Impact Investing 2.0: Uncovering The "There There"

November 11, 2013

In certain circles, "impact investing" has started to become trendy. Over the course of 2013 -- from Davos to the G8 to CGI -- you could not attend a global gathering without hearing poetic waxings on how impact investing is able to effect positive social change, while still generating a return on capital. Indeed, if done right, impact investing can prove to be a sustainable, long-term solution to some of our more intractable development challenges - like housing finance, affordable education, health, clean energy and financial services - that can impact millions of lives for the better, while lessening the load on taxpayers. No wonder it's trendy.

For those of us who heretofore have never been accused of being trendy, we can't help but be tickled by the attention. Nevertheless, we can't also help feel a bit uncomfortable for two reasons:

1) We know the impact investing is not a silver bullet, and we are a bit wary that the hype might paint it so. It is but one of the many tools in our problem solving toolbox; we just haven't figured out how to optimize it -- yet.
2) Our proof points to date have been anecdotal, given the lag time we face between initial investment and exit.

That is why this week's launch of Impact Investing 2.0, could not be more timely. This comprehensive report, produced by a partnership between InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, CASE at Duke University and ImpactAssets, represents the largest public release of data on the inner workings of 12 outstanding impact investing funds: their origins, development, goals, leadership, investors, investees, strategies, and financial and social performance. It analyzes the performance of over $1.3 billion (USD) in investments across more than 80 countries.

The funds profiled work in vastly different sectors, from microfinance in India to sustainable property in the UK, and have accordingly pursued very different investment strategies and approaches to social impact. Their success across such a broad set of parameters offers many lessons for the industry and beyond.

They are affirming our assertions and proving the concept. For skeptics that claim no one can serve two masters -- financial success and social impact -- these cases are a clear signal of the diversity of paths towards high performance in impact investing. And they are but the tip of the spear. We are confident that in the coming years, many more pioneering impact funds will mature and inspire us with their successful track records. The idea that it is possible to combine financial return and social impact will come to be regarded as common sense.

As road tested impact investors, we know that there is "there there," and Impact Investing 2.0 is just the start of its discovery.



Robo-Advisor Pros @roboadvisorpros

Expert Swell Investing App Review Find out how you can #invest with your values in companie…

Patrizia Laeri @LaeriPatrizia

RT @LaeriPatrizia: Bravouröse Daten-Recherche. Wie Öl-Konzerne mehr als eine Milliarde in Lobbying und täuschende Werbung investieren. Wer…

Aniruddha Malpani Medical Director at Health Education Library for People

My worry is that the authors of most of these reports have a hidden bias - they want Impact Investment to succeed , and this can skew their findings. We need to continue to be skeptical. It's great to learn from the positive deviants, but we can learn lots from the failures as well. We need to encourage the publication of disconfirming evidence, lest we get carried away by our rhetoric. Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD Medical Director HELP – Health Education Library for People Ashish Tardeo Bombay 400 034 India Tel. No.:65952393/65952394 Helping patients to talk to doctors ! Information Therapy is the Best Prescription - ! Putting Patients First Conferences at Free patient education images at Read over 20 health books free at Read my blog about improving the doctor-patient relationship at Check out the Healthwise Knowledgebase at !

Be the first to comment
It looks like there's some information missing
By clicking, you agree to the Terms and Conditions


Announcing the Catalytic Capital Consortium

Earlier today, Omidyar Network joined the MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundations to announce the Catalytic Capital Consortium to help address financing gaps in impact investing, helping investors better target how to deploy catalytic capital to have the greatest social impact.



Land and Property Rights News Platform Receives Renewed Funding from Omidyar Network

The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity arm of the world’s largest news and information provider, announced today the renewal of a three-year funding commitment from Omidyar Network for PLACE, the innovative news platform dedicated to coverage of the under-reported issue of land and property rights launched in 2016.



Omidyar Network Publishes Report on Early Childhood Education, Sees Big Opportunity

Isabelle Hau spoke with YourMarkOnTheWorld about opportunities to invest in children before they start school, to level the playing field, and give every child an equal opportunity at success in life.