersburg, Fla… MassMutual Ventures is looking for a climate tech investment associate in Boston. 

Other locations

Tides is hiring an impact investing vice president in San Francisco and a senior accountant for social ventures.… ImpactAssets Capital Partners has an opening for an investment strategist… Open Road Alliance is on the hunt for an investment officer to to source, underwrite and manage loans in the Open Road Impact Fund… Cycle Capital seeks an impact analyst in Montreal. 

That’s a wrap. Have a wonderful weekend. 

– July 7, 2023