TGIF, Agents of Impact!
🗣 Do the work. “We’ve been sent here to finish the job,” President Biden said near the beginning of this week’s State of the Union address. Lowering the cost of insulin, fighting climate change, building affordable housing, guaranteeing universal pre-school, implementing police reforms, expanding career training – before he was done, Biden had used the phrase “finish the job” a dozen times. It may well have been a tryout for his re-election slogan. But more broadly, the formulation suggests that ambitious policies, promising solutions and best practices can take root, scale up and shift power, if only we don’t give up too soon. The job is to turn the boom in small-business starts into long-term economic mobility for Black Americans, as ImpactAlpha’s Roodgally Senatus reported this week. The job is to bring impact measurement and management to private-equity and other legacy investment managers, as Vistria’s Kelly McCarthy explained to Dennis Price. The job is to change the rules (and the risk ratings) to root out systemic racism in the $4 trillion municipal bond market.
At ImpactAlpha, the job is to identify, amplify and interrogate the Agents of Impact who are doing the work, and to stitch a narrative that connects the dots and the players. In this month’s Liist, we highlighted seven firms actively raising capital for creative and catalytic strategies in Latin America, India and the U.S. We parsed the annual impact reports of another five managers, including Candide, MicroVest and Echoing Green (here’s the first batch). We reported on the 10 racial-equity startups in Common Future’s new accelerator, along with two dozen other impact deals. We bold-faced a dozen Agents who changed jobs and more than 50 financial institutions and others looking for impact talent (send us your openings). “I’m proud of how America at last is stepping up to the challenge,” the president said, in this case about fighting climate change. “But there’s so much more to do. We’ve got to finish the job.” – David Bank
The Week’s Impact Briefing
🎧 On this week’s podcast: Fran Seegull of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance joins David Bank to talk about jobs, climate and communities in this week’s State of the Union address and to preview Agents of Impact Call No. 49 (see below). Plus, the headlines.
- Listen to this week’s episode, and follow all of ImpactAlpha’s podcasts on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.
👋 The Call: Year of the ‘S.’ Social factors have often taken a backseat to environmental and governance issues when it comes to ESG investing. This year, human capital, worker ownership and community resiliency are at the top of the impact policy agenda. Special guests Cambria Allen Ratzlaff of JUST Capital, Jesse Van Tol of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Jack Moriarty of Ownership America join Fran Seegull and David Bank to explore policy strategies and actionable opportunities, Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm London. RSVP today.
The Week’s Chart: Heat Pumps
Inflection point. Heat pumps surpassed gas-fired furnaces in sales in the U.S. last year, even before tax credits of up to $2,000 kicked in on Jan. 1 under the Inflation Reduction Act. Some states, such as chilly Maine, offer additional rebates and incentives and heat pump sales are surging (the nonprofit Rewiring America has a handy IRA tool to calculate your potential savings). The electric-powered pumps heat and cool homes and buildings by exchanging hot and cold air, rather than by burning fossil fuels, and can also heat water for your showers and dishes. McKinsey estimates that global adoption of heat pumps to replace traditional boilers and furnaces could cut carbon emissions by three gigatons per year. – Amy Cortese
The Week’s Dealflow
Deal spotlight: Investors rally behind India’s EV startups. It seems like there’s an announcement every week about new financing for an electric-vehicle startup in India. EVs account for only 2% of vehicles on the road in India, but sales nearly tripled last year as the government pushed to get more EVs on the road and install the charging infrastructure to support them. Most sales were of two- and three-wheel vehicles. India wants to have 80 million EVs on the road by 2030, representing 30% of private cars, 70% of commercial vehicles, 40% of buses, and 80% of two- and three-wheelers. In its budget, announced last week, the government doubles spending for its “Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicles” policy, or FAME. Another driver of adoption: soaring fuel prices that are squeezing Indian consumers.
- EV investing. Ventures supporting the transition to electric raised nearly $1.7 billion last year, a jump of 117% from 2021. Big deals: two-wheel manufacturer Ather Energy’s $128 million Series E round and Ola Electric’s $200 million Series C round. U.K. development finance institution British International Investment is throwing $250 million into EV manufacturing via automaker Mahindra & Mahindra. In 2021, TPG Rise Climate announced a billion-dollar bet on India’s EV market in partnership with Tata Motors (for context, see, “Investors in India are betting on climate tech’s financial opportunity“). Most of the EV startups raising capital are small, having pulled in a few million dollars in funding or less.
- Building the ecosystem. This week, Gurgaon-based Zypp Electric snagged $25 million for electric delivery fleets for India’s e-commerce companies. Simple Energy raised $20 million for low-cost electric scooters. And Pune-based Bike Bazaar closed $30 million for EV financing in India’s rural markets. The company is one a few in the EV ecosystem with an explicit social impact focus, aiming to reach more low-income Indians in second and third tier cities, improve mobility access for women, and ensure vehicles are sustainably discarded at the end of their lives.
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Clean energy. Zeitview raised $55 million to inspect wind and solar-energy assets… Oikocredit provided $5 million in debt to Yellow, a pay-as-you-go solar provider based in Uganda… Baltimore-based Sunstone Credit raised $20 million to provide loans to businesses wanting to switch to solar energy… SunFi in Nigeria scored $2.3 million to help households enroll in lease-to-own and monthly subscription solar energy plans… Israel’s NT-Tao clinched $28 million to develop a prototype for small-scale nuclear fusion plants.
