During the opening of their annual summit with over 17,000 participants, global investment platform OurCrowd announced the launch of a new Impact Fund in partnership with Social Finance Israel – the Israeli impact advisory leader.
The new fund is looking to raise $30 million and will focus on funding businesses seeking to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. The fund is said to align with the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Social Finance Israel is led by CEO Yaron Neudorfer and is chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen, co-founder of the global private equity firm Apax Partners, and “father” of impact investing.
OurCrowd said that impact investing has grown in popularity in Israel having risen from $130 million in 2016 to double that amount in 2018. Approximately $1.6 billion has been raised by Israeli companies in impact related sectors in 2018, according to IVC Research Center.
While the sector has grown dramatically, a report published jointly by OurCrowd and Social Finance Israel indicates there is a “strong chasm” between the standards of practice measured by the social or environmental impact the company generates.
For this new fund, OurCrowd will assess companies according to three dimensions: alignment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, impact practice and intentionality, and impact risk. All companies will also be evaluated by OurCrowd for their ability to deliver investment return and profit.
OurCrowd founder and CEO Jon Medved said they believe that it is possible to make money and do good at the same time.
“That is the best form of impact investing.”
The Impact Fund is expected to provide diversified exposure to impact-driven businesses like OurCrowd portfolio companies, provided they meet a set of of defined impact practices and criteria.
The following startups are representative of the potential firms and opportunities:
- UPnRIDE: all-terrain electric wheelchair that enables standing
- JUMP: smart bike-sharing platform (acquired by Uber)
- Zebra Medical Vision: algorithm-based assistance for radiologists
- Edgybees: AR software for rescue drone applications
- CropX :app-oriented sensors for irrigation and fertilization
“Impact – and more importantly impact measurement – does not impair profit. It actually drives it,” commented Sir Ronald. “We are thrilled to see Israel’s largest venture investor and a global player take a leadership approach on impact investing and we encourage others to consider how to use their market power as a force for good.”
“We see OurCrowd’s decision to establish an impact fund as proof that investors and companies are thinking about the impact they have on people’s lives and the environment. We are proud to support this initiative with the tools and expertise that market players like OurCrowd and others can use to follow through with their intentions.”
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