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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
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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.

DRI Fund (“DRI”) Launches A Social Impact Fund Aimed At Providing Innovative Financing To Communities That Are Underserved By Mainstream Banking

DRI is the rare combination of an investment manager that is also certified by the US Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”).

Press Release – As an investment manager specializing in the acquisition and management of non-performing mortgage loans, DRI noticed that many of the communities they invested in were lacking access to loans from banks and other traditional sources of credit.

“We realized that many folks from low and moderate income communities just don’t fit into the standard underwriting box needed to obtain a mortgage,” says Steven Kirsch, Managing Director of DRI. “We set out to develop an investment offering that would address this issue and provide access to financing for people who are creditworthy, but don’t meet all the requirements that most lenders need to originate a loan. DRI Mortgage Opportunity Fund was set up to attract private capital to this opportunity by providing attractive risk-adjusted returns and having a social impact.”

DRI received CDFI certification in 2017. To earn CDFI certification, DRI has provided direct financing for its affordable housing and micro lending initiatives in low and moderate income areas. As part of their services, they provide borrowers with intensive financial education counseling, debt management planning, business plan development, and strategies for reducing monthly homeownership costs. DRI also managed a HUD sponsored NSP program designed to create affordable housing by rehabilitating foreclosed home for eventual lease or resale. DRI’s social impact goals include reducing foreclosures, stabilizing distressed neighborhoods, creating jobs and providing financing to underserved communities.

ABOUT DRI FUND

DRI’s professionals have extensive experience in mortgage loan investing and have generated a strong investment track record, while successfully promoting community development. DRI was formed in 2011 to manage a project sponsored by HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program on behalf of the private equity real estate firm American Residential Equities (“ARE”). ARE was in the business of acquiring, managing, and liquidating pools of distressed mortgages as well as originating non-conforming loans and successfully resolved $2.2 billion worth of mortgage transactions. DRI’s management team consists of former executives from ARE and distinguished community development banking executives, who have significant experience in non-performing and performing mortgage loan acquisitions.

For more information visit: DRIFUND.COM

DuPont invests R100 million into the Africa Regional Technology Hub

Investment includes multi crop drought research center in Hoogekraal

Press Release – DELMAS, South Africa, May 23, 2017 – DuPont leaders joined together with public, private sector and government leaders to officially open the Africa regional technology center in Delmas, South Africa. This technology center will accelerate new product development across multiple crops for farmers. With construction recently completed, the center comprises a network of strategically placed research facilities and testing locations across the continent.

“The global network of research facilities and testing locations demonstrate DuPont’s ongoing commitment to research and development to accelerate seed product development for African farmers, helping them better manage pests and crop disease, climate volatility and soil fertility,” said Alejandro Munoz, Vice President, Global Commercial Business, DuPont Pioneer.

DuPont invested 100 million Rand in the Africa technology center, which currently employs African scientists and skilled technicians to support local research efforts, across testing locations in South Africa and, for the continent. DuPont’s investment in R&D in Africa includes:

  • The Delmas technology center; which focuses on major Eastern region research activities, with breeding programs in Maize and Sunflowers, that incorporates key Pioneer and PANNAR research and testing locations, combined germplasm, talent and experience to improve cultivar breeding and development for Africa.
  • A multi-crop research center in Hoogekraal that will conduct multi-crop research for DuPont Pioneer and PANNAR with a focus on drought tolerance.
  • Africa’s biggest private Insectary, critical to the development of traits to combat local yield robbing pests, some of which are unique to the continent.
  • Training and education opportunities for staff and academic institutions every year to host a plant breeding symposium to foster research skills development and to work with smallholder farmers to improve the livelihoods of families in rural communities.

DuPont has similar technology centers in the US, Brazil, India and China as part of the company’s global research network. Delmas will serve as the central hub of the Africa regional technology center, which is comprised of a network of existing research facilities and testing locations throughout Africa. The network of research centers will enable collaboration between crop researchers, maximize resources and advance research locally. South African research information adds to the global DuPont knowledge while the facilities in Delmas, Hoogekraal, Greytown, and other locations in Africa also draw on the global DuPont expertise from colleagues in other parts of the world.

