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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Impact Investing

This category includes articles about people, firms and foundations that invest in social good by investing in social entrepreneurs, social impact or pay-for-success bonds, etc.

A New Investment Model For A New Capitalism

Over the last 30 years or so, a growing movement that expects capitalism to drive social benefit rather than tolerate its own harm has led to a burgeoning demand for capital with a conscience. Michael Sauvante of Commonwealth Capital has developed a model for financing social ventures that could rapidly increase available capital for social ventures.

Michael explains, “Small business with 20 or fewer employees provide more U.S. jobs than all the jobs in big business, government, non-profits and all the other sources of jobs combined. Yet small businesses are struggling to survive and are desperate for capital and credit, both exceedingly difficult to obtain.”

“One of the biggest problems with raising money for such small businesses is that, unlike investing in the stock market where investors can buy and sell anytime they want, when they invest in small private businesses, investors cannot easily get their money out of them once they put it in. What is needed is a way for investors to support small businesses, but still be able to get their money out anytime they need or want to,” he continues.

His innovation has been around for decades, but Michael wants to breath new life into it for the sake of social enterprises. He notes, “BDCs (Business Development Companies) overcome this problem by serving as an intermediary between investors and small companies. BDCs are a special type of venture capital company that is a public company listed on the stock market. That means anybody can own a piece of them, not just wealthy people like they do in regular venture capital funds. It also means their investors get freely tradable stock that they can buy and sell anytime they want.”

He adds, “BDCs take the money they get from investors and invest it in and/or lend it to small companies. That way small businesses get the money they need, but their investor backers don’t have their money tied up if they need or want to get it out. Commonwealth Capital is taking the basic BDC concept further by forming lots of smaller BDCs under it to help spread this concept much wider than would normally be possible.”

Michael is passionate about social entrepreneurship. He says, “Small businesses are the backbone of every local economy. Commonwealth Capital (CC), along with other BDCs it will help to sponsor, will provide a means to financially help small businesses at an unprecedented level, all across the country. That alone will go a long way to uplifting local economies and making them more sustainable. However, CC was also formed as a special type of corporation called a benefit corporation. Benefit corporations are legally mandated to address the social and environmental needs of their employees, their customers, their suppliers, their investors, and the broader community they serve, in addition to paying attention to their financial bottom line. That makes them model corporate citizens and fixes what is currently broken with the old model of greed capitalism. And CC will require all the companies it invests in, lends to and/or acquires to follow that same beneficial mandate as well.”

On Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Michael will join me for a live discussion about the BDC concept for social entrepreneurs. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.
More about Commonwealth Capital:

Commonwealth Capital (CC) is a California benefit corporation, Business Development Company (BDC). BDCs are public venture capital companies that invest in small businesses. Being a public company, anybody, not just wealthy investors can invest in them. And its investors will have freely tradable stock. CC thereby resolves what has been an irresolvable dilemma – how to invest in small private companies but retain the liquidity that comes with investing in large public companies. As a result of its “benefit purpose,” CC expects to work primarily with impact investors. Such investors pursue investments that normally have a sustainability focus around environmental, social and governance concerns.

Michael Sauvante, courtesy of Commonwealth Capital

Michael Sauvante, courtesy of Commonwealth Capital

Michael’s bio:

Michael is the Executive Director of Commonwealth Group LLC (www.commonwealthgroup.net), the leading consultancy in the U.S. with respect to using Business Development Companies (BDCs) for Main Street small businesses. He is also the chief architect of Commonwealth Capital, a California benefit corporation, soon to be first benefit corporation BDC in the country. He has over 30 years of experience in founding and running more than a half dozen companies in diverse industries and has long been a progressive thinker in the field of sustainability, corporate social and environmental behavior, and corporate responsibility.

Sauvante’s philosophy for building sustainable businesses is outlined in “The Triple Bottom Line: A Boardroom Guide,” published in 2001 in the “Director’s Monthly” of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). His efforts to change California’s laws (in 2004) to make corporations more socially and environmentally responsible (six years before the first state approved benefit corporations) is highlighted in the book, Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism, by Patricia Aburdeen.

