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

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

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SolarNow Raises $9M From Novastar And Shell

Leading off-grid solar company SolarNow today announces its $9 million series-B equity round. This capital allows the Dutch company to scale its distribution in Uganda and Kenya and expand into new markets. Investors include Novastar and Shell.

Press Release – SolarNow sells and installs high quality customized solar energy solutions capable of supporting income-generating activities, as well as the widest range of electrical appliances available in East African markets, including televisions, fridges and water pumps. The firm’s 55 branches (850 FTE) support an installed base of 25,000 households, schools, clinics and entrepreneurs in Uganda and Kenya. With sales of 1,400 new systems generating revenues in excess of $1M per month, SolarNow is one of the first solar companies in Africa to achieve operational profitability.

“This investment allows us to strengthen our market share in existing markets, and continue our organic growth path into new markets in East and West Africa” says Willem Nolens, SolarNow’s founder and CEO. He adds that “the investment will allow us to design and market more productive appliances, thereby enabling farmers to increase their income”.

Novastar Ventures, based in Nairobi Kenya increased its shareholding during this round. Novastar’s Managing Director Andrew Carruthers explains: “Since we invested three years ago, SolarNow’s management have proven their ability to successfully scale a business model with strong unit economics. We are delighted to see that the company’s rigorous focus on quality and customer satisfaction is proving successful, with over 40% of all new clients being referred by existing clients.”

“We are impressed by SolarNow’s talented and experienced team. They have built a proven business and an exciting modular product offering”, said Brian Davis, Vice President, Integrated Energy Solutions for New Energies at Shell. “We believe that decentralised solutions will play an important role in providing productive energy to customers who currently lack reliable power. This investment is an important step for our Energy Access portfolio and we look forward to helping the business reach its potential.”

About SolarNow

SolarNow was established in 2011 to answer the pressing demand for affordable, high-quality solar home systems amongst millions of off-grid households and entrepreneurs in East Africa. The company developed an innovative, modular product range (50Wp – 10KWp) that is sold through branches in rural areas. Products include appliances such as radios, TVs, refrigerators and water pumps amongst others, and come with a 24-month credit facility and 5 years of free service. The operations follow a simple, highly-standardized and low-cost design. Client repayment rate exceeds 98%, reflecting the company’s extraordinary level of client satisfaction.

www.solarnow.eu

About Novastar Ventures

Novastar is a venture catalyst firm assisting the next generation of exceptional entrepreneurs who are designing and executing innovative business models to profitably serve East Africa’s aspiring mass market. These ‘New Stars’ are the catalysts for innovation, accountability, efficiency and the accumulation of wealth for the common good. Novastar partners with entrepreneurs to help bring ideas to life and multiply their impact.

www.novastarventures.com

About Shell Technology Ventures

Shell Technology Ventures B.V. is the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”). It supports Shell’s New Energies business which was created in 2016. New Energies focuses on two main areas: new fuels for transport, such as advanced biofuels and hydrogen; and power, which includes low-carbon sources such as wind and solar, as well as natural gas. Within the power portfolio, Shell is also actively pursuing investments in scalable commercial businesses that expand energy access to communities who currently have no energy at all or unreliable supply.

www.shell.com/about-us/what-we-do/new-energies.html

Background

There are 1.2 billion people in developing countries with no access to electricity, while another billion only have unreliable access. Solar power now offers an economic solution for people living off-grid in rural areas, providing lighting, mobile phone charging and even highly-efficient televisions and fridges. A new generation of solar companies has emerged to deploy these systems commercially, but many have struggled to access mainstream financing to fuel their growth.


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Industry Leaders Announce Breakthrough In Eco-Friendly Inks

EcoEnclose partners with Living Ink to test the world’s first algae-based printing ink, Algae Ink

Press Release – DENVER, CO – 12/14/2017 (PRESS RELEASE JET) — Louisville, CO: EcoEnclose and Living Ink Technologies have announced the world’s first commercial printing press using Algae InkTM. The commercial print job was performed for Alluvian, a client of EcoEnclose and niche manufacturer of small-batch aquatic botanical soap and sustainable grooming products.