“Better-performing seed products will lead to greater yields for farmers, including small holder farmers – and will help enhance farm productivity,” said Prabdeep Bajwa, Regional Director for the DuPont’s agricultural business in Africa and Middle East. “Africa has untapped potential to boost its agricultural output if the continent increases investment in agricultural research and development to adapt global technology to local needs.”

“With nearly 35 million hectares available with grain yields of less than 2 tons per hectare, Africa is a key agricultural growth area for DuPont and with sufficient investment in technology, represents tremendous opportunities for productivity gains,” said Bajwa at the official opening of the Africa technology center in Delmas.

The regional technology center boasts advanced technologies, such as doubled haploids, ear photometry and the proprietary Pioneer Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT), as well as marker-assisted selection. These technologies help shorten crop breeding cycles and improve accuracy toward breeding targets – including improved drought tolerance, insect and disease tolerance, as well as improved yields with limited inputs.

The technology center incorporates key research and testing locations, combined germplasm, talent and experience to improve cultivar breeding and development in Africa.

“Africa will be a major contributor to feeding the world population and the technology center will increase our breeding and testing capacity, as well as enable the continent to leverage the most advanced breeding technologies and germplasm pool to develop a high-performing maize, sunflower and soybean products for farmers,” said Bajwa.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders, we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit www.dupont.com.

Nestlé Waters North America Announces $6 Million Investment in Closed Loop Fund

Joins with Other Leaders to Jump-Start Recycling Programs across the United States

Press Release – Stamford, Conn., May 22, 2017: Nestlé Waters North America today announced it is investing $6 million as part of a shared effort among business, government and community partners to fund comprehensive recycling infrastructure and programs in cities across the United States.

Nestlé Waters will join the ranks of some of the world’s largest companies – including 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo and the PespiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart, and the Walmart Foundation – as part of Closed Loop Fund, a $100 million social impact investment fund committed to finding a national solution to the critical recycling gap in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 75 percent of the waste stream in the U.S. is recyclable, but only 30 percent actually gets recycled. Aside from the environmental impacts, municipalities and businesses in the U.S. spent over $5 billion in 2015 disposing of waste in landfills. Much of this waste, such as PET plastic, is in demand among manufacturers as raw material for everything from textiles to packaging.

“The United States has one of the lowest recycling rates of any industrialized country, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. The U.S. has an opportunity to lead the way in recycling, while creating jobs, economic growth, and a more sustainable future,” says Nelson Switzer, Chief Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters North America. “As a company, we are on a very deliberate journey toward zero landfill waste in our products and operations, so I can think of no better opportunity than working collectively to ensure these recyclable materials are transformed from garbage to the valuable resources that they are.”

To date, Closed Loop Fund has diverted more than 100,000 tons of recyclable content, and the 11 projects currently funded are poised to divert 4 million tons by 2025. In that same timeframe, the Fund aims to:

  • Eliminate more than 40 million tons of greenhouse gas;
  • Divert more than 20 million cumulative tons of waste from landfills;
  • Provide a $40M economic benefit to municipalities;
  • Prove replicable models that will help unlock additional investment in recycling.

“Nestlé Waters’ commitment to Closed Loop Fund is a significant investment in creating shared value across the recycling supply chain,” said Rob Kaplan, Managing Director of Closed Loop Fund. “The investment will enable people to recycle more, and efficiently turn those packages into new products. It will save taxpayer dollars and improve the recycling system.”

This investment in Closed Loop Fund is just the latest in Nestlé Waters’ efforts to help shape products and systems that contribute toward sustainable consumption, and help the company achieve zero environmental impact by 2030. Having pioneered the lightweight bottle, the company has reduced the plastic content of its bottles by over 60% since 1994. Just last month, Nestlé Waters reached a critical milestone in its use of recycled plastic content (rPET), announcing that 9 out of 10 of its California-born Arrowhead® Mountain Spring Water bottles incorporate 50% post-consumer recycled plastic content. As a result, 1.8 billion bottles have been kept from landfills, and the 86 million pounds of recycled plastic has saved 69,660 tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of 39,000 round trip flights from New York to Los Angeles.

About Nestlé Waters North America

Nestlé Waters North America provides people with an unrivaled portfolio of bottled waters for healthy hydration. Brands such as Nestlé® Pure Life®, Poland Spring®, Perrier®, and S. Pellegrino® have driven Nestlé Waters North America to be the third largest non-alcoholic beverage company by volume in the U.S. Based in Stamford, Connecticut with over 8,500 employees nationwide, Nestlé Waters is committed to reducing its environmental footprint across operations. The company is also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the 140 communities where it operates in the U.S.

