Post Seventeen: Impact Investments and the Start-up Nation (Observations from “Circle 1st”)

Dear Friends,

In the business world today more and more people worldwide are looking beyond financial gain and are getting more engaged in making a positive impact on the world. A more holistic approach on capital is moving to the mainstream, aligning capital gains with social impact.

The field of impact investing reflects this trend, bringing the social and business worlds together for the best of both worlds. As the fastest growing trend globally, it challenges individuals, corporations & foundations to build sustainable solutions for a better world.  Based on JP Morgan’s latest report, the current estimate of total global impact investments activities was about $42B in size in 2013, and they expect to see this market grow to $400B yearly within the coming decade. http://www.thegiin.org/binary-data/2014MarketSpotlight.PDF

 The world of impact investing ranges from sustainable non-profits to for-profit companies that all serve the purpose of making positive social impact. Each model provides a different solution, together serving all flavors.  

No doubt the world is embracing innovative models to create both financial and social returns. 

In Israel, Impact Investing is a new and growing trend. For the past few years, several Israeli organizations have been very active in building the social finance market in Israel. We now see activities within the non-profit range, local social businesses and social-tech steadily growing and raising much interest.

From the early 90’s, Israel has positioned itself in the world as an empire of the mind – a high-tech powerhouse, proving itself as a significant global player in innovation and entrepreneurship.

In the second quarter of 2014, $928 million – the highest quarterly amount since 2000 – was raised by 174 Israeli high-tech companies and in 2013 the total amount of exists was $2.1B.

However, none of these companies are built and aimed primarily and directly at addressing social challenges, even if many of them contribute in certain ways toward making our world a better place.

We want to change that by introducing Israeli social-tech and lead the industry of technology for global social good. Israel has an abundance of tech entrepreneurs whose wish is to change the world.

My partners at Pitango and myself have always been active in social programs. We believe that impact investing is the right tool to leverage our experience with technology companies to create global social impact. We teamed up with Impact First Investments, the first Israeli social-tech management company, to make that happen (www.impact1st.com)

Together we are promoting for-profit tech companies built for the greater good. We are looking to establish this industry by introducing capital and expertise that will enable Israeli entrepreneurs to tackle global social challenges with technology solutions.

Our goal is to support tech companies that will create global social impact. Our aim is not the financial ROI but rather the Social ROI, looking to maximize stakeholder value before shareholder value. We do this as part of our Pitango Community Ventures arm and are engaged on a personal level to make this a success.

One example of such a company is AngelSense (www.angelsense.com). This is a company providing a solution that helps protect children with special needs by providing them and their parents with a smart analytics system. The system “learns” the child’s routine and alerts parents via smart phones when an irregular event is occurring in real time. An event like this can be a different bus drive, an irregular stop or an emergency of other kinds. Parents can then choose to check the child’s status, listen to the child’s surroundings and later show the child pictures of the places he visited during the day. The system can prevent abuse, and provides peace of mind to the parents. See parents’ testimonials here: AngleSense Parents testimonials

It comes to mind that we are really creating a new circle around my blog’s original 3 circles. Let me call it “Circle 1st” – where I will write about our Pitango Community Ventures.

 

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