Algae Ink is the world’s first modern, commercial black ink made with 100% renewable pigments. As the first fully renewable, toxin-free, and fully compostable ink available, the black ink formulation includes 16% algae cells (pigment) and 63% water; current industry practices use Carbon Black as pigment. Living Ink Technologies is a bioscience research and product company developing the first environmentally safe and sustainable printing inks grown from algae. Living Ink was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop the technology, Algae InkTM.

Saloni Doshi, Co-Owner of EcoEnclose, says, “By introducing eco-friendly packaging and commercial printing with fully renewable, safe and biodegradable inks, EcoEnclose and Living Ink are challenging the entire ink industry to be more transparent, innovative and eco-minded when it comes to their formulations. Our quest to educate consumers and companies to demand more information and accountability from their packaging and ink suppliers is marked as official by the world’s first commercial printing press involving the use of EcoEnclose eco-friendly packaging with Algae InkTM.”

Scott Fulbright, PHD; Co-Founder & CEO of Living Ink, offers expert insight as to why algae outshines veggie ink alternatives: “Few people understand that soy and water-based inks are largely made with petroleum-derived pigments. Unlike other plant-based alternatives to petroleum, algae grows with just water, sunlight and CO2. It absorbs CO2 in its production, and it grows at a rapid rate. Soy, on the other hand, is completely reliant on gas, diesel and electricity from production, all the way through harvesting and processing. Algae inks are completely biodegradable, making for better compost, more effective removal of printing ink from paper fibers in the recycling process, and purer waste streams.”

EcoEnclose (https://www.ecoenclose.com/) is the leader in environmentally friendly packaging and shipping supplies. EcoEnclose is committed to bringing eco innovation and transparency to the world of ecommerce packaging, and to helping ecommerce companies improve the environmental footprint of their products and operations.


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Digital Opportunity Trust Youth From Africa And Middle East Visit Ottawa, Encourage Canada To Involve Youth As Innovators

Press Release – Six Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) youth from East Africa and the Middle East are visiting Ottawa from December 4-15 to discuss the powerful impact youth have when they put their minds to solving challenges in their communities and countries.

The group will meet with Canadian influencers – including government ministers, Shopify, and Indigenous Youth Voices – to discuss how Canada can invest in the skills, knowledge, and networks youth need to become daring innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs in their own communities and on the global stage.

As members of DOT’s movement of daring young social innovators, the youth will speak about the power of youth-led social entrepreneurship to build an economy of social good, create jobs and systemic change, and transform communities.

The group includes youth representatives from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Lebanon who are inspiring leaders in their own communities.

DOT, a Canadian-based non-profit that works in 25 countries, supports youth to become innovators and leaders, and to create and apply digital solutions that have positive impact in their communities.

DOT and its youth representatives are calling for Canada to purposefully engage youth – particularly young women and Indigenous youth – as decision-makers and key contributors to policy and innovation programs.

Millennials will be the largest generation voting in Canada’s 2019 election, and nearly half of Indigenous peoples in Canada are under the age of 24. Globally, youth number 1.8 billion. Research shows that youth today are more educated, connected, and socially responsible than ever before.

Equipped with skills, knowledge, and networks, young social entrepreneurs are successfully tackling systemic problems that governments, charities, and the private sector have spent decades trying to address.

Ng’walu Kidayi, 26, from Tanzania, is one of the visiting youth. She shares: “As a young woman, I see first-hand how important it is to provide skills training to vulnerable girls in my community, where opportunities are few. Because I have this personal insight, I can build a solution that works where others have tried and failed. Supporting youth to identify and solve challenges with business solutions is a way to make change and actually solve the big issues that impact their communities.”