He expanded on that topic in an article “Rewiring Corporate DNA,” published in 2008 by the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.. His article “A Primer on Going Public: How companies too small for the national stock exchanges can access public capital” laid out the concepts that later would best be described as crowdfunding. Michael subsequently promoted the concept for regional stock exchanges, which resemble crowdfunding portals. His stock exchange idea was explored in the book “Local Dollars, Local Sense” by Michael Shuman. Many of Michael’s other ideas were published in a number of articles, books and other writings including, “A New Stock Exchange Where People and the Planet Matter” which explores the question, “What if there were a stock exchange where society and the environment were the top priority and profit a means to maintain continuity and not an end in itself?” Corporations listed on such an exchange would be valued based on how well they served society instead of solely by short-term profit. In 2002, Michael was recognized by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as one of 35 “Technology Pioneers” worldwide. For a full bio and comprehensive list of his writings, visit www.commonwealthgroup.net/sauvante.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

What is Impact Investing? Impact Investing 101

There is a lot of talk these days about impact investing, but relatively few people actually know what it is or how to do it. With the help of Your Mark on the World Center sponsor Gate Global Impact’s CEO Vince Molinari, we’ll explain impact investing basics.

Vince offers answers to the following three basic questions:

1. What is impact investing?

Impact investing is a progressive new investment philosophy whereby an investor proactively seeks to place capital in businesses that generate financial returns from organizations committed
to societal, sustainable and/or environmental goals. The growth of IMPACT INVESTING is borne out by global trends in macro/micro socioeconomics, Next-Gen behavioral finance, and ubiquitous social media that continues to drive participants and awareness to this movement.

2. What financial returns can investors expect from an impact investment?

One of the most common questions about impact investing is what sorts of returns investors can expect. Vince answers, “Profit is not a dirty word, profit creates sustainability, and sustainability creates systemic change. Impact investing returns vary widely. Some investors are willing to give up part of their standard return expectations for the sake of high societal impact. Others are focusing on opportunities to earn market returns, recognizing that not only does solving societal problems create the potential for market returns, the very act of solving the problem may reduce the risk of the investment. Investors can earn high returns while creating impact.”

3. How does an impact investment actually create societal good?

Impact investing creates social good in much the same way that philanthropy does. The money is spent to fund a project that has a social benefit attached. Rather than donate the money, however, the investor asks for the money back. For instance, an investor could fund the construction of a school and ask for the money to be paid back over time in the form of a mortgage. The market for impact investments runs from large scale infrastructure projects to small investments in social enterprises that are serving social needs and providing employment in the developing world.

Vince recently authored “Africa Is the New Frontier of Impact Investing” for Ventureburn, where you can learn more about Vince’s take on impact investing.

On Thursday, October 29, 2015 at noon Eastern, Vince will join me for a discussion about impact investing. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.


You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Constellation Fin Tech:

Twitter: @GateImpact

Constellation Fin Tech is an innovative and disruptive financial technology software platform company with focus platform launches on impact investing and family offices.

Vince Molinari

Vince’s bio:

Twitter: @VinceMolinari

Vincent Molinari is the co-founder and CEO of GATE Global Impact, a leading electronic marketplace platform that’s helping the world’s leading organizations standardize and accelerate impact investing.

Vincent is an active speaker on issues related to capital markets and early-stage companies, and he regularly speaks at events around the world. He’s been invited to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. Vincent has also testified before the Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies regarding secondary market liquidity. He regularly consults with members of Congress and regulatory agencies on these issues.

Vincent is a managing partner at Constellation Fin Tech and a founding board member and former co-chair of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, a self-regulating association that works with governmental and quasi-governmental entities to establish crowdfunding industry standards and best practices. Vincent is also a co-founder of the Crowdfunding Professional Association, a leading trade organization for the crowdfunding industry, and sits on the board of CF50, a global think tank of 50 of the leading minds from academia, policy, and industry.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

CSR, Say Cheese!