Climate tech. Germany is rolling out a €1 billion investment fund for growth-stage for deeptech and climate tech startups… Buoyant Ventures raised $76 million to invest in climate tech ventures led by women and diverse founders… Climate risk software company Risilience secured $26 million in Series B financing… Therma secured $19 million to help companies manage cooling and refrigeration needs… Liminal raised $17.5 million to help EV battery makers monitor and improve production… Temasek backed Ionblox to ramp up production of high-efficiency lithium-ion battery cells…Carbonplace secured $45 million from a host of global banks.
Financial inclusion. Oikocredit offered a $2.6 million credit facility to MyCredit to provide low-cost small business loans in Kenya… Fintech venture Gwala raised pre-seed funding to provide Moroccan workers with access to earned wages before their monthly payday.
Impact tech. Bangalore and Boston-based FireCompass raised $7 million to help businesses address data vulnerabilities and breaches… Internet service provider Mawingu secured $6 million to expand affordable internet connectivity into rural Kenya… Recycleye snagged $17 million for robots to sort recyclable waste.
Investing in health. Free From Market, a Black woman-led nutrition service for low-income Americans with chronic health issues, raised $2.1 million… Telehealth startup Zuri Health in Kenya raised funding from Morocco’s UM6P Ventures for low-cost online and messaging-app consultations… Simple HealthKit raised $8 million to provide affordable home health diagnostic kits and 24-hour lab results.
Racial equity. Ariel Alternatives secured $1.5 billion to build the pipeline of minority-owned suppliers… Common Future launched first racial equity accelerator… Nex Cubed scored $5 million from Costco to invest in founders from historically Black colleges.
The Week’s Talent
Sabari Raja, ex- of Nepris, joined JFF Ventures as a managing partner… Scott Eaton, ex- of fintech venture Nivaura, joined Carbonplace as CEO… Upstart Co-Lab promoted Ward Wolff to director… Social Investment Scotland appointed Arran Dewar, previously with Inspiring Scotland, as executive director.
The Center for Economic Democracy named Yichen Feng, ex- of Lumos Capital Group, as managing director of capital strategies… Paul Bodnar, ex- head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, joined Bezos Earth Fund… Gloria Mirrione, ex- of Korn Ferry, joined Acre as head of sustainable finance and impact investing in the Americas.
Community Capital Management promoted Alyssa Greenspan to chief executive officer. She succeeds CCM founder Todd Cohen, who will transition to executive chairman. Amy Maness, ex- of Verizon Business, joins CCM as head of intermediary and business management… J.P. Morgan promoted David Maloof to vice president of sustainable growth equity.
The Week’s Jobs
In New York, Macquarie has an opening for a foundation coordinator, and Morgan Stanley’s global sustainability office is looking for a climate transition analytics vice president in New York… Ben & Jerry’s has an opening for a global social mission director in South Burlington, Vt.
In Boston, Arctaris Impact Investors is hiring a private equity analyst or a deals associate, CapShift is hiring summer interns and fellows remotely or in Boston, and Greentown Labs is hiring a senior vice president of partnerships.
In Washington, D.C., CrossBoundary has an opening for a business development specialist, and the African Development Foundation seeks a bilingual grants management specialist… Enterprise Community Loan Fund has openings for a loan officer and senior loan officer in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Intuitive is looking for a director of sustainability and climate action in Sunnyvale, Calif… Additional Ventures is hiring a strategic climate initiatives director in Palo Alto, Calif… Advisian has an opening for a senior low-carbon analyst in Irvine, Calif.
Asana for Nonprofits & Education is hiring an enterprise account executive for education in San Francisco… Kapor Capital is looking for a portfolio services director in Oakland… Finite Carbon seeks a forest carbon analyst in Portland.
In London, the U.K. Sustainable Investment and Finance Association is recruiting an events manager, Climate Policy Initiative seeks a climate finance senior analyst, and the Carlyle Group seeks a vice president of ESG and impact… 2X Global seeks a remote communications lead in the U.K.
Sustainable Energy for All is recruiting a bilingual communications senior assistant in Vienna… South Pole seeks a chief of staff in Zurich… Bamboo Capital Partners is looking for a valuation manager in Luxembourg… In Brussels, Impact Capital is hiring a chief financial officer, and the Environmental Defense Fund has an opening for an energy transition manager… Maya Climate is recruiting a structured carbon finance lead in Berlin.
Impak Analytics seeks an ESG controversies analyst in Montreal… Cuso International is hiring an external relations coordinator in Ottawa… MEDA is looking for a finance officer in the Philippines… The Rainforest Alliance is looking for a senior project manager in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire… Mercy Corps is looking for an insights and impact manager in Kenya…Evidence Action has an opening for an Africa program manager.
Other locations and remote jobs
Avesta Fund is hiring an investment associate in Denver… The Collaborative for Frontier Finance is recruiting an analyst and a part-time project coordinator… The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment is looking for a chief marketing and communications officer… The W.K. Kellogg Foundation seeks a mission driven investments analyst.
Bridges Fund Management is looking for summer interns focusing on investment and client and strategy development… IFC is looking for a communications consultant… Mercy Corp Ventures is looking for an investment fellow… The International Institute for Sustainable Development is hiring a remote strategic communications lead for the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance… Climate Bonds Initiative is hiring a remote building standards manager.
The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. has an opening for a remote senior environmental and social impact analyst… A to Z Impact is recruiting a remote summer investment associate… The UNFCCC High Level Climate Champions is recruiting a Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation agenda lead and a Race to Zero campaign lead… CBRE seeks a remote senior ESG consultant.
Luminate seeks an analyst for partner support… The International Foundation For Valuing Impacts is looking for a remote chief market development officer… Apollo is recruiting a principal of ESG integration for its climate and infrastructure group… The Rights and Resources Initiative is recruiting a director for a community land rights and conservation finance initiative.
That’s a wrap. Have a wonderful weekend.
– Feb 10, 2022