Some background on how we invest now. We could talk about Amazon’s potential to gain more retail market share (it’s currently only 4%), or its continuing opportunity in cloud computing, healthcare, and financial services. What if we could merge a private-markets mindset with public-market opportunities? Learn more. In 30 years, Costco has never had a major employee strike or protest. It’s nearly impossible to maintain investor support with those kind of temporary losses. What’s up with women and impact investing? However, foundations need encouragement, and there will be times when they need to compromise. The latest example: the Women’s Capital Collaborative, a fund created by RSF Social Finance, announced investments totaling nearly $1 million in four women-led ventures. Hard to say this has come at the expense of shareholders: Costco stock is up more than seven-fold in the last 20 years, versus 2.5-fold for the S&P 500. Today the fund, called the Minnesota Impact Investing Initiative or “MI3” for short, includes 12 philanthropic investors putting $23.9 million to work for good in Minnesota. Use resources and infrastructure that are already in place. You’ll find a community... We're happy to have Kaitlin Frick as a new member of the MCF team! That sparked a question internally: If we invested in public stocks with the mindset and structure of a VC, what would we invest in? I am long great leaders. The last step was to present that final assessment of the relative benefits of the candidates to the foundations and ask them if they are willing to make the leap. Here are a few others well-known names we’d like to own. Their climate investments include Dandelion Energy , Impossible Foods , Quaise Energy , Modern Meadow , and Zitara , among others. But we look for patterns and companies that tilt in favor of those patterns. The Big Leap into alternatives . Here are a few others well-known names we’d like to own. “I can’t go a penny lower on this deal without losing money.”. All business is hard. Collaborative Fund has made 71 diversity investments. The firm seeks to invest in technology, consumer, fintech, healthcare, and crypto sectors. See our Risk Factors for a more detailed explanation of the risks involved by investing through EquityZen’s platform. The two hashed out a deal. This worked, of course. Craig’s picks were effectively merging a venture mindset with public market opportunities. When Collaborative Fund is looking at whether to invest in a company, it’s looking for a startup that’ll be able to accomplish some kind of social good — but also actually make money and be a real business. If foundations were to move their assets from their endowment to a new fund, it had to be worth it. We form a new SeaChange Fund annually, typically making 6-8 investments each year in Seed-and Series A investment rounds for Pacific Northwest companies with high-growth potential. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage companies. The collaborative model of investment essentially combines a number of the existing models, recognizing that: Private market investing in infrastructure and development projects is consistent with a long-term investment strategy. The combination of big bets on breakthrough companies and above-average holding periods from investors with structurally long-term commitments is rare, powerful, and deeply needed. If Collaborative Fund invested in public stocks, we’d invest in Costco. It’s returned 21% annually since then, which would rank in the top quartile among venture funds in that vintage and would have outperformed the average hedge fund by more than 300 percentage points. Do you think Netflix can stream content and if so, will it be popular? We chose to bring philanthropic investors together to collaborate on an impact investing opportunity that meets their needs. Social Media Collaborative Engagement. Jeff Bezos says he wants Prime to be a product that is irresponsible not to own. It didn’t want a business partner in that position. By creating an impact investing vehicle for our state, we would create an opportunity for foundations to begin impact investing while activating more philanthropic capital for Minnesota. Climate. ----- Collaborative Fund is an investment fund that provides funding to companies based on creativity and collaborative consumption. Building a Place-Based Impact Investing Ecosystem. By Eric White, CAIA and Susan Hammel, CFA, Cogent Consulting. 300-plus foundations, investors, entrepreneurs are... by Susan Hammel, CFA, MCF Executive in Residence, 800 Washington Avenue North, Suite 703, Minneapolis, MN 55401, Tel: 612.338.1989 E-mail: email@example.com, How to Launch a Collaborative Impact Investing Fund. But our investment philosophy isn’t a venture capital strategy. After signing the deal Costco realized it was squeezing the tire distributor to the razor’s edge of unprofitability. Venture funds typically have 10-year lockups that enable long-term bets in ways most public equity funds realistically can’t pull off – especially with a concentrated allocation, where volatility can be higher. A CIT can invest in just about any kind of asset including stocks, bonds commodities, derivatives, and even mutual funds. Susan is MCF's Executive in Residence. Jeff Bezos and Reed Hastings are great entrepreneurs. "At Collaborative Fund, the fund I founded to invest in collaborative businesses, we are helping to support a cultural shift away from excess, hyper-consumption, and ownership, and toward access, sharing, and efficiency. It’s a trend that impacts virtually all businesses and all industries. In 2014 Collaborative Fund launched a $10 million joint investment vehicle with Line, a Japanese messaging service. We believe shifts in demographics and consumer behavior will lead mission-driven companies to produce the highest economic returns in the coming decades. For larger, more experienced foundations, their role inspires, guides, and