At the Fourth Annual Keiretsu Impact Investing Forum, over 40 experienced investors – including impact investing veterans and others new to the ecosystem, gathered to explore opportunities and hear from industry leaders.
Innovation was at the center of the presentations at the Forum, with entrepreneurs presenting products such as sustainable protein sources for the world’s livestock and aquaculture supply. Traditional investors are gravitating toward impact investing now more than ever since obtaining financial and social returns no longer means sacrificing financial profit.
The primary takeaways are as follows:
1. Mainstream Investors are Buying In
The last several years have seen a significant influx of mainstream investors entering the impact investing market, with creation of funds like Blackrock Impact, TPG’s $2 billion collaboration with Elevar Equity on The Rise Fund and AXA Investment Manager’s Impact Investing initiative.
Foundations are leading the charge in this space as well through mission related investments (MRIs). The Ford Foundation made a landmark $1 billion commitment to impact investing through MRIs, continuing its legacy as a leader in social finance. Additionally, the Kellogg Foundation has $100 million of its endowment dedicated to impact investing.
The incentive is clear – investors see the opportunity and vast potential to put their dollars to use not only for financial return, but as a means of creating societal impact. Mr. Streur stated that “Wall Street has been playing catchup” when it comes to the exploding trend.
2. Social Issues are Business Issues
From an ecological and financial perspective, socially and environmentally unsustainable business practices pose an imminent risk to financial returns, Mr. Streur asserted at the Forum.
His solution? Doing real research into businesses that combat these risks through sustainability, engaging directly with this business risk through social finance, and bringing about direct impact to create inclusive economies based on sustainable, rather than exploitative growth.
In GIIN’s 2016 report The Business Value of Impact Measurement, a number of surveyed impact investors found that information gathered from impact measurement creates opportunities for revenue growth and improved operational efficiency. The report also asserts that when it comes to social and financial issues, impact measurement can play a critical role as a risk mitigant, especially with regard to sourcing deals.
3. The Industry is Well-Positioned for More Capital
As impact investing gains traction and momentum in mainstream markets, industry players like Capria and Calvert have the potential to carry the industry as they expand access to funding for innovators and visionaries who are directly addressing unsustainable practices that contribute to global poverty.
Although impact investing has become more mainstream even in the last three years, there is still a need for more catalytic firms to drive the effort forward. Emphasizing the importance of creating syndicates in the impact investing industry, Mr. Mansfield praised Capria’s work in addressing this issue and creating downstream capital to foment the impact ecosystem.
Will Poole stated that “thought-leading organizations, intermediaries and fund managers are what it takes for the estimated trillion dollars to be employed into impact investing.”
Capria’s most recent cohort selection process saw over 100 applicants originating from more than 40 countries around the world. Our work continues to uplift and fortify the most promising emerging fund managers in the world. Through Capria and Keiretsu’s work, impact investing will continue to move from the fringe to the mainstream.
About Keiretsu Forum
The word “Keiretsu” stands for a strong collaborative group, the culture in which our forum thrives. Founded in 2000, Keiretsu Forum is the world’s largest angel investor network with over 2,500 accredited investor members throughout 49 chapters on three continents. Keiretsu Forum members collaborate in the due diligence of presenting companies, but make individual investment decisions with $400m invested in over 300 companies to date ($160M in Northwest) in technology, consumer products, life sciences, real estate and other high growth segments.
Presenting entrepreneurs consistently find high value in our extensive resources, feedback, mentoring and funding while investor members enjoy well-screened, quality deal flow, group mindshare in evaluating deals and association in a powerful, intelligent group of professionals. Additionally, the Keiretsu Forum community is strengthened through angel investor education events, social opportunities and charitable giving. Overall, Keiretsu Forum provides entrepreneurs and investors with an active, credible marketplace for deals to get done.