Impact investors often complain they can’t find enough viable social enterprises to invest in. And entrepreneurs bemoan a lack of available funding.
A recently introduced online impact investing marketplace hopes to address that problem. ImpactUs, a Washington, D.C.-based platform, aims to provide a place where investors can find out about, research and connect with funds, operating companies and projects around the world, and where businesses raising money through private debt and equity offerings can list. The initiative was incubated at Enterprise Community Loan Fund, one of the country’s largest CDFIs, and is funded by the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners and City First Enterprises.
The marketplace joins a number of other social impact platforms and stock exchanges, such as the Social Venture Exchange (SVX) in Canada, Singapore’s Impact Exchange (IIX), and the former Mission Markets in the U.S.
For now, the platform is only open to accredited, invited investors. But ImpactUs, a registered broker dealer, plans to make it available to all investors, including regular civilians, financial advisors and institutions investing on behalf of clients. The platform will operate a bit like an online brokerage, according to Reginald Stanley, co-founder, president and CEO.
ImpactUS launched with four listings, but, according to Liz Sessler, co-founder and vice president, client engagement, there are another 35 in the pipeline. Deals work best at the $3 million to $5 million level, according to Sessler, though, “We will have deals that are $100 million,” she says. Offerings are in such thematic areas as the environment, clear water, education, healthy food and health care, or they can be placed-based, aimed at economic and community development issues. There will be a mix of models: mission-first, financial bottom line first or a blend of the two. […]
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