News & Insights
3 Things Learned at SOCAP13
by Jason Henning, director of investor relations, Global Partnerships
Last week I had the good fortune to attend SOCAP13, an event touted as the “intersection of money and meaning.” Over 1,800 people attended countless plenary sessions, panels, meetings, and receptions that facilitated idea exchanges on impact investing and social enterprise. Below are three of the major themes I took away from this year’s conference:
1. “This is not a sector, it’s a point of view.” – Tim Freundlich, President of ImpactAssets
As impact investing moves mainstream, most within the industry don’t see the approach as an asset class, but rather, a lens through which one views all asset allocation. There are a growing number of individuals, foundations and family offices that are all aligning 100% of their balance sheets on mission, and they were well represented at this year’s event.
2. Impact investing 2.0
Jed Emerson, Cathy Clark and Ben Thornley previewed their upcoming case studies focused on 13 high-performing investors. In what they coin “Impact Investing 2.0,” they see a maturing landscape of different stripes of capital with various motivations being managed by dynamic, cross-disciplinary fund managers. The trio also put a rest to the “impact first vs. finance first” debate by declaring “It’s mission first. And last.”
3. Deals are getting done
In a recent JP Morgan/GIIN impact investor survey, a “shortage of high quality investment opportunities” was cited as the second largest barrier to growth within the impact investment industry. But at SOCAP, there was no shortage of strong teams representing high-impact funds meeting difficult social challenges, from fresh food finance to aquaculture to investing in women. And the investors – from individuals to foundations to development banks – were in attendance and listening.
GP was represented among the conference's panelists by my colleague Lara Diaconu, vice president, Health Services Fund. She participated on a panel entitled, “Doing Well by Doing Good.” Lara spoke about how different types of capital (such as knowledge, philanthropic and debt capital) are required to meet different health challenges. Please feel free to watch the video recording of the panel.
Lastly, SOCAP has historically served as a welcoming venue to make new announcements. Continuing this tradition, B Lab announced its launch of B Analytics, a platform for measuring, benchmarking and reporting on impact. ImpactAssets followed by trumpeting the creation of Seed Ventures Platform, an online community that seeks to address the market gap in seed stage risk capital by connecting investors with impact entrepreneurs.
Interested in some of the top sessions from SOCAP13? Many of them were recorded and are available here.