Here’s how your Funds could create nutritious Cheese, help Autistic children, save the livestock people of Rajasthan (India) and their Camels.

PROJECT BY: Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan & Camel Charisma

ABOUT: LPPS is an NGO that supports traditional livestock keepers in Rajasthan, and indirectly all over India.

WORKING SINCE: 1996

THE CONCEPT IN A NUTSHELL: Introducing Camel Cheese to India – this Project aims to develop Camel Cheese into a value added product that creates income for Camel breeders, provides economic incentives for conserving the Camel, and provides therapeutic support to autistic children. Some studies have proved that camel milk is a health tonic, especially useful for Diabetes patients and autistic children.

WHY THIS PROJECT IS GOOD FOR THE WORLD: The benefits of this project relate to camel breeders in Rajasthan (who currently have no income from their camels) and to consumers who get access to a healthy product that provides the nutritional and health benefits of camel milk in a less perishable form.

FUNDS REQUIRED: $80,000/INR 50 Lakh, for three years

WATCH HOW CAMELS BRING HOPE TO THE PEOPLE OF RAJASTHAN:

A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE OPERATIONAL STRATEGY: The project will encompass the following steps:

  1. Development of a premium Camel Cheese product that suits the Indian palate
  2. Training of members of Camel breeding families in Cheese production
  3. Development of a Marketing Strategy
  4. Promotion of the product, through linkages with Hotels, Chefs and Specialty Shops in the Metros

SOME FACTS AND FIGURES

Duration of Project with Proposed Funding requirement: 3 years

Number of people who will benefit from the Project: 500 Camel breeding families and potentially thousands of autistic children

Area of operation and direct impact: All of Rajasthan

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHY THE LIVESTOCK PEOPLE NEED YOU:

Want to Fund this Project?

Write to us at editor@csrlive.in and we will assist you with the process. 

 

Student Entrepreneurs Win Hult Prize With Radical Early Childhood Education Model

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Juan Diego Prudot was successful at a very young age. With the abundant opportunities afforded those of means, he has chosen the path of a social entrepreneur in an effort to improve early childhood education around the world.

Prudot sees the problem this way, “Over 100 million children under the age of six are living in underserved communities and do not have access to quality early childhood education. This situation leads to children being unprepared to enter primary school and with a weaker social and emotional foundation, thus making it more challenging for the youth to thrive and become productive members of society.”

Prudot led the formation of a team of student entrepreneurs in Taiwan, where he attends business school at National Chengchi University. The team launched IMPCT, which operates Playcares.com, and competed in and won the 2015 Hult Prize competition at the Clinton Global Initiative last month.

Prudot explains the business, which provides infrastructure for women in the developing world to provide bona fide educational services rather than mere daycare, saying, “We are building a bridge between people that want and are able to become part of a solution with hardworking communities that only need an opportunity. Playcares.com is not only a financial inclusion mechanism to empower women to run Playcares, but it is also a way to generate awareness of how quality early childhood education will break the poverty cycle.”

“By 2020 we aim to allow 10 million children to have access to the type of early education that will change their life trajectory in a positive way. Additionally, by attracting millions of people to participate in Playcares.com we will set the precedent that investing in and empowering people from underserved communities is not only the best way to make an impact but an exceptional investment opportunity,” Prudot asserts.

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at noon Eastern, Prudot will join me here for a live discussion about winning the Hult Prize and the company he helped found. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about IMPCT:

Twitter: @impctdotco

The need for both parents to work has driven informal daycares to spring up in underserved communities around the world. These daycares are small businesses where women stay home and keep between 4 and 8 children in their living rooms. The daily fee for this service depends on the area they operate in and is typically 25% of parents’ daily wage.

IMPCT found an opportunity to increase the scale and quality of these businesses with a product called IMPCT Playcare. A Playcare is a small childcare franchise, owned and operated by a local entrepreneur, which includes a purpose-built classroom, training to deliver a play-based Montessori learning curriculum, and ongoing support to make sure the children’s development is on track. Each Playcare provides 20 nearby families affordable and accessible early education opportunities for their children.

