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NOTABLE IMPACT FINANCE DEALS
- US: Deloitte has committed US$1.5bn to impact investing over the next 10 years with an aim to create a more equitable society. The auditing firm will invest in enterprises targeting education and workforce development, financial inclusion and health equity – starting with OneTen, New Profit and the Black Economic Alliance Foundation.
- US: Merck has announced a US$20m commitment to CNote, a woman-led impact investing platform, to invest in small businesses led by women, indigenous people and people of colour in the US to support economic development and opportunity.
- US: Advantage Capital, a venture capital firm, small business lender and impact investoR, announced a US$35m award allocation in the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, administered by the US Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The funding will spur economic growth and development in low-income urban and rural communities.
- Europe: Venture capital firms Redstone and EnjoyVenture have launched a €50m social impact fund, Human Impact Capital, to back tech startups actively addressing society’s biggest challenges, EU Startups reports.
- India: Kinara Capital, a fintech company that improves access to financial services for small businesses in India, has announced a US$25m fundraise led by British International Investment. The funding could help the creation of 1m jobs in local economies.
- India: Soothe Hygiene, a company that manufactures and distributes affordable sanitary products for women in under-served areas, last week announced it had raised ₹175 crore (US$21m) in equity and loans from investors including the US DFC, A91 Partners, Symphony International Holdings, Sixth Sense Ventures and Gulf Islamic Investments, NextBillion reported.
- Brazil: Brazilian sustainable fish producer Tilabras has received a €10m investment from blue economy impact investor Ocean 14 to scale its activities. Tilabras farms tilapia on a vegan diet to reduce its footprint, providing what it says is an environmentally-friendly and inexpensive source of protein.
- Indonesia: MARI Oceans, an organisation that develops seaweed farming in Indonesia to improve coastal communities’ livelihoods while tackling carbon emissions, has secured funding (amount undisclosed) from impact investors Deliberate Capital and Swiss Re Foundation.
- France/Canada: Impact analysis and ratings agency Impak Ratings has raised €4.5m from French bank Société Générale and impact fund Altalurra Ventures in a series A round.
- France: Phenix, a startup that tackles food waste, has announced a €15m fundraise, including €10m from BNP Paribas, one of Europe’s largest banks, which invested through two of its impact funds.
- Sub-saharan Africa and South Asia: Social enterprise VisionSpring has received a US$15m grant from billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott to provide glasses to farmers and artisans in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, in what is thought to be the biggest single donation ever made in the vision sector, Devex reports.
- UK: Net Purpose, a provider of sustainability and impact performance data on companies and funds for investors, has raised £10m in a series A round led by ETF Partners.
- Peru/US: Tienda Pago, which provides short-term credit to small businesses led by underserved people including women in order to advance financial inclusion, has raised US$12m. The funding round was led by Women’s World Banking Asset Management and IDC Ventures.
- Germany/emerging markets: Ecoligo, a Berlin-based crowd-investment platform that raises funds to finance solar projects in developing countries, has raised a €10m Series A round, EU-Startups reports
- Canada: Tech social enterprise Sparrow has raised CA$1m for its home sharing platform, which aims to tackle housing affordability and loneliness by connecting people looking for housing with hosts renting an empty bedroom at a below-market rate.
- UK: Fair4All Finance has invested £3.3m in Fair Finance, a social business tackling financial exclusion. The blended finance deal – which includes equity, debt and a grant – will enable Fair Finance to scale its impact by developing a digital system.
- UK: Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) has made a third investment of £2m in Target Housing to support people at risk of homelessness in Yorkshire and the Humber.
- UK: The Big Solar Co-op, a UK-wide community energy group created by community renewables firm Sharenergy, has reached its minimum investment target of £600,000, enabling it to make its first solar installations.
- UK: Welsh domestic abuse charity Thrive Women’s Aid has received a £2.7m social investment loan from Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC), which will enable the charity to buy its own homes and improve the quality of its accommodation and support services.
IMPACT FUNDS TO WATCH
- US: Non-profit organisation Jobs For the Future has announced the launch of a new impact investing arm, JFF Ventures, which will manage funds to invest in tech startups to support workers in low-wage jobs to find better employment opportunities.
- UK/Global: Impact investing private equity firm Lightrock has closed its first Climate Impact Fund at €860m – considerably beyond its initial €600m target. It will invest in growth-stage companies driving net-zero innovation in Europe and North America.
- France: Impact venture capital fund Shift4good has completed its first close at €100m. The fund, which specialises in sustainable mobility, will invest in 30 startups over the next five years.
- England: Big Issue Invest has launched a loan programme for charities and social enterprises in England to help them deal with rising energy prices. The Big Energy Saving Loans, ranging from £20,000 to £150,000, can be also used for installing renewable energy equipment.
- US: Insurance company MassMutual has invested US$100m in its First Fund Initiative to back first-time fund managers from a Black, Latinx or Indigenous background who aim to create a positive social impact. The firm previously invested US$50m in the initiative.
INITIATIVES & ADVOCACY
- Global: The Global Impact Investing Network has launched the $4.5m GIIN Impact Lab, a research and development initiative to create tools to optimise impact investors’ impact performance.
- Japan: The country’s Financial Services Agency has launched a working group on impact investment. It will discuss measures to expand impact investment and create impact-led businesses, including startups.
- Global: British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has launched an online platform, The African Climate Conversation, which will feature webinars, videos, podcasts, op-eds, Q&As and data insights, bringing together leading African voices to explore the challenges facing the continent.
INVESTOR IMPACT REPORTS
Above: Reuben Chesters, managing director of Locavore, which received investment from Social Investment Scotland in 2021.
- Scotland: Social Investment Scotland has invested more than £41m across 201 social enterprises, community organisations and impact-led businesses over 2021/2022, according to its latest impact report.
- Global: The $11m Quality Education India Development Impact Bond, which claims to be the world’s largest education development bond, has released its final results, showing that learning outcomes have been improved for 200,000 primary school age children in India.
- UK: SASC has published its 2021 impact report, revealing that it invested £38.3m in social housing and support over that year, bringing its active portfolio in the sector to £65.5m.
- UK: The stock-market traded Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust, launched in 2020, has invested £85m in 160 frontline organisations, helping 160,000 people of which at least 90% are disadvantaged or vulnerable, according to its latest results, Morningstar reports.
RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS ON OUR RADAR
- UK: Taylor Vinters has published a report based on interviews with major figures in social investment and impact investing in the UK, which looks at how impact investing can play a role in growing “UK Plc”. It found that there was an “urgent need” to distinguish ESG and impact investing, and that growing the sector can stimulate innovation and economic development especially within a “levelling-up” agenda.
- Canada: Social Value Canada and LBG Canada have published a new report, From story to scrutiny: A pathway to investment grade ‘S’ data, looking at how some of Canada’s biggest companies are reframing their approach to the social element of ESG practices.
- Global: The global impact investing market has topped US$1tn for the first time, according to the latest estimate by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).
- Global: The flow of capital into gender-lens investing remains “closer to a trickle than a flood” as investors are not taking enough action to consider gender in their strategies, according to a global study of the field led by GenderSmart.
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