Rank #1: Jean Case on the Impact of Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Solving Grand Challenges
Jean Case is the CEO of the Case Foundation and Chair of The National Geographic Society Board of Trustees. Currently an actively engaged philanthropist, investor and pioneer in the world of interactive technologies, her career in the private sector spanned nearly two decades before she and her husband, Steve Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997. A passionate believer in all things digital and the amazing potential of technology to change the world for the better, the Case Foundation is recognized for its innovative efforts to address significant social challenges, harnessing the best impulses of entrepreneurship, technology and collaboration to drive exponential impact.
In addition to her role as CEO of the Case Foundation and Chairman of the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees, Jean also serves on numerous other boards around the globe, all focused on the forefronts of innovation, diversity and the education of our emerging leaders. Jean has also repeatedly been recognized for her incredible work by a wide variety of organizations, receiving accolades such as top Business Women, "Most Admired Nonprofit CEO, and "one of the 9 Most Generous Tech Entrepreneurs" by Fast Company. Jean is also an active contributor to civil causes and Government. In June 2006, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the President's Council on Service and Civil Participation, and the Case Foundation is known for their work promoting an inclusive society.
This conversation is a absolutely fantastic, as Jean and I talked about diversity in social entrepreneurship and impact investing, failure, innovation in government, the rise of conservation technology, the impact of millennials and much, much more. To anyone looking for a role model on how to think about impact, how to lead, or how to leverage your work for the greatest good, Jean is your woman.
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Oct 12 2016
Rank #2: IIP 009 - Will Morgan: The Impact of Defining, Evaluating and Measuring Impact Investment Portfolios
I've had the great pleasure of speaking with many incredible people since I started this Podcast, and this month is no different. I'm calling it the Sonen series – and both episodes this month will be with leaders from Sonen Capital – an impact investing firm based out of San Francisco that I have great respect for.
Sonen Capital is a specialized investment management firm dedicated to investors seeking financial returns with lasting social and environmental impact. They offer multi-manager, multi-themed investment solutions via pooled vehicles, portfolio strategies and customized mandates. Sonen is also a certified B Corp and GIIRS certified.
Furthermore, they share an incredible amount of information and in my opinion, are top thought leaders in the public impact investing field. With quarterly market reports, white papers and investing strategy frameworks being published on their website – Sonen Capital aims to share their knowledge with all who want to learn.
Our first episode this month is with Will Morgan - the Senior Impact Analyst at Sonen Capital who leads the effort to define, evaluate and report impact across Sonen’s public and private market investment strategies, and for some of Sonen’s most highly targeted and customized impact investment portfolios. Will provides top-down impact frameworks that inform the investment underwriting process, focusing on identifying thematic social and environmental outcomes and how those outcomes can be achieved through specific investment activities.
As part of communicating the results of Sonen’s investments, Will works with underlying investments and managers to improve impact evaluation and measurement systems and processes to enhance the quality and depth of impact data reported to clients. Under Will’s leadership, Sonen integrates third-party ESG data into public markets investment impact evaluation, as well as other emerging industry standards such as GIIRS and the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS).
He was also one of the earliest practitioners of IRIS, and has helped some of the largest US and European-based foundations integrate IRIS into internal impact evaluation systems for both grant-based and corpus-based impact portfolios.
In this episode we dive into wills background and how he go to where he I now, how it influenced his investment frameworks and decision processes, and how he is leading the way In defining and integrating impact investing into mainstream finance and much more.
If you want to learn more about how to conduct impact investing through public markets – or are looking for some rock solid advice on being involved in the impact field, this interview is a must listen.
- Twitter: @SonenCapital
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/will-morgan-95ab371
Impact Investing Podcast
- Twitter: @impinvpodcast & @jwebking
- Facebook: Impact Investing Podcast
Nov 12 2015
Rank #3: IIP 005 - Nancy Pfund: The Impact of Venture Capital and Renewable Energy
Nancy Pfund is a legend and expert in Venture Capital, Renewable Energies and Impact Investing. She has been in the field for over 20 years and is widely cited in her writing and speaking about the importance in renewable energy. Her fund, DBL Investors just finished closing a new $400 million fund - which is now the largest social impact fund ever raised.