About Closed Loop Fund

Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities and companies 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, and 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, Nestlé Waters North America, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. For more information, visit www.closedloopfund.com.

Investors Call for Climate Action through Forestry Investment

New Forests’ investment symposium featured former VP Al Gore, California Senate President Kevin de Leόn, investors, and Native leaders at the forefront of climate mitigation

Press Release – May 17, 2017, SAN FRANCISCO – A diverse group of more than 100 institutional investors, impact investors, businesses, and NGOs gathered in San Francisco to explore investment opportunities in the forest sector that will help mitigate climate change. The investment symposium was convened on May 16 in San Francisco by New Forests, an international investment manager specializing in strategies for sustainable forest management and conservation. As the global community increasingly seeks to mobilize capital for climate solutions, the event highlighted the important role of forests in both removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere as well as the contribution of the forest sector to a rising bio-economy.

Former Vice President Al Gore opened the event with his keynote speech on the Case for Optimism in the Climate Crisis. Gore is chairman of Generation Investment Management, which has been invested in New Forests since 2008.

Kevin de León, the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate and a leader in legislative action on climate change, also spoke at the event. Senator de León noted, “California has been leading the transition to a low carbon economy for decades. We know we don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We’ve already adopted some of the most ambitious clean energy and emissions targets in the world and we’re not done yet.”

Alongside the business case for investing in forest-climate solutions, New Forests’ symposium explored the experience of Native American communities who have enrolled their forests to provide carbon offsets for California’s emissions trading scheme. Through its Forest Carbon Partners program, New Forests is currently working with several tribes in California, Alaska, and New Mexico as part of its forest-carbon investments on more than 445,000 acres of forests in the United States.

Chairman Thomas O’Rourke of the Yurok Tribal Council, who also spoke at the symposium, said, “The Yurok and other Native American tribes across the United States are taking the lead in managing forests to address our climate challenge. Partnering with New Forests to develop a forest carbon offset project on Yurok lands has supported our long-term sustainable forest stewardship, the re-acquisition of ancestral Yurok territory, and the re-patriation of important cultural heritage.”

The Forests as a Climate Solution event also highlighted the experience of foundations, corporations, and institutional investors in integrating climate impacts within their timberland investments and broader objectives to decarbonize businesses and investment portfolios. The symposium is an important step in furthering the dialogue around how to best direct private capital into forest-climate solutions.

“The forest sector, alongside renewable energy, will be critical in transitioning the global economy to a low carbon future,” said New Forests’ CEO David Brand. “We increasingly see our investors looking not only to understand the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their investments but also to understand how forestry assets in their portfolio can decrease emissions and play a role in the growing bio-economy.”

Brand continued, “We believe the emergence of new uses for timber and innovation in the forest sector will be able to provide attractive opportunities for investors while also providing the public good of climate change mitigation. Ultimately we are at a critical point in which the investment community can address the greatest challenge of our time – climate change – while still meeting their needs for financial return.”

About New Forests

As global demand for resources grows, there is a need to increase productivity while ensuring the conservation of the world’s remaining natural forests. New Forests seeks to create investment strategies that provide lasting solutions to this challenge. Through responsible management of forests and other real assets, we create shared benefit for investors and local communities alike. We believe that meeting the needs of a broad range of stakeholders will provide better returns over the long term.

New Forests has international reach, with offices and assets in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the US. This gives us a global perspective combined with local expertise that allows us to understand and manage our assets more effectively. Wherever we operate in the world, our strength lies in our people and their drive to make investments that create the best possible outcomes. By investing with integrity and transparency we aim to generate strong returns while helping tackle some of the world’s great sustainability challenges.

Learn more at www.newforests.com.au.

Introducing Swell: The Impact Investing Platform Aiming to Deliver Profit and Purpose

Swell Portfolios Directly Address Some of Today’s Most Pressing Global Challenges

Press Release – NEWPORT BEACH, CA — May 16, 2017 — Swell, an impact investing platform that aims to deliver profit as well as purpose, launches today. With a minimum investment of just $500, Swell provides consumers the opportunity to invest in six portfolios focused on a positive future: Green Technology, Renewable Energy, Zero Waste, Clean Water, Healthy Living and Disease Eradication.

