Coined in 2007, the term’ impact investing’ was introduced to label companies that work for profits and ROI and contribute positively to the environment or society.
Impact investing involves allocating funds to companies and startups to produce a measurable and beneficial social or environmental impact alongside financial returns.
Interestingly, a recent survey by deVere Group revealed that 56% of respondents considered environmentally conscious investments as ‘safe havens.’ The study also found that today, more and more investors are participating in responsible, impactful, and sustainable investing. This growing inclination among investors towards accountable and sustainable investment practices is noteworthy.
The surge in impact startups and the adoption of impact investing align with an increased emphasis on addressing global challenges like climate change, poverty, and sustainability.
In his 2022 letter to investors, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink stated, “The next 1,000 unicorns won’t be search engines or social media companies; they will be sustainable, scalable innovators—startups that Help the world reduce emissions and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers.
What Is Impact Investing?
Today, impact investing has emerged as a potent force for positive change. But what is impact investing exactly?
It’s a practice that involves making investments with the intent of not only gaining financial returns but also generating positive and sustainable social or environmental impact.
The Importance of Impact Investing
Traditional investing must address global challenges, as most investments focus on generating profits and measuring ROI. However, impact investing is different. It bridges this gap, allowing individuals and institutions to align financial goals with values.
By investing in ventures tackling critical issues like climate change and poverty, impact investors drive positive social and environmental outcomes.
Studies demonstrate that companies excelling in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance outperform their counterparts.
Impact angel investors actively seek opportunities that create measurable and sustainable impact. They usually fund startup projects focusing on renewable energy initiatives, microfinance institutions, and social enterprises by enabling ventures to scale and address societal and environmental challenges.
Shaping Corporate Behavior
Angel investors influence corporate behavior by supporting companies prioritizing ESG factors. This signals the business community that sustainability is ethical and profitable, encouraging a shift toward responsible business models.
Impact Investing vs. Traditional Investing
While traditional investing focuses solely on financial returns, impact investing considers financial and non-financial outcomes. This distinction underscores the interdependence of financial success and societal well-being, setting impact investing apart.
Impact investment funds pool capital to make impact investments, offering investors access to diversified portfolios. These funds, specializing in sectors like clean energy or education, provide professional expertise, ensuring diligent assessment and monitoring of portfolio companies.
How to Find Angel Investors: Key Strategy for Impact Startups
Educate Yourself: Learn about impact investing, its strategies, asset classes, and impact measurement frameworks. Additionally, learn more about what angel investors do and how you can get your startup pitch deck approved by them for funding.
Identify Values and Goals:Reflect on social and environmental issues that matter to you, aligning with investment goals. Furthermore, find angel investors interested in investing in startups that work on concepts similar to yours.
Measure and Monitor Impact:Regularly assess impact using measurement tools provided by investment managers. This is how you can convince impact investors to invest their funds in your startup.
What Are Angel Investors for Impact Startups?
Thematic Investing:Under this form of investing, angel investors focus on themes like renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, or healthcare.
Place-based Investing:Angels revitalize specific areas by investing in local businesses and community development. They prefer startups that work on community development and societal upliftment.
Impact-first Investing:Under such a form of investment, angels prioritize measurable impact over financial returns. When pitching your startup for funding, you have to explain how your startup is making a positive impact and addressing the pain points of society.
Impact investing aims to reduce adverse business effects on society and the environment. Angel investors for startups prioritize corporate social responsibility and positive societal contributions.
Examples of Impact Investments
Impact investments span healthcare, education, clean energy, agriculture, and ESG, providing financial returns and aligning with investors’ values.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Invests in ventures aligned with health, education, and gender equality goals.
Soros Economic Development Fund: Supports open societies through investments in democracy, legal reforms, education, and journalism.
Ford Foundation: Invests $1 billion in ventures aligned with its mission to support business and social enterprises.
The impact investing market, estimated at over $715 billion, attracts angel investors and VCs by meeting or exceeding financial expectations, with two-thirds targeting market-rate returns. While scalable impact investing options primarily target wealthier investors, products like mutual funds offer opportunities for smaller investors.
Impact investing offers a transformative path, aligning financial interests with positive societal and environmental change. By prioritizing social enterprises over woke businesses, there is an enhancement in the potential for direct, sustainable impact, contributing to lasting solutions and community empowerment. As interest grows, impact investing promises a brighter, more equitable future.