Berlin / Zurich, January 11th, 2016
We are happy to announce the soft launch of a new gateway to impact investing tailored for the inclusive business community:
It’s an initiative of GEXSI, a social investment think tank and advisory which emerged from an initiative of the World Economic Forum (Global Exchange for Social Investment), and Sosense, a pioneer in social innovation in the digital age. The initiative has been kick-started with support of the Inclusive Business Action Network (IBAN) and works closely together with Caroline Ashley and her team from the the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business.
Inclusify is a blog-style online magazine which aggregates and edits content from the various websites, blogs and newsletter which cover topics around financing inclusive businesses. Its complemented by a Who is Who of the most relevant impact investment funds, investors’ networks, intermediaries, marketplaces and support mechanisms as well as selected showcases of inclusive businesses who successfully managed their financing rounds.
Why Inclusify is needed
Isn’t the internet already full with like-minded websites, you may ask? – Indeed. And this is why we started Inclusify. There is a lot of information on the internet, but not tailored for those who seek to engage as an impact investor to finance social enterprises in low-income regions across the globe.
Impact Investing can be a very confusing concept particularly for those who are new in the field. It comprises an extremely broad spectrum of investment opportunities, from small-scale business angel engagements on-site to participation in large-scale, structured investment vehicles with heavy engagement of the development finance industry. It ranges from purely impact-driven, often philanthropically inspired investments (such as so called catalytic first loss capital) to investments which target financial investors who need to achieve a minimum financial bottom-line.
Inclusify uses its editorial voice to help structure the content in a way to help better understand the impact investing sector and how best to enter this market.
Empowering the next generation of impact investors
We want to help inclusive business entrepreneurs to understand how the impact investment market works and what type of partnerships between philanthropic and commercial investors may work for a specific enterprise. This is our link to the Practitioner Hub.
However, we launched Inclusify as an independent platform, because we see a huge potential to use our communication channels to raise interest to potential investors who are interested in bop markets but who as of now do not yet form part of the inner circle.
For us, it has been a key learning from working in the impact investment sector for the past 10 years: It’s not easy to find the right entry point to join the impact investing community. (It’s commonly known that it is difficult to find a suitable investor if you are an inclusive business entrepreneur; but it’s quite the same the other way round!).
Just imagine you are financial manager of a foundation, of a family office or have own money to invest. How do you engage in the sector? – You may run into one of the many investment marketplaces or broker – Bidnetwork, Mission Markets, Inclusive Business Accelerator (IBA Ventures), Mixmarket, Enable Impact, Asian Impact Investing Exchange, London Social Stock Exchange, and more. It’s unlikely that you take an informed decision, as it is unlikely that you’ll know all of them.
You may consider to join an impact investors’ network like TONIIC or PYMWYMIC or pilot with an impact business focused crowdfunding platform. And you may screen various social impact investment funds. Things quickly become complex, as many investment vehicles will not be found if you search through any databases for socially responsible investing. Impact-driven funds (or bonds) often are partnerships between philanthropic and commercial investors. There are fascinating opportunities to really make a difference, but it is not obvious how best to engage.
A focused online magazine with a supporting Who is Who database is what we believe a powerful approach to inspire and educate both entrepreneurs and investors.
Who is Who?
There exist a growing number of outstanding databases which are extremeply useful to work in the impact investment field. Still, they leave a gap which Inclusify strives to fill. Let’s take two prominent ones:
- Impact Base, the database set-up and managed by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is the most sophisticated database but it is accessible for accredited investors only. Hence, its value is limited for those who have not yet entered the impact investment arena but consider to do so
- Impact Space, an open source database run by Impact Alpha, contains so many entries that non-expert impact investors are likely to be overwhelmed. But who of the close to 2,000 listed investors are leading the field of inclusive business finance?
The Inclusify Who is Who is open to everyone and targets investors with a mission to boost the inclusive business sector, often positioned at the interface of development finance, venture philanthropy and impact investing.
What’s next to come
The current version of both the magazine and Who is Who is a beta version. Our plans for 2016 are:
- We’ll feature selected deals from like-minded impact investment platforms as showcases who to engage in the sector
- We’ll team-up with the Practitioners Hub to further realize synergies on the database management.
- We’ll explore the potential to run donation based crowdfunding campaigns, as social risk capital tends to be a bottleneck in the market.
To make this happen, we are looking forward to engage with sponsoring or media partners.
Dr Andreas Renner, GEXSI – The Global Exchange for Social Investment
This post is a part of the January 2016 series on Access to Finance for Inclusive Business. View the whole series for more blogs, information and stories to help you navigate the finance landscape for businesses and investors, in partnership with Inclusive Business Accelerator.