Built on the belief that today’s biggest challenges will result in tomorrow’s leading industries, Swell identifies high-impact, high-potential companies that are working toward innovative solutions to these challenges through in-depth research typically not available to everyday investors. Swell designed its purpose-driven profit model and intuitive user experience based on the insight that consumers want to invest consciously but aren’t willing to sacrifice returns.

“At Swell, we believe performance is about more than just profit,” says CEO Dave Fanger. “Swell is on a mission to ensure that every person can have an impact while also investing in their financial future. We’re proud to offer people a way to invest in progress, beginning today.”

Swell provides institutional level investment expertise for its investors

When building the portfolios, the dedicated impact analysis team first applies Swell’s proprietary Engaged Impact Criteria™, which is unapologetically selective. The criteria screens for impact in a number of ways including a company’s MSCI ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) rating and its alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Swell also requires that each company derives revenue from its associated impact theme, an indicator that it is actively contributing to progress.

Then, Swell’s portfolio management team looks at the company’s fundamentals to determine what percentage, if any, will be included in its portfolios to optimize the risk-return profile. Only when a company meets all of these criteria will it be considered for a Swell portfolio.

The result is Swell’s six thematic portfolios with purpose, all of which represent baskets of mainly small- and mid-cap companies that Swell believes are poised for high growth based on global social and environmental trends.

Swell is a venture startup incubated by Pacific Life, a company with nearly 150 years of experience in financial services. In 2015, Swell tapped global design firm IDEO to serve as creative partner and help evolve the company. In 2016, Swell hired Carbon Five as its software development partner.

How it works

  • Get Started: Signing up for Swell is a quick and easy process that can be completed on any device and typically takes a few minutes.
  • Create a Mix: Swell offers six thematic portfolios and an investor can choose to invest in any combination of them.
  • Start Investing: After creating a mix, the investor links a bank account to make his or her first investment. Swell’s low entry point is set at just $500 and it also offers automated recurring deposits.
  • Fee Structure: Swell has one simple, flat fee of 0.75% per year. That means if the total investment is $500.00, the total annual fee will be $3.75, about the cost of a cup of coffee.

To learn more and to begin investing, please visit www.swellinvesting.com.

About Swell

Swell, an impact investing platform that aims to deliver profit as well as purpose, was built on the belief that today’s biggest challenges will result in tomorrow’s leading industries. It identifies high-impact, high-potential companies that are focused on a positive future, making the information and investment opportunity widely available. Swell is an SEC registered investment adviser incubated by Pacific Life, a company that has nearly 150 years of experience in financial services. Learn more at www.swellinvesting.com, facebook.com/swellinvesting, twitter.com/swellinvesting, instagram.com/swellinvesting, linkedin.com/company/swellinvesting, blog.swellinvesting.com.

Tech Coast Angels Declares Record First Quarter; Angel Network Invests $3.8M in Q1 2017

Press Release – IRVINE, Calif. – May 11, 2017Tech Coast Angels (TCA) today announced that it had invested a total of $3.8 million in 17 total deals for the quarter ending March 31, 2017—its best Q1 in the angel network’s 20-year history both in dollars and number of companies invested. Southern California companies received 99% of the investment dollars, which reinforces TCA’s commitment to its local startup ecosystem. All but one of the investments for the quarter were early stage: Seed Equity, Series A or bridge to Series A funding, and with 93% of total dollars invested into nine new companies.

The nine new companies were Buy It Installed, Carepoynt, Cherryvale Farms, Conectric, Echo Laboratories Inc., InvestED, Mobilize Solutions, OnRamp, and Tot Squad.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the dollars invested went into companies already in revenue, reflecting the trend of angel investments in companies with an already-developed minimum viable product and showing evidence of traction with customers.

“Today’s information shows the strength of our local entrepreneurial ecosystem and of TCA as a group,” said Jeff Draa, Chairman of Tech Coast Angels. “Unlike other angel networks who’ve reported a shift towards follow-on investing, and unlike our experience in 2014 and 2015 when the majority of our investments were in follow-on rounds, our Q1 2017 investments show a tremendous upsurge in new deals, reflecting strong excitement by our members about new opportunities.”