Digital Opportunity Trust: http://dotrust.org


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Aspiration Raises Nearly $50 Million to Continue Building America’s Defining Socially-Conscious, Sustainable Financial Firm

Social Impact Finance Leads Investment Round, Joined By Allen and Company, Alpha Edison, Omidyar Network, Orlando Bloom and Los Angeles Clippers coach “Doc” Rivers

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, Calif. – December 12, 2017Aspiration, the financial firm with a conscience, today announced it has raised a $47 million Series B funding round, the largest B round ever raised by an online banking company in America. Aspiration will be using the investment to accelerate its growth in customers and new products as it builds the most pro-consumer, pro-conscience financial firm in the country.

The round, which brings Aspiration’s total funding to $67 million, was led by Social Impact Finance, along with new and existing investors including Allen and Company, Omidyar Network, Alpha Edison, AGO Partners, Reyl & Cie, and Capricorn Investments. Individual investors include award-winning actor Orlando Bloom, Los Angeles Clippers coach “Doc” Rivers, former Citigroup Chief Operations and Technology Officer Deborah Hopkins, Bad Robot President Brian Weinstein, Rustic Canyon Partners founding partner Tom Unterman, and others.

Aspiration offers banking, investing and retirement products that help people improve their own financial situations while making a positive difference in the world. Since it opened for business in 2015, Aspiration has become one of the fastest growing online banking and investing companies in America, adding thousands of new customers every week. Aspiration customers currently transact over $2 billion a year on the Aspiration platform and save over $100 million in bank fees.

Aspiration’s growth has been driven by its revolutionary “Pay What Is Fair” business model which trusts customers to choose the fee they pay, even if it is zero. The vast majority of Aspiration customers choose to pay a fee, even though they are not obligated to – a testament to the honorable nature of most Americans and the value that Aspiration customers see in its products. This foundation of trust has led over 20,000 customers to switch from Wells Fargo to Aspiration since news of the big bank’s recent scandals broke. Aspiration is also one of the most charitable financial firms in America, donating 10% of its earnings to charitable microloans and mentoring for low-income Americans.

“We had our fair share of doubters when we first started Aspiration, but we’ve shown that profit and purpose can go hand-in-hand,” said Andrei Cherny, CEO of Aspiration. “Aspiration is growing fast because we have found innovative ways to put both our customers’ interests and their values first. I’m so excited about our ability to do so for many more people in many more ways in the months and years ahead.”

Aspiration’s high interest, no-fee banking account was named the “Best Checking Account in America” by Money magazine. Earlier this year, the company launched a new Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) feature of its mobile banking app that allows customers to see their own personal Sustainability Score and to choose where they spend based on businesses’ impact on people and the planet. The company partners with the Sierra Club and offers a 100% fossil fuel-free and firearm-free sustainable investment strategy available at a minimum investment of $100. By investing sustainably with Aspiration instead of the S&P 500, Aspiration customers have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of three million fewer miles driven by American cars.

“Aspiration has seen astonishing growth in just a couple of years and we’re convinced this is just the beginning of an even bigger trend,” said Ibrahim AlHusseini, Managing Director of Social Impact Finance. “Consumers are ‘voting with their money’ now more than ever, which means they are increasingly investing in companies that share their values. Aspiration is the world’s leader in bringing this spirit of investing with a conscience to the financial services industry.”

“This milestone is a tribute to the Aspiration community of customers whose demand for people-centered banking and investing is blazing the trail for better financial services for everyone,” said Aspiration co-founder Joseph Sanberg.

About Aspiration:

Aspiration is a financial firm with a conscience dedicated to bringing fair, sustainable banking and investment products that help its customers “Do Well” and “Do Good.” Since it opened for business in 2015, Aspiration has become one of the fastest growing online financial firms in America, now adding thousands of new customers every week. By allowing its customers to pay what they think is fair; donating 10 cents of every dollar earned to charity; helping its customers bank, spend, and invest sustainably; and bringing high-quality financial products to all, Aspiration is revolutionizing the financial industry and changing it for the better. Aspiration is a certified B Corp. For more information, visit Aspiration.com.


