Impact Investing- What Is It and How to Get Involved
Post by Jess Thevenoz ’17
When most people think of impact investing, they think that impacting good would mean taking a loss for every investment. As someone who concentrated in finance while at Babson, clearly we know that this does not make sense financially and is not a concept that will scale. As the industry grows,firms like Capria Ventures are finding ways to use market-based solutions to solve social issues. Capria Ventures is a global impact investing firm advancing and investing in the next generation of impact fund managers in emerging markets. Meaning, if you look at an investment with a finance first lens, you will know whether the impact will be able to be delivered, measured, and whether it will scale. Thus, a good business model is essential to create an impactful business. For example, if you create a company that is trying to sell an educational app, but does not have a profitable business model, how can you expect it to educate those in need?
As I learned more about this field, I was intrigued, but realized the market for talent was incredibly competitive. After under a year in the industry here is what I would recommend for those seeking roles within impact investing:
1. Have as many informational interviews as you can- with investors, with entrepreneurs, with many in the industry. Ask them for advice on getting involved in the industry. Reach out to people on LinkedIn, Babson Alumni, and send cold emails- we’re in an age where we can basically guess everyone’s emails based on their email conventions. The more people in the industry, the more impact; and therefore people are mostly happy to help. Caution: Make the informational interviews valuable. Do your due diligence and research- don’t ask questions that you can research yourself. Rather questions on perspective, and interpretation, like what do they think about where the industry is growing? What advice would they give someone starting?
3. Apply: Many require finance experience- you can’t ignore the “investing” aspect of impact investing, so it may be worth considering going to traditional finance and switching over. Many traditional investors, such as Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, are creating impact investing arms but mostly hire internally. Another path to consider is going to development banks like CDC, IMF, etc.
Jess Thevenoz ’17 is currently a Production Manager for e-Learning at Capria living in Seattle, WA and can be reached via LinkedIn