TCA also realized three exits in Q1 2017:

  • Savara Pharmaceuticals (a pulmonary pharmaceutical company) announced it would become a public company (NASDAQ (SVRA)) through its merger with MAST;
  • WeGoLook (an on-demand field services company) was acquired by Crawford & Co., yielding a return to TCA of 8x in less than three years;
  • Everystory (a digital therapeutic company) repositioned itself as a publicly traded life sciences company Dthera Sciences — a digital therapeutic treatment for dementia

“TCA members are investing in early-stage businesses that they can help to succeed with far more than just financial support,” continued Mr. Draa. “Our members offer guidance, direction and connections in addition to investment capital.”

About Tech Coast Angels:

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest and most active angel investor networks in the nation, and a leading source of funding for seed-stage and early-stage companies across all industries in Southern California. TCA members are accredited investors who individually invest in startup companies, and as a group, TCA has invested up to $6M in a single company. The companies TCA invest in go through well-structured, transparent, and time efficient screening and due diligence. TCA members are themselves founders and executive level business leaders who have extensive knowledge in the investment process and world-class business practices. TCA members thus provide companies with more than just capital; they also contribute counsel, mentoring and access to an extensive network of investors, customers, strategic partners and management.

TCA is a catalyst in the growth of the thriving Southern California entrepreneurial ecosystem of innovation, funding mostly emerging technologies and life science companies. The most recent Halo Report rated TCA as #2 nationally in a number of funded deals. A recent analysis by CB Insights ranked TCA #1 out of 370 angel groups on “Network Centrality” and #5 overall in “Investor Mosaic.” Since its founding in 1997, TCA has invested over $190 million in more than 335 companies and has helped attract more than $1.5 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. For more information, please visit www.techcoastangels.com.

New Impact Investing Performance Data Show That Impact Funds In The Private Real Assets Arena Have Delivered Returns On Par With Similar Funds With No Environmental or Social Objectives

New Benchmarks from Cambridge Associates and the Global Impact Investing Network Provide Financial Performance Data on Real Assets-Focused Private Impact Investments, and Highlight Importance of Manager Selection for Outperformance

Press Release – Boston and New York (May 3, 2017) – Private real assets impact investment funds, which invest in assets such as timber, real estate and infrastructure and aim to advance environmental or social objectives in addition to generating a financial return, can generate returns comparable to similar funds that do not have specific environmental or social goals.

That’s according to the Financial Performance of Real Assets Impact Investments report, which presents the first comprehensive analysis of the financial performance of private real assets impact investment funds in three sectors: timber, real estate, and infrastructure. The report launches three benchmarks developed and compiled by global investment firm Cambridge Associates in partnership with the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), which seeks to increase the scale and effectiveness of impact investing around the world. Cambridge Associates will provide updated performance data on the three benchmarks on a quarterly basis.

Real assets play a number of roles in institutional portfolios, providing diversification, current income, the potential for strong, long-term returns, and an inflation hedge. In addition to these benefits, real assets impact investment funds present opportunities for alignment with a number of important impact objectives. For example, in this study many timber-focused impact funds pursue sustainable timber production or land conservation; real estate-focused impact funds are typically focused on green real estate and/or affordable housing; most infrastructure-focused impact funds targeted renewable energy generation.

“Focusing this benchmark on real assets was important because a large impact investment opportunity set lies in that sector. Many impact investors — especially those with an environmental focus — are looking to invest in areas such as low-carbon infrastructure and green real estate,” said Jessica Matthews, head of the Mission-Related Investing Practice at Cambridge Associates. “Each fund included in the benchmark has a clear and established commitment to impact. What we set out to analyze was how their financial returns compare to a larger universe of private real assets funds.”

Performance Data by Sector

The report compared the performance of these real assets impact funds with universes of private real assets funds with the same vintage years and sector focus but no social impact objectives. To get a clearer picture of these funds’ return potential, it helps to examine how the median and top-quartiles of each sector performed. Investors interested in private investments use a number of criteria to select managers, often including top-quartile performance, according to the report.