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Report Provides Detailed Insight On The Impact Measurement And Management Practices Of Impact Investors

Press Release – NEW YORK, December 7, 2017 – A new report, published by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), provides a comprehensive survey of the state of impact measurement and management (IMM) in the impact investing industry. The State of Impact Measurement and Management Practice, which captures data from 169 impact investors, provides valuable insight into how these organizations are assessing their social and environmental impact and how they are using that information for decision-making.

Key findings include:

Impact investors actively seek to understand and manage their impact. IMM is sometimes seen as a compliance or reporting activity; this research shows that IMM is actually a management tool, actively used by investors in a variety of ways to improve both their impact and business performance.

Impact Investors are motivated to achieve diverse types of impact through their investments and their approaches to IMM are designed to understand progress on those specific impact objectives. This diversity can be seen in the types of impact they seek to achieve and the groups of people they aim to benefit, such as women and girls or individuals of a certain socioeconomic status. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a common framework for defining impact goals. 42% of respondents seek to use their capital to address one or more of the SDGs, such as affordable and clean energy, decent work, and gender equality.

Impact investors use a variety of resources to measure and manage their impact. The majority of impact investors (62%) use IRIS – a catalog of metrics and guidance managed by the GIIN – to define key indicators, while 41% use B Analytics, and 26% use the Principles for Responsible Investment.

Both intrinsic and explicit incentives drive the activities of impact investors. Although most respondents said their staff and investees are intrinsically motivated by impact, several investors have applied creative strategies to bake impact incentives into their business practices, such as tying impact targets to staff compensation or follow-on capital for investees.

Although investors note significant progress in the utility of IMM practice, defining fundamentals for understanding impact, as well as in the sophistication of tools and frameworks available, fragmentation in approaches to IMM remains a significant challenge.

“To fully realize the potential of impact investing, the industry needs to effectively integrate impact considerations into the investment process,” said Amit Bouri, the GIIN’s Chief Executive Officer. “This means information on impact should be considered alongside risk, return, and liquidity factors, so investors can manage their portfolio toward both impact and financial objectives. This report provides first-of-its-kind information about the emerging practice of impact measurement and management, which aims to enable investors to use both impact and financial data for decision-making.”

GIIN’s Director of Impact Measurement and Management, Kelly McCarthy, added, “The GIIN’s research shows that nearly all impact investors report their impact performance in some way, but there is still progress to be made in terms of establishing norms for how we integrate impact into investment decision-making. This report reinforces the importance of transparency, credibility, and accountability in impact measurement and management practice across the impact investing industry as it continues to evolve and grow.”

What is IMM? Impact measurement is the process of setting impact goals and targets, selecting appropriate metrics, collecting and analyzing data, evaluating impact, and reporting to stakeholders (internal and external). Impact management is the process of assessing the impacts of an investment on people and the planet and using that information to inform investment strategy and to improve performance.


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Win $40,000 for Your Business Idea in the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

All college students in Utah are invited to compete by submitting an executive summary by Feb. 15, 2018

Press Release – Dec. 7, 2017 – The application is now open for the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. Every year, this event provides college students the opportunity to compete for a $40,000 grand prize and more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. All college students in Utah are welcome to participate in this business-model competition. The registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at noon.

The competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

“Competing in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge for the past two years has helped me develop the skills and raise the capital to launch my businesses,” said Brody King, the chair of the event this year, an entrepreneur and a bioengineering student at the U. “I’m excited to use my perspective as a former competitor to make the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge the best one yet.”

With equity-free funding from Zions Bank, support from local businesses and an expanded professional network, the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge helps students launch their startup ideas. Last year’s $40,000 grand-prize winner, Rubi Life, developed a wearable fetal baby monitor and is currently working to secure additional funding from Kickstarter and venture capitalists across the country. Other past winners have gone on to raise millions of dollars in funding, expand throughout the world and achieve success.

To participate, students can visit the event website to download the competition packet and access the online application. Students must submit a 3-page executive summary for their business.

