Impact Investment through the Eyes of the Funders

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• Sonay Aykan, Senior Sustainability Analyst at iCompli Sustainability Services


• Diederik Timmer, Global Director of Institutional Relations at Sustainalytics

• Anupam Bhargava, President, Dolphin WaterCare

• Nell Derick Debevoise, Founder and CEO of Inspiring Capital

• Tripp Shriner, Principal at City Light Capital


Event Overview

How do angel investors choose their social impact projects and how does your company/nonprofit tap into those funds? How can you, as an individual investor, select socially responsible investments (SRIs)? How does environmental, social and governance (ESG) data shape your investment portfolio? What is the future of responsible investment?

A few of the questions we’ll attempt to answer in this panel that takes us behind the curtain of funder decisions.

The last decade has witnessed a growing market focus on socially responsible and sustainable investment options. Data from Bloomberg shows that between 2006 and 2015 the total amount of SRI (socially responsible investment) assets has increased more than 150x to $2.3 trillion. As corporations increase the transparency of their operations by releasing more environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data, investors get a better understanding of the social impact resulting from their investment choices. With this shift, companies now need to answer a new set of questions that will influence investment decisions, such as ‘how much greenhouse gas will be emitted’, ‘how much water will be used’, ‘how many jobs will be created’ and ‘what is the social ROI of every dollar invested’? Simultaneously, entrepreneurs gain access to new funding opportunities by attracting individual investors and angel investors who are willing to fund projects that result in a tangible social ROI.

However, the growing number of socially-responsible investment (SRI) products and green projects also bring several challenges to be tackled by investors, entrepreneurs and fund managers. Matching the ESG performance with market return, evaluating the true impacts of a project and developing the right strategy to attract angel investors to a new start-up are only few of them. Bringing experts from different sides of the equation this panel explores these challenges and discusses the solutions developed to solve them.

Meet Our Moderator & Panelists:

Sonay Aykan, PhD.

Sonay is a Senior Sustainability Analyst at iCompli Sustainability Services, which is a subdivision of BPA Worldwide. He is specialized in creating data-driven ESG assessment, portfolio scoring and CSR reporting products for corporations. Over 5 years, he has been working with organizations both in academia and the business world to provide expertise in sustainability reporting, KPI development, analytics, data management and green building assessment.

Anupam Bhargava

President, Dolphin WaterCare

Anupam builds businesses that commercialize clean technologies to address some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Anupam leads high performance teams to launch and scale sustainable solutions in industries historically dominated by large, entrenched competitors ranging from water and building systems to energy and aviation.

Nell Derick Debevoise

Nell is the founder and CEO of Inspiring Capital, which accelerates the integration of profits and purpose by aligning talented business professionals and high-potential, purpose-driven organizations. She is passionate about translating insights from business and entrepreneurship to drive social change. She speaks about this work alongside in diverse settings including the 2015 Global CFA Institute, Harvard, Columbia, and Yale social enterprise, High Water Women, and iRelaunch conferences. Nell is an adjunct professor of impact investing at New York University. She helped John Mullins, Associate Professor at London Business School, research The Customer Funded Business (Wiley, 2014).

Diederik Timmer

Diederik is the executive vice president of institutional relations at Sustainalytics. Over the past ten years Diederik has helped build Sustainalytics into the largest independent provider of ESG research and analysis for the global investment community. In 2013, Diederik transferred from Amsterdam to New York City. The move is in a response to the growing momentum of responsible investment in North America. Prior to joining Sustainalytics, Mr. Timmer served as Researcher at Nyenrode Business University for over 5 years. During this period he conducted extensive research on Responsible Investment and Corporate Social Responsibility in the financial sector. He has contributed to multiple (scientific) publications in this field. Mr. Timmer studied Finance at the Free University in Amsterdam.

Tripp Shriner

Tripp is a Principal at City Light Capital, an early-stage venture fund based in New York that is dedicated to generating both strong financial returns and measurable social impact through investments in the safety, education and environmental sectors. Prior to City Light, Tripp was a Vice President with J.P. Morgan’s Private Investments group, where he focused on venture investments in financial technology businesses. He also managed J.P. Morgan’s principal impact investment portfolio, which seeks to earn a reasonable rate of return alongside of achieving positive impact on low-income populations around the world. Tripp started his career in J.P. Morgan’s Investment Bank. Tripp is a CFA charterholder and graduated from Princeton University.