A few takeaways:

  • Timber-focused private impact funds outperformed non-impact timber funds, both in terms of median and top-quartile returns. The median net internal rate of return (IRR) for timber-focused impact funds in the benchmark was 5.9%, compared with 3.3% for the comparative set of non-impact timber funds. The top-quartile funds in the timber-focused impact benchmark returned at least 8.6%, compared with 4.2% for the top quartile of non-impact timber funds.
  • Private real estate-focused impact funds’ returns were mixed, but top quartile returns were particularly strong. Top-quartile real estate-focused impact funds returned at least 15.9%, compared with 13.8% for the comparative set of top-quartile funds. However, the median return for real estate impact investing funds was lower than that of non-impact real estate funds; the median IRR for real estate-focused impact funds in the benchmark was 0.9%, compared with 7.8% for the comparative non-impact real estate funds.
  • Private infrastructure-focused impact funds’ median returns were also mixed, with returns lower than those of non-impact private infrastructure funds, but higher than those of private equity energy funds. The median net IRR of infrastructure-focused private impact funds was 2.5%, compared with 6.5% for non-impact infrastructure funds, and 1.7% for non-impact private equity energy funds. (Since infrastructure-focused impact investment funds often invest in renewable energy, the report also compared these funds with a set of private equity energy funds.) Top-quartile infrastructure-focused impact funds returned at least 5.7%, while non-impact infrastructure returned 10.0% and non-impact energy returned 11.2%.

“The ability to review and analyze fund performance data is essential to helping current, aspiring, and future impact investors understand a market and make prudent decisions,” said Amit Bouri, CEO and Co-Founder of the GIIN. “This benchmark, which provides transparency into the financial performance of real assets impact investments, is part of a larger set of benchmarks that the GIIN and our partners are producing to help institutions make smart and well-informed investment decisions.”

“There is a misperception that impact investments always come at a price: lower returns. But this research shows that institutions can align this important part of their portfolios — real assets — with their social and environmental missions, without necessarily sacrificing financial returns,” said Matthews.

The Cambridge Associates Real Assets Impact Investing Benchmark includes 55 private investment funds of vintage years 1997-2014. Of these 55 funds, 18 focused on timber investments, 20 targeted the real estate sector and 17 made investments in infrastructure. The comparative universes of non-impact timber, real estate and infrastructure funds contained 24, 618 and 60 funds, respectively. The comparative universe of private equity energy funds, which was also compared to the performance of infrastructure-focused private impact funds, contained 162 funds.

About Cambridge Associates

Cambridge Associates is a global investment firm founded in 1973 that builds customized investment portfolios for institutional investors and private clients around the world. Working alongside its early clients, among them several leading universities, the firm pioneered the strategy of high equity orientation and broad diversification, which since the 1980s has been a primary driver of performance for these leading fiduciary investors. Cambridge Associates serves over 1,100 global investors — primarily foundations and endowments, pensions and family offices — and delivers a range of services, including outsourced investment (OCIO) solutions, traditional advisory services, and access to research and tools across global asset classes. Cambridge Associates has more than 1,300 employees — including over 150 research staff — serving its client base globally. The firm maintains offices in Arlington, VA; New York; Boston; Dallas; Menlo Park and San Francisco, CA; Toronto; London, UK; Singapore; Sydney; and Beijing. Cambridge Associates consists of five global investment consulting affiliates that are all under common ownership and control. For more information about Cambridge Associates, please visit www.cambridgeassociates.com.

About the Global Impact Investing Network

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing around the world. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon the circumstances. The GIIN builds critical infrastructure and supports activities, education, and research that help accelerate the development of a coherent impact investing industry. For more information, please visit www.thegiin.org.

Nominet Trust Backs Eight New Social Tech Projects Helping Transform Lives

Nearly £375,000 awarded to eight ‘tech for good’ ventures in the seventh round of Social Tech Seed funding

Press Release – 2nd May 2017, London — A new group of early-stage social tech ventures has been awarded funding by Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated tech for good funder. The funding will support the development of digital technology solutions to improve the lives of others, including wheelchair users, vulnerable people who need help navigating the legal system, stroke survivors, victims of stalking, and young asthma patients. Using a variety of leading-edge technologies, these innovators are tackling real-world social challenges and creating positive change.