enables the smaller foundations to do impact investing. But it’s awesome for Costco, too. Our Shared Profit and Collaborative Endorsement (S.P.A.C.E.) Our thesis behind this investment was simple: Fresh and delicious food at a reasonable price = recipe for success. The response was cautious, but positive. Agreement optimizes financial and social capital to help Black founders build profitable and sustainable businesses. Collaborative Fund General Information Description. Therefore, the first step in creating this fund was surveying the interest of foundations in a collaborative impact investing fund. We are an investment fund focused on supporting and investing in the shared future. Peter said that the Catalyst Fund began in September 2010, with a five-year commitment to invest a total of $1.725 million by four key investors: the Boston Foundation, Boston Local Initiatives Support Corporation, The Hyams Foundation, and United … Or worse. Picking investment winners is harder. It is one of the only large-scale “private equity” shops that puts no thought into exits. But Costco has clearly done it. Not only was there a strong desire for an impact investing fund, but the foundations that we spoke to also affirmed our belief that such an endeavor should be collaborative. That’s how this works. Yes, we have had one of the longest bull runs ever in the past eight years. Ever since we launched the Minnesota Impact Investing Initiative in March 2017 through the Minnesota Council on Foundations, impact investing practitioners from across the country have asked us how we created a place-based impact investing vehicle attractive to philanthropic investors. The … Mortenson Family Foundation Accepting Letters of Inquiry for Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families Grant Consideration, The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation Announce Nearly $7 Million in Grants Statewide, American Heart Association Impact Fund Accepting Twin Cities Investment Applications Through January 15, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation Names Ellen Brownell Associate Vice President, Director of Investments, Northland Foundation Hires LeAnn Littlewolf as Senior Program Officer Working with Grassroots Indigenous Grant Program, The BEtter OUTcomes Initiative Learning Community of Practice, Celebrating Trista's Tenure at MCF, and Announcing Her Departure, Fairness in Philanthropy: A Case Study of the Arise Project, Community Connections: The Real Story of Minnesota Community Foundations, MCF Welcomes Kaitlin Frick as Data Manager and Finance Assistant, Good Intentions in Impact Investing Are Not Enough. For our community, the top needs were: It is important to understand that these criteria were important to our community, and directly informed our approach and collaborative design process. Yes, you do need a little bit of luck for investing success: Housel 10 Sep, 2020, 02.07 PM IST. Families in Cambridge, Boston and beyond will benefit and be at the forefront of changing the system.” It wasn’t particularly lucrative for the tire distributor, but Costco was a growing retailer with loyal customers, and tire companies were itching to get involved. We were fortunate that three well known, innovative and experienced foundations agreed to be anchor investors: the Otto Bremer Trust, the Bush Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. The fund's average daily trading volume is only around $1 million, making it harder for investors to put large sums of money to work quickly. By offering a face-to-face presentation, the foundations were able to ask questions and voice their concerns candidly. Engaging their internal investment staff and/or external investment consultants was essential to activating investment capital, rather than grant capital. The latter point is the most important. This timetable incents us to make relatively rapid investment decisions. A collaborative fund requires a collaborative process. Founder Optionality As part of our solution, we implement profit sharing 6 to 12 months after the investment. Collaborative Fund emerged on the scene nearly 10 years ago to fund seed-stage and, as time passed, early-stage startups, many of them in New … We are investors in: Dandelion Energy, Impossible Foods, Modern Meadow, Benson Hill, Zitara, Lyft, Quaise Energy, among others. If Collaborative Fund invested in public stocks, we’d invest in Costco. We didn’t want to encourage the investment managers to change or expand their investment strategy; we wanted them to make available the portion of it that met our needs.. After that initial assessment, we arranged to have the two leading candidates come to Minnesota to present their potential Minnesota fund to the 12 foundations who were leading the interest in a collaborative pool. But venture funds can take big bets on emerging trends with a high degree of uncertainty and volatility, because they are structurally long-term oriented. We chose to bring philanthropic investors together to collaborate on an impact investing opportunity that meets their needs. These questions seem obvious. Founded in 2011, Investors Collaborative is a venture capital firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. Sign up for more Collaborative Fund content. Now that we had stated interest from a dozen foundations and a list of requirements, we could begin designing a fund. Our conversations began as casual inquiries which quickly built in momentum as excitement grew. A business partner who is taken care of is more likely to take care of you. The direct method of investing is a more cost effective means of accessing private market investments. They are on the right side of the macro shift towards digital consumption and commerce; well capitalized, and haven’t enjoyed the spotlight Steve Jobs or Eric Schmidt have. Craig could have picked many different stocks and likely performed well. 2 INVESTING TOGETHER: COLLABORATIVE PLACE -BASED IMPACT INVESTI NG In this report, which is a product of a national field scan, we identify and classify a portion of the collaborative efforts that are beginning to take shape and aim to better understand the complexities of collaborative place-based impact investing. “We want to build a company that will still be here 50 and 60 years from now,” founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal has said. The fund centers around two macro themes which drives business innovation in the coming years: the growth of the creative class and the concept of collaborative consumption. Yes, that was why the needed to renegotiate, Costco said.  