The top 20 teams will be selected based on their executive summaries and announced on Feb. 28, 2018. These teams advance to compete in the remaining phases of the competition, which include creating a 2-minute video, two pitches for live judging and tabling during the public showcase at Lassonde Studios on the U campus on April 7, 2018.

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute also hosts a related competition for high school students. The High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is open to all students in Utah ages 14-18. Teams are competing this year for $20,000 in cash and prizes. The application is open now until March 15, 2018.

Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge here: lassonde.utah.edu/uec.

Find last year’s competition rankings here.

2017-2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Timeline

  • Applications opens — Friday, Nov. 24, 2017
  • Application deadline — Thursday, Feb.15, 2018, noon
  • Online judging — Friday, Feb. 16 – Monday, Feb. 26, 2018
  • Top 20 announced — Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, noon
  • Top 20 video submission deadline — Monday, March 26, 2018, noon
  • Public video voting — Wednesday, March 28- Saturday, April 7, 2018
  • Top 20 PowerPoint submissions deadline — Friday, April 6, 2018, noon
  • Final Judging & Showcase — Saturday, April 7, 2018
    • Live Pitches and Judging: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
    • Public Showcase and Awards Ceremony at Lassonde Studios: 4-6 p.m.

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a new five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.


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Hartford Funds Launches its First NextShares Product

Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund Brings Socially Responsible Investing to the NextShares Platform

Press Release – Wayne, Penn. December 7, 2017 – Hartford Funds today announced the launch of Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund (HFGIC), the firm’s first NextShares product. NextShares are an innovative way to invest in actively managed strategies, which, because they trade on an exchange, may offer cost and tax efficiencies that may enhance shareholder returns. Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in companies throughout the world that it believes are likely to address major social and environmental challenges.

“The Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund is yet another step we are taking in listening to financial advisor demand for lower-cost, tax-efficient, and innovative products that can help investors reach their goals,” said Vernon Meyer, Chief Investment Officer of Hartford Funds. “The Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund allows us to offer actively managed strategies while also providing investors the opportunity to align their portfolios with their values.”

“We are proud to partner with Hartford Funds to bring Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund to market,” said Stephen Clarke, President of NextShares Solutions LLC. “It is the first equity NextShares product to invest in companies whose core business seeks to address the world’s major social and environmental challenges.”

NextShares, which, as an exchange-traded managed fund (“ETMF”), offer investors a new way to tap into and capitalize on actively managed strategies with potential cost and tax advantages, seek to outperform their benchmark index and peer funds based on their manager’s investment insights and research judgments. NextShares offers the potential benefits of protecting the confidentiality of fund trading information and providing trading cost transparency to fund investors.

Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund will invest in companies that focus their operations in areas that address themes including, but not limited to, sustainable agriculture and nutrition, health, clean water and sanitation, affordable housing, education and training, financial inclusion, narrowing the digital divide, alternative energy, resource stewardship and efficiency, as determined by the sub-adviser, Wellington Management Company LLP (“Wellington Management”). The Fund will operate as a “feeder fund” under a master-feeder structure along with the Hartford Global Impact mutual fund, with both funds investing all of their assets in shares of the Global Impact Master Portfolio.

The Hartford Global Impact NextShares Fund complements Hartford Funds’ two existing socially responsible investment products, the Hartford Global Impact Fund (HGXAX) and the Hartford Environmental Opportunities Fund (HEOMX).

Wellington Management’s Eric Rice, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, and R. Patrick Kent, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, will serve as the portfolio managers of the Hartford Global Impact Master Portfolio.

About Hartford Funds

Founded in 1996, Hartford Funds is a leading asset manager, which provides mutual funds, ETFs, and 529 college savings plans. Using its human-centric investing approach, Hartford Funds creates strategies and tools designed to address the needs and wants of investors. Leveraging partnerships with leading experts, Hartford Funds delivers insight into the latest demographic trends and investor behavior.

