More Than Profit: Looking Back and Looking Forward
It’s crazy we just completed Season 3 of More Than Profit! After two seasons in 2020 that looked across the impact landscape, we wanted to take a deeper dive into one theme from various angles. The theme of this past season of More Than Profit was “Consciously Constructing More Dynamic Portfolios.” In this season, we discuss mission alignment; how someone can think through matching their values with their investments; the difficulties related to benchmarking and measuring impact; and some of the specific ways individuals and organizations can work alongside mission-oriented funds to achieve a consciously constructed portfolio.
We set out to do this theme because whether it is by virtue of where we live (Louisville, KY) or because so many people are still skeptical of a funds ability to do both impact and financial returns that are non-concessionary; too many people still grow quiet and roll their eyes at the thought of investing for both impact and returns. Truly, some funds and strategies are financially concessionary and that too is okay. But what we wanted to do was to dispel the crazy myth that all funds pursuing impact must be sacrificing the potential of returns as a result. Many may say this is idealism and not possible. Yet, many people are working across the various asset classes to do just that – align values and return.
To kick off the season, we talked about our own journey at Access Ventures with our friend, Robert Kim at the Caprock Group, as well as Liesl Pritzker Simmons about her journey with the BlueHaven Initiative. Then we had a great conversation with Melanie Audette of the Mission Investors Exchange about the importance of relationships and the role her organization plays in moving the conversation forward. Once we defined the landscape and identified some of the current roadblocks, we dove into connecting with various fund managers with very interesting strategies.
In “Humble Stewardship with Carl Chang”, I talked with Carl, founder of Kairos Investment Management who even as a young man, Carl learned the importance of stewardship and impact investing. His firm seeks to make value-aligned investments to help the community and has developed a strategy to invest in affordable housing.
In “The Evolution of ESG Investing with Glen Yelton”, I talked with Glen, Head of ESG Client Strategies at Invesco. With Glen’s passion for impact investing and fixed income strategies, he spent years working to create ways to measure impact in a world where that data is typically either lacking or difficult to consolidate. In this conversation, Bryce and Glen discuss SRI, ESG, effective data collection and analyses, and ultimately how to foster an ecosystem that pushes impact investing closer and closer to the mainstream.
Venture Capital – Female, BIPOC, LQBTQ+
In “Attacking a Market Failure with Candice Matthews Brackeen”, I talked with Candice, founder of Lightship Capital who has spent her professional career building community and seizing opportunities to promote growth. Candice discovered that black founders were underfunded, with only 0.67% venture-backed, so she began Lightship Capital to fund startups led by BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities. Candice and Bryce discuss creating an inclusive community within the marketplace and the value of having a holistic approach to consulting and investing.
In “Investing for Resilient Communities with Janet McKinley”, I talked with Janet, founder of Advance Global Capital, who, after working in investing for a while, decided to focus her investment strategy on women and began lending to women in Vietnam. She developed ways to provide funding for women who wanted to start businesses but did not have the collateral to take out a bank loan due to cultural barriers.
In ”Crypto Loans Without Collateral with Blake West”, I talked with Blake, cofounder of Goldfinch, a credit platform for cryptocurrency loans. As a software engineer, Blake saw great potential in cryptocurrency as all aspects of life became increasingly more digital and as people were seeking to do something with their cryptocurrency instead of letting it sit in an account. Additionally, he found that there is a demand from people around the world to access crypto loans, especially in places where the local currency is volatile.
Venture Capital – Creator Economy
In “Hidden Ventures and Scaling the Creator Economy”, I talked with Ben Terry, Chief Creative Officer at Access Ventures. They try to define the creative economy and the creator economy and talk about the differences between the two. They discuss finding the right tools to help creatives succeed and make returns. To address this issue, Ben created Hidden Ventures, an investment firm to help creatives who are starting out.
In “Investing in Renewable Energy with Charles Wheeler”, I talked with Charles, Co-CEO of Greenbacker Capital, an investment management firm that focuses on sustainable infrastructure investing. They connect investors looking to back green energy solutions with sustainable infrastructure projects that need funding.
Refugee Lens Investing
In “Building Inclusive Economies Through Refugee Lens Investing with John Kluge”, I talked with John, Founder and Managing Director of the Refugee Investment Network, an impact investing firm that helps refugees and displaced people. John has spent years working alongside social entrepreneurs and impact investors looking for opportunities to make a difference in communities around the world through investing.
In “Impact Through Growth Equity with Wright Steenrod and Moses Icyshaka”, I talked with Wright, a partner at Chrysalis Ventures, a venture capital firm that transforms industries with information technology. He acknowledges the tie between growth and impact and that most businesses are integrating impact into their mission. Together with Moses Icyishaka of Access Ventures, Wright is developing a new fund called Iriba. It is a growth equity firm dedicated to helping companies combine their return strategy with social impact.
Conscious construction. It’s time we open our eyes to the possibilities and challenge the false assumption they will be financially underperforming if maximizing shareholder returns is not the sole purpose. Access Ventures works every day alongside our partners to consciously construct a dynamic portfolio. We realize that this idea is new or even foreign to most people. Season 3 of our podcast, More Than Profit, was expressly done to address these false assumptions. We focused this season on diving deeper with funds and the fund managers that work every day to achieve a positive impact through their investments – while never sacrificing profit. Make sure to check out the entire season to learn more and be sure to download our 2020 Annual Report to see how this has played out for us as we pursue both impact and financial returns.
Lastly, we are excited to share that we are currently in pre-production of More Than Profit season 4 coming later this year, and we will be focusing on employment. Sign up to our newsletter to get notified when it drops and to stay up to date with our work.