Guest Articles

September 20

NextBillion Editor

Our Full Slate of Videos with Impact Investing Thought Leaders from SOCAP16

The Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP) for 2016 is a wrap. But if you missed any of our one-on-one interviews with some of the newsmakers and trendsetters, we’ve got you covered. Here, in reverse chronological order, is our full lineup of Facebook Live interviews from last week. We intend to make live video a regular feature on NB, so please like us on Facebook so you know the second we go live. After the eight live videos, we’ve included additional video interviews we recorded at the conference, which were posted after it concluded.

Convergence describes itself as “the first and only platform that connects and supports private, public and philanthropic investors for blended finance deals in emerging and frontier markets.” NB contributing editor Scott Anderson talks with Convergence CEO Joan Larrea about the platform’s approach and the growing momentum behind blended finance.

Maya Chorengel, founder and managing director of Elevar Equity, sat down with Anderson at SOCAP to talk about the future of impact investing, the present state of impact metrics and (to the extent she could) the role Elevar will play in a new $1 billion fund that TPG Growth is creating. As The New York Times reported earlier in the week, TPG, which was an early venture capital investor in the likes of AirBnB and Uber, will is now putting together a $1 billion fund targeting social enterprises. Elevar will be partnering with the VC giant to execute on it.

Anish Thakkar, CEO and co-founder of Greenlight Planet Inc., which makes ultra-affordable solar home lighting for people in the developing world, gives some insights into his business and tells Anderson that this is his first year at SOCAP, and he’s enjoying the partnership vibe he’s experiencing. Thakkar discusses the challenges of adding a pay-as-you-go strategy to the company’s retail operations.

Morgan Simon, managing director of Pi Investments, talks with NB senior editor James Militzer about transformation in the world of investing. Key quote: “I don’t want to wake up in 30 years feeling like we had incremental change but the fundamental economic structures didn’t shift. So that’s the opportunity that we have. Let’s be both patient and impatient in how we make that happen.”

Shikha Uberoi joined us, fresh after her panel “Mainstreaming Social Change,” to discuss the need for social business and investing to reach a broader audience. Uberoi has experience in that regard: She is the creator and executive producer of “The Real Deal,” the world’s first reality show focused on impact investing and social enterprise, which finished a successful first season earlier this year. (You can view NextBillion’s coverage of the program here.) “The Real Deal” was renewed for a second season, and is in the process of seeking global expansion – one of several topics she discussed with Militzer.

Addressing the global refugee crisis could be the next frontier in impact investing. “Finance as an Instrument of Hope: Investing in Refugees,” was an important panel from SOCAP that reflected the urgency. As aid agencies grow ever stretched and the situation for many displaced people becomes even more dire, the time has come for new thinking. One panelist, Christine Mahoney, an assistant professor of politics and director of Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia, has conducted extensive research in seven conflict zones and is starting an impact investing fund designed to address refugees’ needs, while enabling their talents.

Matthew Weatherley-White, managing ​director​ and co-founder of The CAPROCK Group, pondered what would happen if funds had to “opt out” of ESG investing strategies, rather than opting in, as they currently do. Citing the example of dramatic spikes in organ donation rates in countries that have shifted from an opt-in to opt-out system, Weatherley-White wondered if a solution this simple could be just what the sector needs to become the mainstream, default approach to investing, rather than just a (steadily growing) niche. We discussed the ramifications of this idea – and whether it’s a potential movement or just a thought experiment. (Read his blog here.)

We went full-“tilt” with our interview of Eric Stephenson of the Cordes Foundation. (Hey, it was our first try with Facebook Live!) Among other things, Stephenson talks about how SOCAP evolves from year to year.

There was a surprising amount of tension on SOCAP’s panel on impact investing in India, much of it revolving around a simple question: Are these investments making a difference? As one panelist put it, “Just because you’re doing it, doesn’t mean it’s actually helping.” Roopa Kudva, a partner at Omidyar Network, sat on the panel, and afterward she shared her views on this question, and on the impact sector’s growing prominence in India.

Impact Assessment, Investing, Social Enterprise
impact investing, social enterprise