With this model, IMPCT created a unique investment opportunity with both social and financial return. Through the Playcares.com website people can participate and track their investments as well as receive real-time updates of the lives it has changed. This is radical financial inclusion; this is a better way to do good.

Juan Diego Prudot, courtesy of IMPCT

Juan Diego Prudot, courtesy of IMPCT

Prudot’s bio:

Juan Diego Prudot is a software engineer turned social entrepreneur from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He grew up in a home where he learned the habit of working hard from his father and the qualities of empathy and compassion from his mother. The former, singlehandedly coded a complete banking software suite while the latter provided a never-ending supply of love and encouragement. At age 19, he started working for his family’s business, SAF Soluciones, where he led a major technology change that allowed them to become the number one financial software producer in Honduras.

In 2013, looking to learn Mandarin Chinese and enhance his management skills, Juan Diego enrolled in Taiwan’s top MBA program at National Chengchi University. While studying there, he effectively led multicultural teams and developed meaningful relationships that allowed him to learn about the Hult Prize Challenge. He assembled IMPCT, the team that in September 2015 won the Hult Prize and US$1 Million to provide quality early childhood education to millions of children living in poverty. The winning model includes a web platform, playcares.com, for which Juan Diego, as CTO of IMPCT, is leading a development team from Taiwan.

Closed Loop Fund Closes 3 Deals; Founder To Comment On NYT Op-Ed Touting Death Of Recycling

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Closed Loop Fund, an impact investment fund, recently closed its first three deals, providing financing for municipal waste.

Rob Kaplan, Managing Director, explains the reason for the fund’s existence, “Lack of infrastructure is one of the greatest barriers to more recycling in the country. The Fund plans to invest $100 million in the U.S. recycling infrastructure by 2020. The Fund invests in the form of zero-interest loans to cities and low interest loans to recycling companies, to prove that recycling business models are financially sustainable now into the future.”

Kaplan described the recent transactions, saying, “On Sept. 24, Closed Loop Fund, an impact investment fund that makes below-market loans for recycling infrastructure, including household recycling carts, facilities, and technologies, announced its first three investments to bolster recycling infrastructure and reduce the over $5 billion dollars spent by cities annually on landfills.”

“The initial capital includes $7.8 million from Closed Loop Fund, which helped to unlock an additional investment of $17 million from other public and private co-investors, totaling $24.8 million. All three investments demonstrate replicable economic and environmental returns that recycling can bring to communities across the United States. This is the first of over $500 million the fund expects to unlock to invest in American recycling over the next five years,” Kaplan concluded.

Sunday’s New York Times included an op-ed by John Tierney that seemed almost to be an obituary for recycling under the headline, “The Reign of Recycling.” The piece argues that the environmental impact of recycling is modest when properly calculated.

On Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Kaplan will join me for a live discussion about these recently completed deals and we’ll get his take on the death of recycling as well. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Closed Loop Fund:

Twitter: @Loopfund

Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities access to the capital required to build comprehensive recycling programs. Closed Loop Fund aims to invest $100 million by 2020 with the goal to create economic value for cities by increasing recycling rates in communities across America. Closed Loop Fund brings together the world’s largest consumer product, retail financial companies committed to finding a national solution to divert waste from landfills into the recycling stream in order to be used in the manufacturing supply chain. Key supporters include 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo, Pepsico Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. For more information, visit www.closedloopfund.com.

Kaplan’s bio:

Twitter: @robbyk

Rob Kaplan proves that creating business value and passion for protecting the environment can peacefully co-exist. As Managing Director of the Closed Loop Fund, an innovative platform for impact investing, sustainability, and the circular economy, Rob oversees strategy and new business model development, as well as day-to-day operations. The Fund aims to scale recycling through zero interest loans to cities and investments in waste companies.