DBL Investors assists its portfolio companies in achieving a “double bottom line”: that is, strong long-term financial success as well as positive social, environmental and economic impact in the local community. We have found that double bottom line practices that companies choose to adopt can be significantly beneficial to the fiscal bottom line both via direct benefits of cost savings and value creation, and via indirect benefits of creating goodwill with their market, customers and community, and enhancing employee morale and retention.
Nancy can be found on Twitter @NancyPfundDBL
Go to www.DBLinvestors.com to learn more about Nancy and DBL investors, as well as find many of the reports Nancy has written about venture capital, renewable resources and solar energy.
Sep 16 2015
Rank #4: Amy Novogratz on Raising a Fund and the Future of Aquaculture
Amy Novogratz is a Managing Partner of AquaSpark - the world's first aquaculture-only venture investment fund. Founded in 2013, AquaSpark invests with a focus on sustainable aquaculture businesses around the world. The small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) they invest in are working toward the production of safe, accessible aquatic life - such as fish, shellfish and plants, as well as innovations in fish feed and technical systems; all which operate in ways that do not harm the planet's oceans. The funds investors value the fact that each investment aims to create triple impact—specifically, each investment is chosen for its potential to generate significant financial returns while also activating positive environmental and social outcomes.
Specifically, Aquaspark chooses SMEs that meet the following three principles of sustainability;
- Economic sustainability—the business generates enough cash to be able to reinvest in its own growth and provide an equitable return to its stakeholders;
- Environmental sustainability—the business sets high standards of environmental management and seeks to maintain or enhance ecosystem services; and
- Social sustainability—the business creates jobs, reduces poverty, empowers the underserved, and helps to strengthen communities*;
Their investments start at $250,000, and the fund purposely does not seek controlling stakes in thier investments. The team at AquaSpark prefers to be a minority investor holding between 20-49%, alongside other investors. Every business they invest in is a reflection of their trust in the entrepreneur to lead their companies’ development and growth in the most effective way.
Prior to AquaSpark, Amy was the Director of the TED prize for 8 years, leading more than twenty global collaborations across a broad spectrum of sectors, including healthcare, education, science, technology, conservation, art, and activism.
On top of her work at AquaSpark, Amy is also working alongside Sylvia Earle and her project “Mission Blue.” The project aims to educate the world on the importance of ocean conservation and how much we depend on the marine ecosystems and how important they are to our planet’s survival. As well, the overarching goal of the Mission Blue project is to establish a global network of protected areas in the ocean - Hope Spots – special places that are vital to the health of the ocean – through the creation of a global network of marine protected areas to safeguard 20% of the ocean by 2020.”
As some of you may have figured out by now, I'm wildly bullish on aquaculture. In the past it has been associated with environmental harm rather than doing good, but as our climate changes, our fisheries are subject to the "tragedy of the commons," and our resources decline - aquaculture is becoming a necessary solution and one that can have many positive impacts while limiting the negative. It is projected that we will need to increase our food production by 60% by 2050 to feed a world population of 9.5 Billion people. Current agriculture methods aren't going to - and can't - make it happen. We're going to have to start looking to the ocean. This mean conservation, strict regulation, and innovative ways to grow and harvest aquaculture related products such as kelp, shellfish, sea cucumbers and fin fish. If you are an early stage investor or interested in investing in food systems or environmentally conscience companies - aquaculture is an area I would look long and hard at.
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Jan 20 2016
Rank #5: IIP 008 - Bessi Graham: The Impact of Business Models and Creating Investable Social Enterprises
This episode is with Bessi Graham, CEO and Co-founder of The Difference Incubator (TDi) out of Melbourne, Australia.
TDi is developing investment-ready enterprises that create positive social impact and are financially sustainable. This initiative will alter the social economy of Australia and open a new market for impact investors.
By focusing on coaching, clinics, consultation and incubation - TDi is applying the principles of Business Model Generation when working with social enterprises to develop innovative business models that will help entrepreneurs build companies that have lasting durability in their pursuit of Blended Value. TDi is also bridging the gap between impact investors and startups by bringing investors to the table and looking at business creation through an investor's lense to help bring suitable dealflow to the areas impact focused investors.
If you want to learn more about the power of coming up with new business models for social enterprise, or want to learn more about what to look for when conducting due dillegence on a potential impact investment, this is a great episode for you. And as a bonus - you'll also finally learn what the difference is between and incubator and an accelerator program!