In early 2016 Collaborative Fund partnered with Sesame Workshop to form a $10 million joint fund, aimed at investing in startups focused … Its goal is to sup-port and strengthen youth organizations that work at the intersection of compre- Each foundation had its own processes for evaluating investments and making investment decisions, and allowing for those processes without performing the work for them was essential. Its labor turnover is rock bottom: 17% per year for Costco vs. 44% for Sam’s Club. Costco pays employees an average of 72% more per hour than rival Sam’s Club. Four funds. For more information, see the MCF Impact Investing website, and Mission Investors Exchange Building a Place-Based Impact Investing Ecosystem. We become obsessed with it. Costco is negotiating with a tire distributor. Through our Collective Action Teams and the Statewide Capacity Collaborative, SVP is exploring new ways to fund, facilitate and participate in aligned efforts for greater community impact. “The Trust and Invest Collaborative and its partners are leading the country in piloting a new approach to accelerating economic and social mobility. 50+ investments. In response to the Christchurch shootings, the NZ Super Fund, alongside the other crown-owned investors, announced it is leading a global collaborative engagement with three social media companies: Facebook, Alphabet and Twitter. Collaborative Fund was started in 2010 to invest at the intersection of for-profit and for-good and thematically seeks to fund founders in climate, money, food & agriculture, kids, and health. One Region Fund coordinated efforts of funders in the tri-state region to invest in advocacy for transit improvements and grants to stimulate transit-centered development around commuter rail stations from 2006 to 2014. Investing … The fund centers around two macro themes which we think will be driving business innovations in the coming years: the growth of the creative class and the concept of collaborative consumption. Along with Amazon Prime, Netflix has created one of the only paid products that seems irresponsible not to own. For example, the shared location of the foundations offers a common impact theme. Their leadership opened the doors for philanthropic investors of all sizes to join. The New Business Strategy: Be A Little Nicer To Everyone. It is one of the purest examples of “better for me/better for the world” that exists. In other communities, different criteria will be foremost, and efforts in those communities must follow those criteria to have the potential to achieve the success that ours did. The answer is simple: by involving those investors in a collaborative creation process. The focus on original content will be seen as one of the shrewdest business moves ever, as Amazon ups generic content on Prime Video. For each of the foundations, we invited the decision makers for impact investing: a selection of CIOs and senior decision-makers. And it is as strong for big, established companies as it is for startups. This guide to launching a collaborative fund is organized into four steps. The bigger point is that few hedge funds or mutual funds could even attempt the kind of strategy Craig proposed – or even a more diversified one – because the ebbs of flows of interim volatility would have rankled investors. Our goal was to design an impact investing opportunity accessible to foundations of all sizes and impact investing expertise that would invest in Minnesota. WeChat isn’t just a messaging app; it’s the center of the universe for how people transact, find products, give recommendations, book a ride-share, and much more. Another collaborative, Blue Meridian Partners, launched in 2016, has raised more than $1.7 billion in investment capital from 14 funding partners and has approved a total of $350 million for its first nine recipients. The list of constraints was long and strict, but fair. This is a big part of our thesis: Within this diagram there are three areas of focus: Collaboration as a disruptive force to existing industry and business models (Wikipedia vs. Encyclopedia Britannica), Values as a competitive advantage (Tesla vs. Ford), Focus on design and user experience in building an iconic brand (Airbnb vs. Hilton). That is incredibly valuable for family operators who need liquidity but don’t want to sacrifice their business’s dignity. Buffett has built a compounding machine that will outlive his input by decades. Hindsight bias does not escape us. Managed by RBC GAM, MI3 is a virtual “sleeve” within their $700 million Access Capital fund. Several existing entities had funds that met or approximated our list of constraints, which we assessed according to our five constraints. A business partner that does well will give you less day-to-day hassle than one that feels suffocated. This is obvious – but only if you can forgo maximizing short-term profits to focus on long-term rewards. The fund centers around two macro themes which drives business innovation in the coming years: the growth of the creative class and the concept of collaborative consumption. And he’s done that for millions of households who will be loyal customers for years to come. (starting September 1st 2010 – September 1st 2020). Through these conversations we learned