Prior to joining the Fund, Rob served as Director of Sustainability for Walmart Stores, Inc. where he was responsible for packaging, customer engagement, and integration with the Consumables business, including personal care and household cleaning. Rob led the creation of the Sustainability Leaders shop on Walmart.com to help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions online, built a unique collaborative initiative with competitors called the Beauty & Personal Care Innovation Accelerator, and cofounded The Closed Loop Fund. Rob previously led Walmart’s cross-functional efforts to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas from the supply chain.

Rob’s career has always been fueled by his passion for sustainability and social issues. Before joining Walmart, he helped lead corporate responsibility and brand strategy for Brown-Forman Corporation, which produces and markets spirit brands such as Jack Daniel’s. Rob developed marketing strategies to engage consumers, improve social and environmental performance, and advance business objectives.

Rob received his MBA from the Haas School where he studied marketing, corporate responsibility, and social entrepreneurship. Prior to graduate school, Rob was State Communications Director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California and a political consultant for M&R Strategic Services in Washington, DC. Rob received his undergraduate degree in political communication from the George Washington University where he learned that perception is reality. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

 

Investor, Activist Seeks To ‘Transform Finance’ For Good

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Impact investment will be huge, but not necessarily good, says Transform Finance co-founder and Board Chair Morgan Simon, who is passionate about using money to create social justice. Investors controlling $550 million have signed on to her program, she says.

“Microfinance leading to huge debt cycles. Wind farms causing land grabs,” are signs of the problem, she says. “Impact investment is seen as a panacea to the challenges of aid and philanthropy, yet its promise is often unrealized, lacking engagement with and accountability to the people it is intended to serve, at times even harming its intended beneficiaries. Expected to eclipse aid by 10x with over $500B, the field needs principled course-correction to maximize its transformative potential for hundreds of millions of people.”

Transform Finance offers three programs designed to help impact investors course-correct:

  1. Converting impact investors into social justice advocates: We help investors (family offices, foundations etc.) managing $556 million integrate the TF approach through our Investor Network launched at the White House in 2014. We co-develop tools to deepen impact and ensure accountability, stronger, more relevant metrics, and shared-benefit deal structures.
  2. Working with accelerators worldwide to empower entrepreneurs to maximize community benefit: we “train the trainers” to ensure community accountability and shared ownership as common practice.
  3. Helping social justice leaders leverage the power of finance: to keep investments accountable as they flow into their communities, and to generate their own revenue-building activity. Our initial training of 65 leaders in U.S. serving over 5 million individuals are being replicated from Mexico to Haiti as the only of this kind.

Simon has a clear vision to go along with her passion for impact investing done according by her standard. “Transform Finance creates a world where impact investment lives up to its transformative potential. Our multi-stakeholder work ensures that investors deploy capital in the real interest of communities, and that communities can take advantage of finance as a critical tool for social change.”

On Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Simon will join me for a live discussion about Transform Finance and its work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Transform Finance:

Twitter: @transformfin

Transform Finance helps build a just world by making capital a force for real transformative change, bridging the spheres of finance and social justice. We help investors, communities, and entrepreneurs incorporate a social justice, community-centered approach to finance; train and support social change agents to harness finance as a highly effective tool for change; and leverage their collective power to realize the true promise of the $500 Billion impact investment ecosystem.

Simon’s bio:

Twitter: @MorganSimon1

Morgan has spent the last decade engaged in impact investment, emphasizing community accountability and ownership. She currently co-leads Pi Investments, building a 100% impact portfolio with an emphasis on community empowerment and environmental sufficiency. In that capacity, she evaluates investments across asset classes, including early stage investments, private equity and debt, and real assets.

Morgan is a co-founder of Toniic, where she served as founding CEO from 2010-2013. She is on the investment committee for The Working World, a fund for worker-owned cooperatives in the US, Argentina and Nicaragua, and co-chairs the board of ROC UNITE, organizing 10,000 restaurant workers nationwide. She is a Founding Board Member of CARE Enterprises Inc, a venture fund supporting quality job creation globally in partnership with CARE International. To complete her full calendar of volunteer activities, she is also a founder and chair of the Transform Finance, bridging impact investment and social justice (www.transformfinance.org).