Eight social tech enterprises have been selected as the latest recipients of Nominet Trust’s successful Social Tech Seed funding programme. The combined grant and support package will enable these ventures to demonstrate the potential of their social tech products and services, providing digital tech solutions to a variety of social challenges and having a positive impact on people’s lives.

For example, Disrupt Disability, recognised in the 2016 NT100, is transforming the way wheelchairs are designed, manufactured and distributed – with a mission to help the 52 million people worldwide who do not have access to a wheelchair that meets their needs. Their disruptive and liberating approach has at its heart an online platform of open source wheelchair designs that enable people to access, create, and adapt components to reflect specific needs, producing wheelchairs that are affordable, modular and fully customisable.

media co-op’s incident recording app has been designed to empower victims of stalking. Developed with victims, campaigners, police, public prosecutors and lawyers in Scotland, the app will transform the way victims log stalking incidents – increasing their sense of control and the chances of successful prosecutions.

TapSOS Ltd has developed an app that provides a nonverbal method of contacting the emergency services. It works to help people whose ability to communicate is compromised, for example by hearing impairments, speech impediments, breathing difficulties, or who are victims of domestic violence. With TapSOS, they can call for help without needing to speak.

In this seventh round of Social Tech Seed, Nominet Trust has awarded a total of £374,763. Social Tech Seed is an open grant funding programme that offers entrepreneurial organisations early-stage investment to develop innovative projects harnessing the power of the internet and digital technologies to tackle social issues to improve lives. The programme supports projects tackling pressing social challenges such as the environment and sustainability, the justice system, education, employment and medicine. The eight organisations chosen will use the funding to develop their products and services further, demonstrating their social, user and financial value.

The other successful ventures are:

  • Corporation Pop has created Patient’s Virtual Guide, a mobile app that demystifies the hospital process for younger patients, allowing them to explore what they can expect to happen to them in hospital through a fun and stimulating game, harnessing augmented reality and beacon technology.
  • Neurofenix’s Gameball Platform revolutionises rehabilitation therapy for stroke survivors through games and social networking.
  • Tiny Medical Apps has developed Learnable – a gamified app to encourage teenagers to stick to their Personalised Asthma Action Plans.
  • Mapmyhealth is helping diabetes patients understand, engage with and self-manage their condition using digital therapeutics.
  • Just: Transcription is an automated speech-to-text service that produces fast, accurate and cost effective court transcripts, tackling the key barriers of accessibility and transparency of justice for the most vulnerable.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, said: “The UK has a burgeoning social tech sector, but access to funding for start-ups at the very early stages of their development remains limited – yet this is crucial to enable social innovators to test their ideas and unlock the potential of digital tech to improve lives. Nominet Trust is proud to support these eight new ventures via our Social Tech Seed programme, which has been hugely successful in kick-starting dozens of similarly exciting new projects. We’re looking forward to seeing how they develop.”

Social Tech Seed has supported 40 organisations through its six cohorts to date. Previous grantees include Open Bionics, who use the latest 3D body scanning and printing technology to create bionic hands that are lightweight, take five days to fit and cost just £2,000; and Alice, an online platform harnessing blockchain technology to make charitable giving more transparent – restoring trust in charities.

Tech Coast Angels Invested $14.1 Million into 55 Companies and Completed Six Exits in 2016

During its 20th Year, Angel Network also Launched Angel Syndication Network to Share Deals with over 20 Other Angel Groups

Press Release – IRVINE, Calif. – April 25, 2017Tech Coast Angels (TCA) invested $14.1 million in a total of 55 companies in a diverse mix of industries in 2016. TCA’s total investment for the year was its fourth highest since the network’s inception in 1997, and its two largest deals in 2016 were Echo Labs and Movocash – each at over $1 million from TCA. TCA had six exits including five acquisitions (Retrosense Therapeutics, WeGoLook, Clearcare, Hipmunk, and HitFix) and one optional exit (grandPad) upon receiving strategic investment from Acer. This brings the total exits to 68 in the angel network’s history.

Ninety-one percent (91%) of the deals were seed or Series A rounds. Sixty-two percent (62%) of the companies in which TCA invested were initial investments by TCA, up from 35% in 2015. The investment increase in new and early stage companies reflected a wide berth of opportunities in 2016, however the report cautions that such investment activity may be similar to “experiencing an Indian Summer,” as this cycle seems to be drawing to a close.

