July 24, 2012

Purpose Capital Matters

We are excited to announce the launch of our newest division, Purpose Capital!

Since Venture Deli first started in 2010, we have made a commitment to continually iterate our services and approach based on what the market tells us. We’ve been listening – a growing number of investors have approached us looking to support innovative social ventures under the banner of impact investing, and many of them are seeking help to move from “interested” to “invested”. We feel the need is so great that it demands a dedicated corporate focus to meet this need. Say hello to Purpose Capital.

Venture Deli and Purpose Capital share the same vision – accelerating the development of companies that matter to the world – though we have a slightly different (but related) approach.

Venture Deli’s focus has always been on supporting ventures that matter to the world. We continue to be inspired by the ingenuity, determination and commitment of social entrepreneurs to launch successful companies that do well by doing good. Through our work with numerous entrepreneurs, we have gained a nuanced understanding of their needs. Entrepreneurs rarely come to us seeking advice. Rather, they tend to ask us for support to get to a stage of ‘investment readiness’ and subsequently, to raise investment. We have met over 270 companies since we started, and selectively worked with a handful of them to raise the bar on their financial and social performance.

Effectively positioning these amazing ventures for investment dictates that we understand investors’ motivations and investment criteria, as well as the mechanisms and systems necessary to flow purposeful capital. In our conversations and research, we hear two very different messages. First, a fundamental shift in the method and motivation of investment is upon us. Second, investors face challenges in finding and vetting impact investment opportunities, and structuring their investments in a manner that aligns with their financial and social return expectations. In a nascent marketplace, these issues are expected, but they can discourage activity and deals.

Purpose Capital meets investors where they are. We work with asset owners and managers to help them better understand impact investing, how it harnesses the best of traditional philanthropic and investment strategies, and the conditions required to be a successful impact investor. We work with both investors and their advisors to craft impact investing strategies that align their financial and social/environmental objectives, including how to measure and communicate their social impact.

As we have demonstrated with Venture Deli in the field of social entrepreneurship, Purpose Capital is equally committed to building the field of impact investing. We are developing a range of research and knowledge products to provide in-depth analysis for clients and industry stakeholders on the key trends and opportunities in the field. As an example, we recently released Redefining Returns: Social Finance Awareness and Opportunities in the Canadian Financial Sector. Furthermore, we remain active educators to the next generation of impact investing leaders through our teaching and research at Canada’s leading universities.

At Purpose Capital, we believe that impact investing is here to stay. The term may be relatively new, but the concept itself is not. The financial crisis has forced a re-think of many of the core tenets of investing, and a recognition that value creation cannot simply be acknowledged in financial terms – social, environmental, cultural, and human capital all matter. These trends have contributed to a greater amount of interest and capital commitments from some of the world’s leading investors and financial institutions.

We believe that connecting this capital to the best social ventures requires thoughtful and diligent intermediation, which is where we play. Venture Deli will continue to launch companies that push the boundaries of business success and social impact. Purpose Capital will connect with the investors who are interested in sharing this vision, and committed to delivering on the potential of impact investing. Together, we hope to move the needle on realizing the true potential of impact investing and social entrepreneurship both in Canada and internationally.

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