Previously, as the founding Executive Director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition, Morgan brought together 100 colleges and universities, helping to move their $200 billion in endowment dollars towards impact investment. Morgan has also worked with grassroots organizations and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Mexico, Honduras and Sierra Leone, and in domestic microfinance with Women’s Initiative for Self Employment. She received a B.A with High Honors in Economics and Political Science from Swarthmore College, and serves as an Adjunct Professor at Middlebury College’s graduate school program.

Addressing the Global “Missing Middle”

This is a guest post from Will Poole, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Capria.

The Problem: A Lack of Capital and Expertise

There has been enormous growth in both emerging market private equity and impact investing over the past five years. Global PE giants such as KKR have invested $200 million into sub-Saharan African enterprises and impact investors now manage over $50 billion in assets. However, despite these positive trends, there is still a financing gap for early stage opportunities described as the “missing middle”, “seed gap” or “pioneer gap”. The latest Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) annual survey found that of the $60 billion managed by impact investors, less than 10% is invested in early stage companies. Additionally, venture capitalists globally are shifting their attention to later stage investments according to a report from Ernst and Young. The global lack of early stage capital results in fewer opportunities for later stage investors, one of the top challenges of the impact-investing field mentioned in the GIIN annual survey. Furthermore, early stage risk funding is only part of the problem. Mentoring and other forms of ecosystem support are also required to help companies develop from the proof-of-concept to scale. The combined funding and ecosystem support gap for the global missing middle casts doubt on J.P. Morgan’s prediction that impact investing will be a $1 trillion opportunity by 2020.

A Solution: More Professional Investing Firms

Fortunately, there are organizations that are viewing this global funding gap as an opportunity. Investisseurs and Partenaires (I&P), an organization based in Paris created by a co-founder of the BC Partners, focuses primarily on small and medium enterprises in Francophone Africa. Fledge, a global impact business accelerator, uses a revenue based financing structure to address the challenge of finding exits for global impact businesses. Finally, the Unitus Group, which helped incubate the $23 million Unitus Seed Fund that I co-founded, supported the creation of three funds that invest in early stage opportunities on multiple continents. These organizations are all bridging the “seed gap”, providing critical financing, guidance, and support needed to prepare a company to raise sufficient investment to enable it to scale.

Will Poole

Will Poole

Scaling the Solution

Contrary to what some entrepreneurs believe, early stage investing is not easy! Convincing your investors to trust you with their capital, becoming the partner of choice for high quality entrepreneurs, and helping companies grow quickly and within their means take skills and experience that are rarely found in one person. My first fund, the Unitus Seed Fund, became the leading impact venture seed fund in India in less than two years because my partners and I:

  • Received very early risk capital and support from Unitus Labs
  • Rapidly assembled an incredible local team in Bangalore
  • Established the trust of high net worth individuals and family foundations

With my new venture, Capria, my partners and I will apply our experience investing in early stage entrepreneurs in India and the USA to seed the next generation of impact venture capitalists. Capria will partner with local fund managers who are experts in their respective geographies to launch at least 10 new venture funds over the next five years. We will leverage our experience as first time fund managers, the collective expertise of the Unitus network and a wealth of seasoned advisors to reduce the time it takes from launching a new fund to making a first capital call. We know that others have tried and failed to scale venture funds globally and understand what will and won’t work through conversations with industry veterans and over a year of background research. We have a plan that our investors believe in and are excited to run our first cohort in January 2016.