The firm’s line-up includes more than 55 mutual funds in a variety of styles and asset classes, as well as a variety of multifactor and active ETFs. Its mutual funds (with the exception of certain fund of funds) are sub-advised by Wellington Management or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. The strategic beta ETFs offered by Hartford Funds are designed to help address investors’ evolving needs by leveraging a unique risk-optimized approach, which identifies risks within each asset class and then deliberately and systematically re-allocates capital toward risks more likely to enhance return potential. As of September 30, 2017, Hartford Funds had approximately $95.6 billion (excluding assets used in certain annuity products) in discretionary and non-discretionary assets under management. For more information about our investment family, visit http://www.hartfordfunds.com.

About NextShares

Shares of NextShares funds are normally bought and sold in the secondary market through a broker, and may not be individually purchased or redeemed from the fund. In the secondary market, buyers and sellers transact with each other, rather than with the fund. NextShares funds issue and redeem shares only in specified creation unit quantities in transactions by or through Authorized Participants. In such transactions, a fund issues and redeems shares in exchange for the basket of securities, other instruments and/or cash that the fund specifies each business day. By transacting in kind, a NextShares fund can lower its trading costs and enhance fund tax efficiency by avoiding forced sales of securities to meet redemptions. Redemptions may be effected partially or entirely in cash when in-kind delivery is not practicable or deemed not in the best interests of shareholders. A fund’s basket is not intended to be representative of the fund’s current portfolio positions and may vary significantly from current positions. As exchange-traded securities, NextShares can operate with low transfer agency expenses by utilizing the same highly efficient share processing system as used for exchange-listed stocks and ETFs.

Market trading prices of NextShares are linked to the fund’s next-computed net asset value (NAV) and will vary from NAV by a market-determined premium or discount, which may be zero. Buyers and sellers of NextShares will not know the value of their purchases and sales until after the fund’s NAV is determined at the end of the trading day. Market trading prices may vary significantly from anticipated levels. NextShares do not offer investors the opportunity to buy and sell intraday based on current (versus end-of-day) determinations of fund value. NextShares trade execution prices will fluctuate based on changes in NAV. Although limit orders may be used to control trading costs, they cannot be used to control or limit trade execution prices. As a new type of fund, NextShares have a limited operating history and may initially be available through a limited number of brokers. There can be no guarantee that an active trading market for NextShares will develop or be maintained, or that their listing will continue unchanged. Buying and selling NextShares may require payment of brokerage commissions and expose transacting shareholders to other trading costs. Frequent trading may detract from realized investment returns. The return on a shareholder’s NextShares investment will be reduced if the shareholder sells shares at a greater discount or narrower premium to NAV than he or she acquired the shares.

NextShares™ is a trademark of NextShares Solutions LLC. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Important Information

All investments are subject to risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee the Fund will achieve its stated objective. The net asset value (NAV) of the Fund’s shares may fluctuate due to changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings, as well as the relative supply of and demand for the shares on an exchange. Foreign investments can be riskier and more volatile than U.S. investments due to the adverse effects of currency exchange rates, differences in market structure and liquidity, as well as political and economic developments in foreign countries and regions (e.g., “Brexit”). These risks are generally greater for investments in emerging markets. Small-cap securities can have greater risk and volatility than large-cap securities. Investing in companies that seek to address major social and environmental challenges may cause the Fund to forego certain investment opportunities and underperform Funds that do not have a similar focus. By investing in cash and money market instruments, the Fund may lose the benefit of market upswings. The Fund invests in a Master Portfolio so it is subject to master-feeder structure risk. Other feeder funds may invest in the Master Portfolio. A large-scale redemption by another feeder fund may increase the proportionate share of the costs of the Master Portfolio borne by the remaining feeder fund shareholders, including the Fund. The Fund is actively managed and does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. To the extent the NextShares Fund has a limited number of authorized participants (APs) who transact in its shares, the Fund may be adversely affected if an AP chooses not to make such transactions.

Investors should carefully consider a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus (if available), which can be obtained by visiting hartfordfunds.com. Please read it carefully before investing.

