OPINION: What Impact Investors Can Learn From Winemaking
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
There is a winery near my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, and if you were to ask me what I thought of it I would respond that, “the product is a work in progress, but the user experience is awesome.” Impact investing can learn a lot from this vineyard, Early Mountain Vineyard.
It takes time for a new winery to produce great wine, and for a two-year-old winery, Early Mountain is off to a solid start. But—they’ll say this themselves—they have ambitions for a product that is far greater than where they are today. To reflect these goals, the team at Early Mountain is focused on ensuring that visitors have an thoroughly enjoyable experience when visiting. This builds goodwill towards them as they continue to develop the quality of wine.
Impact investment organizations (whether they are funds, startups, or intermediaries) can learn a lot from Early Mountain. New ideas and companies take time to develop, just like startup vineyards. As they do, we should focus on what’s within our control: giving customers an amazing user experience. For impact investing firms like ours, investors are the customers. AtVillage Capital, we believe that we owe it to our investors to provide great interactions with our portfolio companies as they grow, make money, and create social impact.