Quantifying our Impact

We know that it will not be easy to address the global missing middle. However, we’ve spoken to enough talented fund managers around the world to see that it’s possible to start closing the seed gap by helping the entrepreneurs chart their paths to scale and profitability. The exciting thing for us is the leverage that the Capria network of seed funds will have. A simplified version of the math works like this:

  • Ten $10M seed funds invest in an average of 10 companies each, catalyzing additional capital support from other investors
  • The most successful of those 100 companies advance to Series A rounds and raise an average of $5M

Depending on what you use for a survival rate and how fast the companies grow, you can see a path to $500M in impact capital being raised and deployed. And that’s only with the first funds: the second and third funds raised by Capria Accelerator participants will be 2-3 times as large!This model, along with the support of I&P and a couple of others, could turn the missing middle a thing of the past.

About Will Poole

Will Poole is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor, focused on improving ecosystems that bring opportunity to low-income populations.

 

Gate Global Impact Seeks To Disrupt Impact Investing Sector

Your Mark on the World sponsor Gate Global Impact is trying to change the way impact investing is done, giving ready access to deals and investment opportunities to more people than ever before.

Joseph Latona, Managing Director for GGI, says, “GGI is working to centralize the fragmented Impact investing sector. Many people have heard about Impact investing, but then do not know where to find these investments or even a place to find information on what an impact company or fund looks like.”

“GGI mission is to provide a centralized regulatory compliant market place that allows investors to source Impact investments and providing Companies the ability to connect with like minded investors to raise capital,” Joseph concludes.

On Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Joseph will join me for a live discussion about the progress GGI is making toward is goal of fundamentally disrupting the impact investing space. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Constellation Fin Tech:

Twitter: @gateimpact

CFT is a disruptive Financial services company that applies its core technology infrastructure to facilitate private and unregistered securities transactions in a regulatory compliant manor. Two main subsidiaries are GATE Global Impact, and ShareNett. GGI is our impact investing solution, allowing Investors to source both primary and secondary investments that in addition to the possibility of a financial rate of return they also provide a social or environmental rate of return. GGI provides companies and for profit social organizations a utility to raise capital and connect with cause focused investors. ShareNett is our Family office and High Net Worth invitation only platform. Built by a family office (Raptor our majority owner) for family offices that allows members the ability to connect and co-invest in member originated deal flow.

Joseph Latona

Joseph Latona

Joseph’s bio:

Mr. Latona has spent the past 15 years in the financial services industry with a background in trading Fixed income, derivative securities and architecting technology systems. Mr. Latona is a Managing Partner and oversees the day to day operations of Constellation Fin Tech LLC, that operates the subsidiaries Gate Global Impact Inc, ShareNett LLC and Vision Quest Securities ( Member FINRA, SIPC) In 2010 Mr. Latona and his partner Vincent Molinari Co-founded Gate Global Impact Inc, (GGI) leveraging there collective industry experience and personal passions to bring visibility to the emerging socially responsibly and environmental investing sector.

Acumen Investee Brings Solar Power To Masses In India

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Damian Miller wants to transform emerging market economies from fossil-fuel dependent to self-reliant on clean solar energy.

Miller isn’t just a dreamer; he’s making it happen. As the founder and CEO of Orb Energy he’s quickly scaling up his business in India and recently launched in Kenya. He is also a recent recipient of the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship in collaboration with Acumen.

He explains Orb’s mission as follows:

Our company’s mission is to make solar energy affordable, accessible, and hassle-free to millions of customers looking for a better energy alternative. To do this, we first design and manufacture our own products for superior quality and cost. Then to deliver and install them to our customers in the right way, we have set up our own branch network – which is totally unique in the the solar market in India. This network is key to gaining customer trust, and effectively providing after-sales service. Finally we team up with banks for financing, but we are now looking at ways of bring this critical activity in-house to make it more streamlined.

Miller is also looking for help, he notes, “We are looking for investors, who believe in and share our mission for emerging market economies. Emerging markets are where the bulk of future greenhouse gas emissions will come from, and where there is an enormous opportunity – based on the prevailing solar resource and still emerging infrastructure – for solar to gain an early foothold. We hope that others will join us, so that we can strengthen and accelerate our activities.”