Hartford Funds refers to Hartford Funds Management Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including the mutual funds’, ETMFs’ and active ETFs’ investment manager, Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC (HFMC), the mutual funds’ distributor, Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC, Member FINRA, as well as Lattice Strategies LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of HFMC, which serves as the investment adviser to strategic beta exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Certain funds are sub-advised by Wellington Management Company LLP or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. Schroder Investment Management North America Ltd. serves as a secondary sub-adviser to certain funds. All ETFs and ETMFs are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. (ALPS). Hartford Funds is not affiliated with any fund sub-adviser or ALPS.

HIG-W

Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in The Hartford’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings The Hartford makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

From time to time, The Hartford may use its website to disseminate material company information. Financial and other important information regarding The Hartford is routinely accessible through and posted on our website at http://ir.thehartford.com. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about The Hartford when you enroll your email address by visiting the “Email Alerts” section at http://ir.thehartford.com.


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Closed Loop Partners Announces The Appointment Of A VP Of Closed Loop Oceans

New team member will lead the development of the firm’s work to finance waste and recycling infrastructure in emerging economies to address ocean plastics

Press Release – New York — Closed Loop Partners today announced the appointment of Grant Collins as Vice President of Closed Loop Oceans, its initiative to develop a new funding mechanism to prevent plastic waste from leaking into the world’s oceans. Closed Loop Oceans is a collaborative initiative in partnership with Ocean Conservancy, the Trash Free Seas Alliance, Closed Loop Partners, 3M, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, The Coca Cola Company, the American Chemistry Council and the World Plastics Council.

Research indicates that the majority of plastic debris originates from five fast growing economies in Asia – Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and China. As a result, the initiative will focus on galvanizing investment in waste management and recycling solutions in Southeast Asia.

Mr. Collins, who has spent over two decades in the international capital and commodities markets as a financier and a lawyer, joins Closed Loop Partners from Charlotte Square Consulting, where he focused on the development of innovative risk management and investment products with ethical or socially responsible objectives.

“With his multidisciplinary expertise in a broad range of developing economies, particularly those in Asia, as well as his deep knowledge of various investment products,” said Rob Kaplan, Managing Partner of Closed Loop Partners, “Grant is ideally positioned to lead this complex and impactful initiative to bring capital market solutions to bear on a global challenge — improving environmental, social, and economic outcomes across the region.”

“I am delighted to be joining Closed Loop Partners,” said Mr. Collins, “and to have the opportunity of contributing to the development of a funding strategy that will facilitate new sources of public and private investment in Southeast Asia’s waste management and recycling ecosystem while also demonstrating positive investment returns and tangible environmental impact.”

At the Our Ocean 2017 conference, a global gathering of world leaders to address some of the world’s most pressing ocean challenges, the Closed Loop Oceans initiative was announced. This initiative is designed to fund waste management and recycling solutions in Southeast Asia, with a focus on investments to improve collection, sorting and recycling markets. Nearly half of the plastic that flows into the ocean every year – an estimated 8 million metric tons – escapes from waste streams in just five rapidly developing economies in Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and China). Mr. Collins will be leading this work.

Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners invests in sustainable consumer goods, advanced recycling technologies and the development of the circular economy.

www.closedlooppartners.com

Reed Smith’s Social Impact Finance Group Structures World’s First Cross-border Healthcare Impact Bond

Press Release – LONDON – December 6, 2017 – On November 30, UBS Optimus Foundation and Palladium International Limited announced the formation of the world’s first healthcare development impact bond, aimed to reduce mother and baby deaths in Rajasthan, India. Reed Smith LLP acted as lead transaction counsel on both the structuring and legal aspects of the DIB.

Optimus will provide upfront funding up to $3.5 million over three years to Palladium, who will be managing the implementation of the DIB. USAID and Merc for Mothers are Outcome Payers on the transaction.

