Archive for Impact Investing

Waterlife Receives Investment from Matrix Partners India with Intellecap Support as Sole Advisor

Waterlife India Private Limited (Waterlife) announced that it has received an investment of INR22 crores (~US$4.2m) from Matrix Partners India. Beyond Profit‘s publisher Intellecap was the sole advisor for this transaction.

Waterlife is a pioneer in providing high quality potable water solutions to the underserved in an affordable and sustainable manner. It has installed safe water systems in more than 1,500 villages and urban areas reaching more than one million people.

“This capital infusion provides Waterlife the growth capital to expand its scale in the underserved potable water space. We started our work in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, and presently work in six states to provide potable water solutions. We are now poised to emerge as the leading player in this segment across India. We are very impressed with Matrix’s deep understanding of the water sector and are very  pleased to have them as our partner, said Sudesh Menon, Managing Director of Waterlife India Private Limited.

Anurag Agrawal, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of the Investment Banking division at Intellecap, had this to say: “We are delighted to partner with Waterlife as it is one of those rare business models that has successfully demonstrated that it is possible to create true triple bottom-line returns and create tangible large scale impact on the ground in rural India. We’re confident this is just the start of many paradigm shifting achievements for Sudesh and his team.”

“It is our privilege to be associated with the Promoter team of Sudesh Menon, Mohan Ranbaore & Indranil Das. We believe Water will remain a high growth sector driven by strong government focus and socio-economic relevance of water as a resource. We believe Waterlife with its innovative business model complemented by a high quality management team is set to emerge as a leader in the potable water segment,” said Avnish Bajaj, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Matrix India.

Waterlife won the prestigious Sankalp Award this year in the Health, Water and Sanitation category.

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Smooth Transitions

This story originally appeared in our July 14th, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to download the pdf e-magazine.

While evaluating a start-up socent, what investors are really looking for is the ability of the entrepreneur to make the transition from founder to manager.

By Noshir Colah

As a member of a leading venture capital management company that focuses on early stage companies, I have the pleasure of reviewing business plans and meeting with entrepreneurs and promoters.  By definition, since our investments are “early stage”, there is usually little or no track record by which to evaluate the proposals.

The available tools are often restricted to an idea, the manner in which the idea is proposed to be converted to a viable and scalable business, perhaps a limited demonstration of the feasibility of realizing the objectives, and an evaluation of the entrepreneur. » Continue reading “Smooth Transitions”

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Latin America’s socents: poised for flight

This story originally appeared in our June 30th, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to download the pdf e-magazine.

While most of the social enterprise and impact investing spotlight remains on Africa and South Asia, Latin America is making its own strides to develop a solid foundation in the industry.

While the term social enterprise seems to be picking up steam worldwide, much of the focus remains on Africa and South Asia.

There are many reasons for that, says Mark Hand, an investment analyst with First Light at Grey Ghost Ventures. The language barrier, cultural and political differences all play a part in why Latin America has been slower to attract attention than others. “What we’ve seen in the impact investing space, especially the kind of venture funding circles that we swirl around in, is that people overlook Latin America,” he said.

William Portilla, a senior loan officer with Root Capital – which has operations in Latin America and Africa – says that developed countries have a “stronger strategic political interest” in Africa and South Asia than they do in Latin America.

“The money that is most commercially minded is most drawn to India. The money that is most charity minded is most drawn to Africa,” he said. “In that spectrum, that leaves few people that are operating in Latin America.” » Continue reading “Latin America’s socents: poised for flight”

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The New Ventures Approach to Investing

New Ventures works with environmentally focused small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in six key emerging markets (Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia and Mexico) to help them receive adequate business skills training and connections to investors. Beyond Profit talked to Tracy Elsen (TE), the Communications and Marketing Officer, and Rodrigo Villar (RV), the Mexico Country Director.

How do you decide which companies you work with?
TE: Companies undergo an extensive selection process to become part of New Ventures. We look for businesses that, in addition to financial returns, clearly address a specific environmental issue. The companies we work with also often address social issues. On the financial side, we look for companies that hold a strong competitive advantage in the market that they are serving and have a clear idea of how to access this market. We want to work with companies that have a market opportunity, a strong product or service for this market, a competitive advantage, and an attractive business model. Within this business model, we look at whether a company’s revenue and profit projections are realistic, whether financial returns being offered are attractive to investors and whether the company has a good financial and management system. We want to work with companies that are ready and able to scale. We also make sure that all of the companies we work with have a clear benefit to the environment with measurable impacts. » Continue reading “The New Ventures Approach to Investing”

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What Investors Want

This story originally appeared in our May 5, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Ben Powell, the Founder and Managing Partner of Agora Partnerships, an impact investment firm that works with early stage companies, reveals how to get the attention of impact investors.