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at noon Eastern, Miller will join me live from India for a live discussion here about his work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Orb Energy:

Orb Energy is a leading provider of solar energy solutions in India. We sell, install, and service solar systems for electricity and hot water, and we are vertically integrated with our own R&D and manufacturing plant in India. We have 140 branches in 8 states of India, of which about 50% are franchised. We have also recently entered Kenya with a new subsidiary there.

More about the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship in collaboration with Acumen:

Twitter: @acumen

Acumen and SAP, global business software leader, have collaborated to create the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship to accelerate the growth of social enterprises serving the poor in East Africa and India. Leveraging Acumen’s 14 years of investing in early-stage social enterprises and SAP’s global business and innovation expertise, this unique collaboration will bring together emerging and established CEOs committed to building sustainable, socially driven businesses, creating a more inclusive global economy, and expanding opportunities for the poor to lead lives of dignity and possibility.

Miller’s bio:

Damian Miller is the CEO of Orb Energy, and a leading expert on solar energy in emerging markets. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College), where he was based at the Judge Business School. His dissertation addressed the role of entrepreneurs in the diffusion of solar photovoltaic technology when solar markets were still in their infancy. After finishing his Ph.D. in 1998, he put his research findings into practice, joining Shell Solar and becoming its Director of Rural Operations. Here he established solar subsidiaries in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Indonesia. He also implemented a large-scale solar project in China, and managed joint ventures in Morocco and South Africa. During this time he worked closely with multilateral and bilateral development agencies and emerging market governments to help grow local solar markets, overseeing the connection of more than 125,000 solar homes. At the end of 2006, he set-up Orb Energy in India with his co-founder NP Ramesh. In 8 years, Orb has become one of India’s leading providers of solar energy solutions, selling, installing, and servicing solar systems across multiple states in India, with ambitious plans for further expansion. He has lived, worked and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, and currently resides in Bangalore, India.

Impact Investor Credits ‘Faith In God’ For Success

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Joe Sanberg is an investor in a few of the social I’ve profiled recently (Aspiration and Bright Funds) and so I wanted to learn more about him.

Sanberg told me about the start to his career, “I grew up in a middle class family and by the time I was leaving for college at Harvard, the house I had grown up in was being foreclosed. I’m sobered by the staggering amount of luck and chance that came together in my life. I never could have imagined it.”

This experience guided his philosophy on life and business. “I don’t think we should leave to luck and chance the kinds of opportunities in life that people get to enjoy. I’m determined to build companies and champion public policies that systematically create more opportunity for people because I can’t bear thinking that I didn’t do everything I could to ensure that the kid today who is like I was does not have to rely on luck and chance to have a full life.”

The challenges of his early life helped frame Sanberg’s thinking as well. “Like so many others in my generation, I was raised by my mother. The absence of an active father when I was a kid affected me like it has affected many others. You have to become more self-reliant at a younger age as you figure out how to be a responsible adult. Fortunately, my maternal grandfather was a very active presence in my life and was a great male role model.”

When I asked Sanberg the secret of his success, he responded, “I think success comes from being authentic so my answer involves revealing what constitutes my core as a person. My faith in God is the biggest factor in how I live my life and who I am. Tikkun Olam is a Hebrew phrase that means to heal the world. I think we all have a responsibility to find our part in healing the world. Like all of us, I’ve often fallen short of my responsibility but my aspiration is to do my best to live up to Tikkun Olam.”

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Sanberg will join me for a live discussion about his work investing in social ventures. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

JoeSanberg-1940x1940

Sandberg’s bio:

Twitter: @josephnsanberg

Joe Sanberg is a public and private-sector entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of Advisors of Aspiration — a digital financial services company for everyday Americans. He is also an active venture investor in a variety of fast growing companies that combine profit and purpose, such as Bright Funds and Blue Apron. Joe is a leader with several public sector initiatives, including the Jefferson Awards Foundation (Chair of its Board of Governors), the UC Riverside School of Public Policy (member of its Board of Advisors) and Co-Founder, Economic Innovation Group. Joe s also leading a public affairs campaign around the new California Earned Income Tax Credit to expand economic opportunity among working Californians.

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