The Brief | October 21, 2022

The Week in Impact Investing: Transacting

The team at


TGIF, Agents of Impact! 

🗣 Give and take. The vibe at this week’s SOCAP conference in San Francisco: Let’s get it done. “The first person I saw today said, ‘I want to invest in your fund,’” said Alder Point Capital’s Chris Larsen, who is raising funds for climate-smart real assets. The dealmaking complemented the urgency expressed by speakers at the conference. “There’s a real opportunity for actual deals to happen and partnerships to be built,” Common Future’s Rodney Foxworth says on this week’s Impact Briefing podcast, live from SOCAP. “We have to hold both the aspirational and also the practical.” Some of the energy can be credited to finally meeting up in person again. ImpactAlpha’s Dennis Price, Zuleyma Bebell and I fanned out to make connections and soak up the activity; we were delighted to host an Agents of Impact happy hour with our friends from The Investment Integration Project and Overlay Capital. Send us your reflections and takeaways. – David Bank

Also on ImpactAlpha: 

  • To ESG or not to ESG. Keep calm and optimize for impact is the takeaway from our roundup of the latest in the culture war over corporate assessments of risks and opportunities. And center workers in that assessment, argue Ford Foundation’s Margot Brandenburg, Oxford’s Bob Eccles and Leo Strine, former chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, who suggest adding another “E” – for employees.
  • Economic resilience in the Global South. To address cascading climate and energy crises, the World Bank and the entire multilateral development banking system need to be more ambitious and more creative, reports ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese. To drive economic growth, back female fund managers who are more likely to invest in women entrepreneurs, say Tokunboh Ishmael of Alitheia Capital and Richenda Van Leeuwen of Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs.
  • Expanding the toolkit. Social bonds and loan guarantees let philanthropic foundations leverage their balance sheets for impact, as Dan Keeler reports. The Rockefeller Foundation has committed to using all the tools in its kit to accelerate climate action, says Rockefeller’s Thomas Belazis in an interview with ImpactAlpha’s Amy Cortese

🎧 Impact Briefing. Host Monique Aiken is live and in person with Rodney Foxworth of Common Future and ImpactAlpha’s David Bank at SOCAP22 in San Francisco. Plus, the headlines.

The Week’s Chart

China’s green transition. Chinese President Xi Jinping is certain to clinch a third term as the Communist Party’s 20th National Congress draws to a close. Relations with the U.S. are tense. Total coal consumption is still rising. But the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitter is committed to remaining the biggest producer of renewable energy as well. “A green and low-carbon economy and society are crucial to high-quality development,” Xi told the assembled party leaders. He promised to accelerate “advanced energy-saving and carbon emission-reduction technologies, encourage green consumption, and promote green and low-carbon ways of life.” China’s role is highlighted in RMI’s excellent Energy Transition Narrative.” The country’s installed capacity of renewable energy is triple that of the United States, and China leads the world in solar and wind power and electric vehicles.

The Week’s Dealflow

Deal spotlight: Oil giants’ biogas acquisitions. Oil majors looking to phase out of fossil fuels are buying their way into the energy transition. Shell and BP made headlines this week as the oil and gas giants look to expand their biogas portfolios through strategic acquisitions. BP acquired Houston-based renewable natural gas producer Archaea Energy in a deal valued at $4.1 billion. “There’s more demand for this product than there is supply,” BP’s Bernard Looney told Reuters. The acquisition will increase BP’s biogas supply by 50%. Shell is bidding for Danish biogas producer Nature Energy, which is being sold for around $2 billion.

  • Legal woes. The news comes as the state of New Jersey sued Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips for “systematically concealing and denying their knowledge that fossil fuel consumption could have a catastrophic impact on the climate,” said the state’s attorney general Matthew Platkin. More than a half-dozen similar suits have been filed by U.S. cities and states.
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Returns on inclusion. Steve Ballmer, billionaire owner of the L.A. Clippers and former CEO of Microsoft, says he and his wife, Connie, will team up with four financial partners to invest $250 million in Black fund managers… The Black Economic Alliance Foundation secured a five-year, $10 million commitment from Deloitte to develop research, investment and philanthropic programs to bridge the racial wealth gap… East Boston Community Development established a neighborhood trust to preserve affordable housing.