This ground-breaking impact bond will focus on reducing the number of maternal and newborn deaths in Rajasthan, India. Rajasthan has one of the highest maternal and newborn mortality rates in the country, with 244 maternal deaths per 100,000 births and 47 infant deaths per 1000 live births. The Maternal and Newborn Health DIB – known as the ‘Utkrisht bond’, taken from the Hindi for ‘Excellence’ – will support government efforts to reduce maternal and newborn deaths by improving access to, and the quality of care in, up to 440 private healthcare facilities in Rajasthan. The improvements are expected to benefit up to 600,000 women and could lead to more than 10,000 maternal and newborn lives being saved over five years.

The Reed Smith team was led by London-based partner Ranajoy Basu and included Andrzej Janiszewski (Counsel), Priya Taneja (Senior Associate) and Richelle Teo (Associate). The Reed Smith team had also advised Optimus on its first DIB, the three-year Educate Girls DIB that aims to keep girls from dropping out of schools and to improve education performance.

“Impact bonds are an innovative way of financing international development. They are 100% focused on outcomes and have the potential to leverage private philanthropic capital to address some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Basu.

The bond is Optimus’ second DIB in Rajasthan. In 2015, Reed Smith also advised Optimus on the three-year Educate Girls DIB, which is focused on improving educational performance of girls in Rajasthan. This bond was the world’s first development impact bond for education, and the second-year results indicate exciting progress for the program.

These two ground-breaking DIBs follow on from the wider work of Reed Smith’s global Social Impact Finance Group, which represents organisations and individuals – including investors, social entrepreneurs, financial institutions, private and institutional investors, social enterprises, and microfinance institutions – who are pioneering the development of innovative business models to address pressing social need.

For additional information, please refer to announcements made by Optimus and Palladium announcing this DIB and partner organizations.

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm, dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward.

Its long-standing relationships, international outlook and collaborative structure make it a go-to partner for speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters.

For further information, please visit www.reedsmith.com


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Novozymes And Grundfos Kick Off Collaboration For Clean Water

Biology and pump technology are combined, when the two leading global players enter an open innovation collaboration to find new solutions to the world’s water challenges.

Press Release – COPENHAGEN, Denmark – December 4, 2017 – When you combine biotech with cutting-edge water technology, you might find new solutions to some of the most pressing global issues concerning water scarcity. Thereby, you can make a direct impact on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, aiming at securing universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.

This is the scope, when the world’s leading expert in enzymes and microorganisms, Novozymes, and Grundfos, the global leader in advanced pump technologies, enter an open innovation collaboration.

The partnership takes place on HelloScience.io, an online universe launched by Novozymes in September 2017 where entrepreneurs, startups and others can connect with industry.

“This is a great opportunity. Partnering with Grundfos opens new possibilities for Novozymes, the HelloScience platform and its users. Until now, we have been able to connect the startups and academics, who are part of this network, with our knowledge about enzymes and microorganisms, and allowing them to use samples in their work, but now we can also connect them with Grundfos’ expertise in water treatment,” says Claus Crone Fuglsang, Senior Vice President, Research & Technology at Novozymes.

The two companies embark on their innovation voyage today. Four specific challenges will be posted online, allowing all in the HelloScience community to pitch their ideas on how to secure clean water for more people – and receive sparring, input and assistance from both Novozymes and Grundfos. The two companies seek solutions to remove polluting chemicals from water and improve cleaning of wastewater. That includes better filtering, less sludge, and recovery of phosphate, a precious nutrient, from wastewater.

“This is an excellent chance to see what we can do in combination with Novozymes. Adding biotechnology to what we can do in for instance digital dosing might very well open brand-new possibilities for e.g. water treatment. And while we strengthen our connection with Novozymes, we also get an opportunity to review fresh takes on the water challenges from all over the world. We need new partnerships to solve these great challenges, and this is another step down that road,” says Lars Enevoldsen, Group Vice President, Technology & Innovation at Grundfos.

You can browse HelloScience and take a closer look at the challenges here: https://helloscience.io/


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