Oct 28 2015
Rank #6: IIP 004 - Mark Tercek: Conserving Nature's Fortune with Impact Investing
Mark Tercek is the President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the author of the book Nature's Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature. In our conversation we talk about the different ways TNC is investing in nature, it's latest programs and strategies to preserve precious land and marine resources, as well as how impact investors can become involved and begin to think about how to invest in the environment. We also talk about some of Mark's personal stories, travels, and two book that had a massive influence in his life.
When I read Mark's book Nature's Fortune, it was very intuitive and obvious to me. Nature has been evolving ways to handle and address all of the same issues that humans are facing today in regards to clean water, floods, and erosion. Since then, I have found myself thinking deeply about how can we get investment dollars into environmental conservation and restoration efforts. How can impact investors leap frog past technologies and practices to encourage and deploy sustainable development and biodiviersity preservation? These are some of the biggest things on my mind, and in this conversation I had the opportunity to hear from one of the biggest names in the game, some of the different ways groups are using innovative finance to approach these issues.
Links to the shownotes and resources discussed in the conversation can be found at www.impactinvestingpodcast.com
on Twitter @ImpInvPodcast
Sep 02 2015
Rank #7: IIP 003 - Janie Barrera: The Impact of Microfinance in the United States
This episode is with LiftFund founding President and current CEO Janie Barrera. She is a leader and true changemaker in the field of microfinance in the USA, and has built a career on helping entrepreneurs and small business owners from low income and underserved areas achieve success. LiftFund has made over 15,000 loans totaling over $180 million dollars, all while maintaining an impressive 96% repayment rate. Since just 2013, these loans have helped create almost 11,000 jobs, retailed thousands more, and have been found to lead to a 75% survival rate for the small businesses recieving loans from LiftFund.
Impact investing and mircofinance have a long history together - often intertwined in the origin of both fields, and used as case studies for measuring impact. If you have any interests, questions or even doubts in microfinance, and are curious about its applications in the United States; I highly encourage you to listen to this interview.
For shownotes to this episode and all previous episodes - check out www.impactinvestingpodcast.com or follow the podcast on Twitter @ImpInvPodcast
Aug 19 2015
Rank #8: IIP 002 - Lawson Knight: Impact Investing in Rural Communities
In this episode, I talk with, Lawson Knight - who is the Managing Principle of Intermountain Impact Investments (I3). Lawson and his business partner are in the process of launching a new impact focused financial service provider, focused on rural communities in the Pacific Northwest and parts of the US Midwest. We tak about his journey into impact investing, the process of designing and building I3, and the challenges, benefits and opportunities in servicing rural communities.
More about Lawson and I3 can be found at their company website, www.I-three.org
And on Twitter @i3_rural_impinv
Aug 04 2015
Rank #9: Songbae Lee on SME Lending, Career Advice, and the Impact of the Calvert Foundation
Songbae Lee is a Senior Investment Officer at the Calvert Foundation, which is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), connecting individual investors with organizations working around the globe, developing affordable housing, creating jobs, protecting the environment, and working in numerous other ways for the social good.
Maybe the coolest part of Calvert Foundation is their community investment note run through Vested.org - an investment vehicle open to anyone in the world with just $20. The investment is applied to Community Development Partners working with Calvert to lend to entrepreneurs who are growing their companies and projects focused on social good. And because I know many of you are wondering about it - yes, there is a financial return on investment. O
Prior to Calvert, Songbae worked abroad in numerous developmental finance roles, helping bring financial services to the under served, and using finance as a means to improve the quality of people’s lives. A main function of his job is to conduct due diligence on potential borrowing companies, as well as oversee Calvert’s international portfolio.
Songbae is the kind of guy you could talk to for hours, learning something insightful from him every five minutes. This episode is wide ranging, and is the most story packed interview to date. Filled with valuable advice on how to pursue your career in impact investing, the skills you need to develop to succeed in any professional endeavor, as well as stories of microfinance in domestic and foreign applications, what is was like working in the financial industry during 2008, how other parts of the world view American finance, and personal tales of failure, exploration and success.
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Aug 31 2016
Rank #10: Flory Wilson on Metrics, GIIRS and B-Analytics
Flory Wilson is the Director, International for GIIRS at B Lab. She joined B Lab in April 2010, working on the core team that has launched the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS) Ratings & Analytics. Flory chairs the Emerging Markets Standards Advisory Council that crafted the GIIRS rating methodology, and led a beta-test of the GIIRS assessment in early 2011 that involved over 200 companies and 25 leading impact investing funds in 30 different countries. Flory also focuses on business development, working with emerging market based mission-driven enterprises, investment vehicles and impact investors who are using GIIRS Ratings & Analytics, and GIIRS’ communications efforts.