Agrifood investing. Australia’s AgriWebb snagged $6.8 million to help ranchers and farmers digitize livestock management and implement regenerative agriculture practices… Organic produce company Soli Organic raked in nearly $125 million to expand its large soiled-based indoor farms… Ocean 14 Capital invested in Tilabras, a Brazilian sustainable producer of tilapia.

Clean energy. Centennial raised $1.2 million for solar projects in Africa… Germany’s Ecoligo scored €10 million to expand its solar-as-a-service with commercial and industrial partners in emerging markets… Swiss global asset manager Capital Dynamics secured €521 million to invest in solar and other clean energy projects in Europe.

Electric vehicles. India’s Vecmocon snagged $5.2 million from Tiger Global, Blume Ventures and angel investors to build safety-monitoring tech for two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles… The Biden Administration will award $2.8 billion in grants to 20 electric vehicle manufacturing companies to boost EV production in the U.S.

Financial inclusion. Indonesian inclusive fintech startup Ayoconnect raised $13 million in Series B funding… East African asset-based financing company Tugende raised $10 million to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Good jobs. Dandi scored $3.7 million from Impact Engine, Alleycorp Impact and others to help companies advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace… Northstar raised $24.4 million to partner with employer benefit programs to support employees’ financial wellness.

Impact tech. BlackRock and Builders Fund back early childhood learning platform Acelero… Cairo-based MaxAB raised $40 million to digitalize informal and small retailers in Egypt and Morocco… Convective Capital raised $35 million to invest in early-stage startups with tech solutions that can detect and contain wildfires. 

New climate funds. India’s EKI Energy Services committed $25 million to launch a climate impact fund… Lightrock’s climate fund raised €860 million for net-zero growth companies… New Forests secured $200 million from development finance institutions to conserve Africa’s forests.

The Week’s Talent

Sesh Raghavan, a former managing director at Evercore Partners, joins Wells Fargo as head of power, utilities and renewable M&A… Ashton Rosin, former head of investor relations at Obvious Ventures, joins Lowercarbon Capital as a partner and head of capital formation… Stephanie Bagot, former deputy associate general counsel at the DFC, joins impact-focused law firm RPCK Rastegar Panchal as senior counsel.

Peter Bruce-Clark, ex- of Social Impact Capital, joins Radian Capital as a venture partner… RMI appoints Jon Creyts, who has worked with the organization since 2012, becomes CEO, succeeding Jules Kortenhorst, who will join Vision Ridge Partners… Melissa Berman is stepping down after two decades at the helm of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

The Week’s Jobs

Harvard Business School’s International Foundation for Valuing Impacts seeks a chief research officer and a director of market developmentConvergence is hiring an interim senior associate of finance and operations and several other roles in Toronto… Common Trust is looking for a remote financial analyst… Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is looking for a program operations associate in Redwood City, Calif… One Acre Fund is hiring a remote investor relations manager… The London School of Economics seeks a program lead for its impact accelerator in London.

Candide Group is hiring a client services associate… The 2X Collaborative and GenderSmart, which are merging, have several open positions, including climate lead and program manager… The University of Pennsylvania seeks a senior associate director for its Wharton ESG Initiative… Green Century Funds is looking for a communications director in Boston… S2G Ventures seeks an investment associate and an investment analyst…  The Nature Conservancy is recruiting an investment associate for NatureVest in Arlington, Va.

In New York: UN Global Compact Network USA is recruiting an environment and climate program associate… The Clinton Foundation seeks a senior community manager of climate and sustainability… The Global Impact Investing Network seeks an associate… Boston Consulting Group is looking for a climate and sustainability project leader/principal… Equitable Facilities Fund seeks an impact investing associate… BlackRock is hiring a global impact equity research analyst intern.

That’s a wrap. Have a wonderful weekend. 

– Oct. 21, 2022