which features and constraints were the most important for the foundation's investment boards. There is no shortage of fund managers who have crafted what they believe to be the perfect impact investing fund yet struggle to find investors. The amount of admiration for Buffett’s investing skill can overlook what has actually been Berkshire’s competitive advantage for the last 20 years: A brand a reputation that is so superb that companies choose Berkshire as the acquiror they want to partner with. If Prime is irresponsible to not own for financial reasons, Netflix has become irresponsible to not own for social reasons, staying connected to binding cultural trends in the post-cable TV world. Using technology and networks to improve the health and sustainability of our planet. They needed to renegotiate. However, more important than the steps themselves are three principles they represent: The first principle is to design an investment opportunity with, rather than for, philanthropic investors. People want to associate with companies that do good for them, and for the world, without sacrificing the product – Lyft’s gain on Uber in the last year is a good example. I am long great products. This process lead to a final assessment of the investment firms, their strategies, and the structures they were willing to offer. Today, we are excited to add Spyce to this list. The key of this step is patience. That is awesome for the employee. “I think the biggest single thing that causes difficulty in the business world is the short-term view. $300 million. Collaborative Fund is a leading source of capital for entrepreneurs pushing the world forward. We launched Collaborative Fund in 2010 with a simple idea: This was a novel concept at the time. Values as a competitive advantage. It's been three years since Collaborative Fund was founded to invest in startups in the collaborative consumption and adjacent fields. Thesis-driven bets on bold founders made by investors with a structurally long time horizon is a big part of how venture works. As we sketched out ideas for the fund, we considered how capital could be deployed to benefit affordable housing, small business, and other civic investments in our state. Investing in private companies may be considered highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk, including the risk of substantial loss of investment. We did not complete a formal recommendation, instead leaving room for each foundation’s investment staff or investment consultant to perform their due diligence to engage those resources in the process. This was our go-ahead to dig deeper into the two candidates and begin structure design and flexibility conversations. And not just in China, but increasingly in other countries around the world. Remind foundations that the purpose is not to create the perfect impact investment, but to create the momentum of impact investing in your state. From Limited Partnerships to Collaborative Investing: Sovereign Wealth Funds’ New Approach to Private Markets. But lots of smart people overlooked this kind of thinking because they were too busy doing crazy amounts of work to try and determine how stock prices would move over a given month, or quarter. Their most recent diversity investment was on Jun 12, 2020, when Oula Health raised $3.2M. My partner Craig Shapiro wrote this eight years ago: Buy 100 shares of Amazon and Netflix on the first of each month for the next 10 years. Offices in SF & NYC. You must understand when to respect the autonomy and unique needs of each foundation and when to push them to compromise and collaborate. Through 12 funds, including the Four Freedoms Fund TM and State Infrastructure Fund, NEO has designed and led large-scale collaborative grantmaking funds, connecting donors with aligned values to support work they could not fund as effectively on their own.. NEO has helped a wide range of funders increase the impact of their grantmaking through our collaborative funds. The amount of brand awareness it has built in one short decade is staggering for a company of its complexity. It’s the early 1990s. The Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change, launched in October 2001, is a national partnership among funders, youth and program staff of grantee organizations, and other experts. The ability to quickly and easily purchase a roll of Duct tape, or a tube of toothpaste, or a five-gallon bucket of hydraulic oil, is a boon to rural communities whose nearest major retailer could be dozens or hundreds of miles away. Do you think more or less people will be using Amazon in 2018? A message from June Noronha, MCF Board Chair: This post is a more personal take on work and life from MCF Executive in Residence Susan... Community foundations are a versatile and dynamic community resource. Private and public markets operate in totally different worlds, but both have traits the other can learn from and leverage off of. People act differently in an interconnected world where everyone knows everything about you and you know everything about everyone else. Which is one of Costco’s enduring traits. One pattern we’re increasingly optimistic on are companies doing right by others as a competitive advantage to do well for themselves. Revenue grew 53% in the last two years, largely from products that have existed for years or even decades. But something else goes unnoticed that makes us love Amazon: How much it has connected rural America to basic goods and services that used to be difficult to impossible to purchase. Building a car that is so beautiful and high-performance that those who don’t care about carbon emissions still line up to buy is truly something else. So it tore up the original deal and raised the price it would pay for tires. After the presentations, we called the question of whether the foundations were interested in pursuing this collaborative fund. 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