The Brief | July 24, 2018

World Cup of impact investing, Americans get Even, Colombian affordable housing, top cities for female founders

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Greetings, ImpactAlpha readers!

Featured: Impact Voices

Which nation will win the World Cup of impact investing? The FIFA World Cup was an exciting display of drama, talent, and endurance of football’s finest. The end of the tournament leaves a void that can only be filled by a World Cup…of impact investing. Such a tournament may not sport a Ronaldo, a Neymar, a Mbappé or a Christine Sinclair, but at stake are not only billions of dollars, but billions of lives. What nations would make the tournament cut? Who would make the quarters, the semis, and even the finals? Are there regional powers? In a guest post on ImpactAlpha, Adam Spence, director of SVX at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing in Ontario, Canada, offers an “unscientific, imprecise, fan-styled, and mostly fact-free” guide to an impact investing World Cup.

Europe has the right ingredients to succeed in the group round; leading European nations may well go deep in the tournament. Impact investing teams in Latin America are vibrant and highly competitive, especially in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. Emerging impact investing powers in the Asia-Pacific include South Korea, Japan and Australia – and here comes China. Centers of activity in Africa and the Middle East include Ghana and Nigeria, South Africa and Dubai. North America tops the statistical leaderboard, but questions remain about the perennial powerhouse. “Will the U.S. just field collection of stars? Or will they have a coherent team that could win the Final?” Spence asks. “Will chaotic management challenges at the very top undo all of the progress made to date?”

And what about Canada’s prospects? For the complete forecast, check out, “Which nation will win the World Cup of impact investing?” by SVX’s Adam Spence on ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Even raises $40 million to help American save. The Oakland-based startup is the latest fintech company to raise investor capital to help Americans build savings and savings habits. Even’s subscription-based service helps with budgeting, automatic savings, and early wage payments. Khosla Ventures led its Series B financing. Here’s more.

Entrepreneurs of Color Fund expands to Chicago. JPMorgan Chase’s initiative to get more capital into the hands of minority entrepreneurs is expanding to Chicago. JPMorgan’s philanthropic arm first launched an Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Detroit and has expanded the initiative to the Bronx and San Francisco. In Chicago, the financial services firm is committing $4 million. Fifth Third Bank, also a partner in the Detroit fund, is committing $2.5 million. Check it out.

OPIC commits $50 million to Avenida Capital for affordable housing in Colombia. The Overseas Private Investment Corp. staked real estate investor Avenida Capital’s efforts to expand the supply of low and middle-income housing in Colombia. The country has a three-million-unit housing shortage, but studies suggest that simply building more housing doesn’t always solve housing problems. Read on.

Signal: Ahead of the Curve

How cities can tap the talent of women entrepreneurs. Women’s entrepreneurship rates were up 13% last year. In the first half of this year, U.S. women-founded and co-founded startups are on pace to raise more venture capital than last year. Yet “access to capital and technology, as well as cultural and political barriers, continue to limit the success of women-owned businesses,” says Dell’s Karen Quintos. New York, San Francisco, London, Boston and Stockholm topped last year’s Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index, which ranked 50 cities on their ability to attract and support women entrepreneurs. This year, Dell went deeper, providing blueprints for fostering high-potential women entrepreneurs in 10 cities. For example:

  • In Singapore, ranked No. 8, more venture capital than usual flows to businesses with at least 25% female executives. Pros: Singapore’s relative safety, paid maternity leave and high female labor force participation (behind only Beijing and Shanghai). Singapore’s commitment to meritocracy, however, limits positive discrimination that could help women-owned businesses.
  • Austin, which ranked 15th, deserves its rep as a technologically progressive city, with high scores for women’s digital skills and plenty of tech training opportunities for women. To promote women’s business leadership, Austin needs more organizations like Women@Austin, according to Dell’s blueprint. Austin could also follow cities like London and guarantee paid maternity leave for women entrepreneurs.
  • Mexico City, coming in 45th, scored the highest in female-owned startups as a percentage of startups in the city. A relatively low cost of living also benefits women entrepreneurs; high crime rates and violence against women do not. Only 12% of funded startups in the district have a woman on their founding team. Some funds, including Jaguar Ventures (40%), Auria Capital (33%), ALL VP (29%), and Variv Capital (27%) invest in women at higher rates than their peers. Collect the whole set.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

The first Impact Summit America for institutional investors and asset owners will roll out in San Francisco on Sept. 11. Phenix Capital and the Global Impact Investing Network are hosting, along with Dutch pension funds PGGM and MNDeutsche Bank is looking to make low-interest loans to mission-driven financial institutions serving Native communities… LEAP Africa is seeking Nigerian social entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 for its social innovators fellowship… ImpactAssets is recruiting a president/chief operating officer.

July 24, 2018.