What do you look for in an investee?

The number one thing that we look for is someone who, in our view, is an impact entrepreneur. We really look to see if the entrepreneurs truly are trying to create shared value with their businesses. We are looking at a set of values and attitudes about the role of business in society and a real commitment to creating a company that will very deliberately solve social and environmental problems while also generating a profit that can be used to grow the company and to reward investors. » Continue reading “What Investors Want”

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Climate Change and Building Resilience

By Stefan Pellech, Intellecap

Intellecap, publisher of Beyond Profit, partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) to explore opportunities for the private sector in building resilience of the urban poor against the impacts of climate change. Our work focused on understanding the specific vulnerabilities of the poor in four cities – Surat and Gorakhpur in India, Semarang in Indonesia and Chiang Rai in Thailand – and identifying potential business responses to these. » Continue reading “Climate Change and Building Resilience”

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The GIIRS Potential

Dear Reader,

According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), impact investments “…aim to solve social or environmental challenges while generating financial profit.” As so-called “sustainable capitalism” gains momentum, there is need for a mechanism – for both investors and fund-seekers alike — to define and evaluate what characterizes this burgeoning industry.

This coming July will mark the official launch of the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS). As you will read in this issue, GIIRS is a project brought to life by the not-for-profit B Lab, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, Prudential Financial, Deloitte, Investors’ Circle and the GIIRS Pioneer Funds. GIIRS will include ratings features on companies, funds, markets, industries, performance and more. » Continue reading “The GIIRS Potential”

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The Rate of Impact

Sponsored by GIIRS

This story originally appeared in our March 24, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

The official launch of GIIRS won’t come until July 2011, but Beyond Profit got an inside look at the beta tour.

A November 2010 report from J.P. Morgan and the Rockefeller Foundation declared impact investments an emerging asset class. With new potential comes new challenges.

Impact investing puts a spin on the traditional idea of investing where decisions are made based on financial as well as social and environmental considerations. As a result, measuring returns goes beyond the traditional financial metrics to include tracking social and environmental performance.

Measuring impact can be a tricky proposition though. The issue is that no unified system to measure impact exists, which leads investors and others to rely on anecdotal evidence. The Monitor Institute report “Investing for Social and Environmental Impact” recommended a rating system to standardize metrics. » Continue reading “The Rate of Impact”

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Challenges to Scale

Sponsored by GIIRS

This story originally appeared in our March 24, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Impact investing faces challenges in its effort to scale. GIIRS can provide solutions.

1.     Fragmentation

The impact investing sector is in a nascent stage so there is very little sector mapping or even a clear definition of what exactly impact investing is. Different companies and investors use and require different metrics. GIIRS will help unite the sector by creating a standard of metrics. The GIIRS assessment has the potential to create a collection of rated impact investments. » Continue reading “Challenges to Scale”

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At the Grass Roots Level

Sponsored by GIIRS

This story originally appeared in our March 24, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Grassroots Business Fund participated in the GIIRS beta tour. Beyond Profit spoke to Soha Ehsani about the GBF’s work, impact investing and the future.

How did Grassroots Business Fund (GBF) start?

The Grassroots Business Initiative (GBI) was incubated inside the International Finance Corporation for two years before spinning off into GBF. GBI made similar investments, but given the structure and size of investments, it was decided that GBF would be more suited as its own entity.

What makes GBF different from other funds out there?

With growth, we are seeing the need to develop an ecosystem characterized by the sharing of best practices, strengthening of players and assignment of pools of capital to support organizations in impact investing. There are pieces of infrastructure that are coming together such as definitions, metrics and some groupings. However, impact investing remains far less advanced than microfinance, which early on developed a robust set of players, practices and principles. GBF identifies itself as a fund that works with businesses that are looking for more than just capital. We add value to our investees through direct technical assistance and local expertise.  In essence, we complement our investment capital with a very hands-on approach to prepare our clients for the next stage of their business. » Continue reading “At the Grass Roots Level”

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