Furthermore, as the Director of Analytics at B-Lab - the non-profit behind B-Corps - Flory has oversight of the B Impact Assessment, which is the responsibility of B Lab's Standards Advisory Council, an independent committee of 20-22 members, each respected in the field for their wisdom and with deep industry or stakeholder expertise. The Standards Advisory Council is divided into two subgroups — one to oversee the content and weightings for the version of the B Impact Ratings System that is appropriate for companies and funds in developed markets; the other for the version that is appropriate for companies and funds in emerging markets.
Previously, Flory was a Senior International Economist in the Office of Investment Policy at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Washington, D.C. At OPIC, she focused on measuring the developmental, social and environmental impacts of private sector-led investment across OPIC’s $12 billion portfolio. Prior to OPIC, Flory established a new protocol for tracking international remittances from the U.S. to developing countries as an economist in the Balance of Payments division at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Department of Commerce. Ms. Wilson holds a M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins Nitze School for Advanced International Standards (SAIS), with a concentration in economics, and graduated cum laude from Colgate University with a B.A. in History and EconomicsShe
What is the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS)? GIIRS Ratings are the gold standard for impact measurement in impact investing. GIIRS Ratings are rigorous, comprehensive, and comparable ratings of a company or a fund’s social and environmental impact.
How does GIIRS work?Find Companies & Funds - GIIRS rated companies and funds are highlighted in the search features of B Analytics as being best in class in terms of measurement practices.
Measure & Evaluate - Gain a holistic picture of a company’s or fund’s impact through a GIIRS rating, not just a component of their model or operations.
A GIIRS Rating is comprised of a Fund Manager Assessment Rating and two Investment Roll-Up Ratings: an Overall Impact Business Model (IBM) Rating and an Overall Operations Rating. The Investment Roll-Up Ratings are weighted averages of the portfolio companies' impact business model and operations ratings based on the amount invested in each company.
Criteria to Get a GIIRS Fund Rating
- Funds in Formation can become GIIRS rated by committing to being rated for the life of the fund. Until 25% of capital is deployed, initial GIIRS Fund Impact Rating Reports will only feature the fund manager's assessment score and each portfolio company will receive an individual company rating (no portfolio aggregation rating is generated).(1)
- Actively Investing Funds can receive a GIIRS Fund Impact Rating once 25% of capital(2) is deployed. A typical fund is required to have at least 75%(3) of their portfolio companies complete the rating process in order to receive a GIIRS fund rating.
- Fully Invested Funds can receive a GIIRS Fund Impact Rating using the standard fund rating methodology, though at least 80% of the total portfolio (in terms of capital deployed) must receive a company rating in order to receive a fund rating.
How can you use B-Analytics to research companies?
Find Companies & Funds - Conduct research on the 1400+ individual companies and funds in B Analytics.
Follow Trends - Track market trends in the impact investing space.
Measure - Collect impact data on the companies and funds in your portfolio, platform, supply chain, or association. B Analytics offers you the flexibility to measure what matters to you.
Benchmark - B Analytics houses the largest database of social and environmental performance data on private companies globally. Use B Analytics to benchmark your portfolio’s impact and easily export data for reporting to stakeholders.
Improve - Through B Analytics companies can access “do-it-yourself” consulting tools to improve their impact.
GIIRS Ratings are the gold standard for impact measurement in impact investing. They are rigorous, comprehensive, and comparable ratings of a company or a fund’s social and environmental impact. The GIIRS Rating is powered by the B Impact Assessment. It measures the overall impact of a business on all of its stakeholders. The B Impact Assessment has been accessed by over 15,000 users in 57 countries in 176 industries. Learn more about the B Impact Assessment.B IMPACT ASSESSMENT STRUCTURE:
Impact Business Models: Speciﬁc models designed to create social and/or environmental impact through a company’s products or services, target customers, value chain, ownership or operations.
Operations: Impactful practices, policies and achievements related to a company's: Governance structure, Workers, Community, Environmental footprint.
Each company receives an overall score and two ratings; one for its impact models and one for its operations.
Feb 24 2016