Using finance as a tool for social change
Leveraging each investment for good
Better Ventures is a venture fund for technology startups building innovative solutions to big and important problems, from work and education to health and sustainability. Wes and Rick are currently pursuing opportunities in three investment themes:
Better Access - Companies leveraging technology to democratize access to essential services that equalize opportunity, including education and employment;
Better Information - Companies utilizing data analytics to produce positive societal outcomes, ranging from health & well-being to environmental sustainability;
Better Business - Companies building sustainable and ethical supply chains, including product re-use & up-cycling and sustainable production.
I met Wes when I first got involved with the HUB in 2010. I wanted to support his efforts and his fund of innovative tech startups.
Clean Choice Energy
Clean Choice Energy (Formerly Ethical Electric) is an energy company that does good. They provide choice to power users, powering as many American homes and businesses as possible with 100% clean energy from renewable sources like wind and solar. Their plan is to use profits to fund causes that benefit our planet and advance equality, peace, justice and opportunity.
I know and respect the founding team. I like that these guys are thinking innovatively to bring clean energy options to the market, with the "Credo/Working Assets" values of transparency and community activism. Once we all experience choice in utility providers, I believe the dial will move.
Ecosystem Integrity Fund
The Ecosystem Integrity Fund is a venture fund focused on generating significant financial returns by investing in companies that enable greater environmental sustainability. The EIF team seeks to achieve this goal by identifying real businesses in mostly overlooked industry segments—businesses that have effective, in-demand, and scalable solutions—by providing these businesses with the capital, strategic perspective, and hands-on management they need to succeed.
I met Devin, co-founder of the fund, and found him to be full of integrity. I then looked at the companies chosen and was impressed with their choices, decision-making process, and spectrum of solution oriented thinking and products. Shortly after I invested, they launched their second fund, and I have invested in that as well.
Ecotrust Forests Management
Ecotrust Forest Management is a forestland investment management and advisory services company that manages land on behalf of investors and forestland owners to enhance forest health and productivity, and to produce a diverse array of forest products and services including timber, biomass, carbon, and improved habitat and water quality. Ecotrust Forests seeks to capture a wide array of funding sources — New Market Tax Credits, carbon credits, conservation easements, and restoration funding — to supplement private capital resources in the acquisition and management of forestland, while also creating reliable jobs for local residents and opportunities for local communities as a fundamental element of good forestry.
Managing our land well and sustainably is one of our biggest challenges as a society. I feel privileged to partner with EcoTrust in their clever multi-funding source approach to serving their mission of sustainability.
Farm Fresh To You
The Capay Farm Fresh To You Green Loan Program helps deliver organic produce to your home or office from local, family farms. This loan goes out to local farmers, and all clients of Capay are invited to participate, fostering community and transparency about what our money is actually doing.
Farmland LP is a private REIT, acquiring conventional farmland and converting it to certified organic farmland by using sustainable agriculture best practices. The regenerative land management techniques result in optimal soil and plant health obtained without using chemical inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, etc.), increasing the productivity of the land while keeping operational costs low for farmers. Its innovative business model allows Farmland LP to fulfill its mission of delivering solid returns to investors while helping build a sustainable, healthy, local food system for the future.
As a 5th generation Californian from a ranching family, I believe in sustainable farming practices. I was happy to find an investment where for profit dollars would be used to convert farmland using sustainable practices.
ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments that deliver financial, social and environmental returns. Through their innovative Donor Advised Fund model, our funds are invested in Sevamob, Waste Capital Partners, and will soon be deployed into Clean NG, Lipisha, StreetOwl, and Save Energy Systems.
I have been impressed with Tim's trail blazing. I am honored to be investing in this DAF product that promises to revolutionize the way both individuals and institutions invest their charitable dollars. I also see great potential to channel more and diversified dollars to entrepreneurs doing good work. With a minimum investment of $2,500 per company, I see Impact Assests as lowering the bar to entry of impact venture investing, which is exciting.
Kubé Nice Cream
Kubé Nice Cream is a local artisan-food-producer of raw, plant based, hand-crafted, coconut cream "nice cream" in the Bay Area, California. The standard international pasteurization process of coconut cream and milk uses a toxic preservative and bleaching chemical called sodium metabisulfite. Kubé is the emerging leader in harnessing the power of raw, unpasteurized coconut cream. Kubé believes that real, fresh and healthy foods, without chemicals, support healthier outcomes for all people and for the earth.
Liberation Capital is a Global Private Equity Fund specializing in Project Finance for small renewable energy, water and waste water projects. Their investment model centers on strategic partnerships with CleanTech technology firms and project developers with multi-project/multi-year investment horizons.
I invested in the Liberation team because I wanted to learn more about different approaches to renewable energy. I was particularly interested in a few of their projects, the recycling of tires made sense to me, as an example.
Nia Global Solutions
Nia Global Solutions introduces the concept of Impact Investing to public markets, by bringing investors a managed portfolio of publicly traded stocks that harness the innovative social purposes of capitalism. The women led Nia team builds its portfolio of companies that create meaningful outcomes, not only for its investors, but for people and the planet too.
I was drawn to create Nia Global Solutions as a way to bring conscious investing to the public markets. At Nia we engage in a very careful due diligence process looking at solution-driven products, run by diverse management teams. We are unique in that we bring activism into the public markets by engaging with both our chosen companies as well as those who do not make our buy list for the portfolio. NGS will also donate a percentage of profits to those non-profit organizations who are working on issues of corporate accountability.
Renewal2 and Renewal3 funds are diversified social venture funds investing capital for the development of underfunded sectors that are critical to a sustainable economy. Renewal funds invests in change by supporting businesses at the forefront of social and environmental innovation, infusing both capital and operating guidance to the organic food sector.
I love both the concept of Renewal as well as the founding team and their long history of investing for social change and environmental sustainability. I am excited to be invested in both Renewal2 and Renewal3.
Safer Made is a venture fund investing in companies and technologies that create safer products for people and the natural world. The start-up companies they invest in remove or reduce the use of harmful chemicals in products and manufacturing processes. The results are healthier people, cleaner waters, and more nourishing soils.
Launched in 2011, Mosaic started by using crowdfunding principles to allow everyone to invest in clean energy. In 2014, they shifted towards residential solar financing with the help of third party capital partners. Now, with their home improvement lending program for the modern home, they are constantly pushing for new and exciting ways to make the benefits of clean energy and efficiency more attainable for everyone.
SJF Ventures is a venture fund focused on the resource efficiency, sustainability and technology-enhanced services sectors. Representative investment areas include efficiency and infrastructure, asset recovery including reuse and recycling, sustainable agriculture and food safety, health and wellness technology, education technology and digital media and marketing services.
Nia is invested with SJF because they are active in job creation.