These investments were across a broad range of industries, but the largest investments in dollars were in life sciences (35%), internet/apps (20%), software (15%) and financial services (16%).

“Although the year started slowly for investments, TCA finished strong in 2016. Additionally, we started a new syndication network to build better deals with great companies regardless of geography,” said Jeff Draa, 2017 Chairman of Tech Coast Angels. “While the diverse experience of our over 300 members helps us as a network to invest with confidence in a wide range of industries, the amount of solid expertise and knowledge also greatly benefits the companies in which we invest, guide and mentor. Together, that formula has helped us achieve results in liquidity events that surpass the averages for other angel groups.”

TCA also participated, along with CommonAngels from Boston, in research that was published in a joint study by Harvard Business School and MIT last calendar year, which may be the first quantitative analysis showing that companies receiving angel funding achieve greater success in many areas (including employees, survival, patents granted, etc.) than companies who did not receive angel funding.

Access TCA’s full 2016 year-end report for more details. The report includes a summarization of 2016, the investment outlook for 2017, the list of companies added to our portfolio, and various infographics.

About Tech Coast Angels:

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest and most active angel investor networks in the nation, and a leading source of funding for seed-stage and early-stage companies across all industries in Southern California. TCA members are accredited investors who individually invest in startup companies, and as a group, TCA has invested up to $6M in a single company. The companies TCA invest in go through well-structured, transparent, and time efficient screening and due diligence. TCA members are themselves founders and executive level business leaders who have extensive knowledge in the investment process and world-class business practices. TCA members thus provide companies with more than just capital; they also contribute counsel, mentoring and access to an extensive network of investors, customers, strategic partners and management.

TCA is a catalyst in the growth of the thriving Southern California entrepreneurial ecosystem of innovation, funding mostly emerging technologies and life science companies. The most recent Halo Report rated TCA as #2 nationally in a number of funded deals. A recent analysis by CB Insights ranked TCA #1 out of 370 angel groups on “Network Centrality” and #5 overall in “Investor Mosaic.” Since its founding in 1997, TCA has invested over $190 million in more than 335 companies and has helped attract more than $1.5 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. For more information, please visit http://www.techcoastangels.com.

Athena Publishes Research on Constructing Impact Portfolios

Press Release – LINCOLN, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Athena Capital Advisors, a registered investment adviser that provides investment management, advisory, and outsourced CIO services to private clients and institutions, has released new research on a framework for constructing diversified, multi-asset class investment portfolios that seek both financial and social return.

Building Impact Portfolios, follows release of Impact Investing: History & Opportunity in January 2017. While the earlier paper reviewed the broad landscape of impact investment strategies that are available across asset classes, the new one describes an approach to combining individual investments into a comprehensive and coherent portfolio. It also builds on “Social Finance and the Post-Modern Portfolio: Theory & Practice,” which appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of The Journal of Wealth Management.

“Much of the dialogue about impact investing has focused on specific investments,” observed Athena’s William McCalpin, Managing Partner, Impact Investments. “Identifying and diligencing individual opportunities that align with client interests is important, but so too is organizing them into a portfolio. The paper describes how we are approaching the portfolio construction process in order to solve for each investor’s risk, return, and impact objectives.”

Mr. McCalpin will discuss the firm’s approach during Big Path Capital’s 8th Annual Impact Capitalism Summit in Chicago on April 25 and 26.

“Since Athena’s founding more than 20 years ago, we have used the principles of modern finance to build and manage client portfolios,” said Lisette Cooper, the firm’s founder and chief investment officer. “Building Impact Portfolios describes how we are extending Modern Portfolio Theory to incorporate the third dimension of impact and using that framework to address the needs of the growing number of clients interested in social return.”

ABOUT ATHENA CAPITAL ADVISORS

Founded in 1993, Athena Capital Advisors is an independent, privately owned, registered investment adviser located in Lincoln, Massachusetts and New York City. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately $5.5 billion in assets under management. Athena offers clients investment advisory and management, investment administration and reporting, external chief investment officer, and wealth planning services. Its clients include both taxable families and tax-exempt institutions. Athena uses a research-driven approach to strategic and tactical asset allocation to provide solutions that are customized to each client’s particular circumstances and objectives. For additional information on Athena Capital Advisors, please visit www.athenacapital.com.

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