Harnessing Student Potential In Microfinance
JP Morgan has issued a report stating that impact investment (capital for companies that are both for-profit and have demonstrable solutions to social and environmental issues), currently a $50 billion asset industry, is set to jump to $500 billion over the next three years. Investors’ Circle backs this prediction with exciting new features at its annual spring conference, May 2-4 in San Francisco, CA.
Nick Flores, Director of Investment and Entrepreneur Services at IC, oversees the Venture Fair enterprise selection process through which over 200 companies compete for 15 presentation slots. On Tuesday, May 3rd, each entrepreneur will present a seven-minute pitch in front of 150 investors in hopes of raising between $250,000 and $3,000,000. This time, Socratic Technologies, a San Francisco based marketing research firm, is supporting the method in which investor interest will be gauged during the conference. Socratic’s unique capabilities will enable real-time feedback to be captured and synthesized onsite. IC launched onsite due diligence during a conference last fall in DC, and the Socratic Mobile Platform™ will greatly facilitate matching up who wants in on what deals. "It's our own super-accurate version of match.com plus speed-dating all wrapped up in supporting companies that are dedicated to making the world a better place. Our community of investors has been at the forefront of impact investing for many years and we think they’re going to be incredibly enthusiastic about this new feature," says Flores.
Also new and in support of investor capacity-building is the IC Investor Member Center. Its inauguration is set for Monday, May 2 during an ICmembers-only meeting but it is scheduled to be open from 8 am to 5 pm on Tuesday, May 3 and Wednesday, May 4 as well. Open to IC members and other attending investors and advisers, the IC Investor Member Center is part of a host of services recently customized by IC and will demonstrate a new online membership platform, perform concierge services for meeting arrangements and offer past deal overviews and information.
Working closely with RSF Social Finance, a nonprofit financial services organization, IC is also excited to introduce a new “shared gifting” program within the event. Each entrepreneur and his or her corresponding enterprise will receive a guaranteed sum just for taking part in this new conference element. Highlighting the entrepreneurs is important because what comes next is all about collaboration – amongst people that have ostensibly never met. They will be introduced on Monday, watch each other pitch on Tuesday, and then at the start of Wednesday's session they will be given their own $1,000 plus a second $1,000 “to gift” to one another. Thus, there are no losers and it tends to get everyone to commit right at the onset. The additional gifting process will be orchestrated by Kelley Buhles, RSF Program Manager, Philanthropic Services, who maintains that “It’s generally a pretty moving process. We’ve seen it happen where one person ends up giving away both their own money plus their gifting money to those they deem most deserving." The hopes are that this will facilitate collaboration and connections amongst the entrepreneurs in a traditionally fairly competitive environment. “One of IC’s and RSF’s mutual objectives is to support entrepreneurs with more than just money and this is the perfect opportunity,” adds Buhles.
Back by demand will be the 24-hour networking lounge, which will be in full force throughout the conference based on the considerable praise it has received plus forum sessions designed by a top-level advisory board. “The entrepreneurs come for capital from values aligned investors, the investors come to build their capacity through education and everyone is here for the community,” says IC CEO, Suzanne Biegel, a prolific speaker and impact investor who went on a listening tour last summer and then developed a vision for where IC needs to go. She adds that, “It’s amazing to have had over 60 people and organizations in the impact investing ecosystem put forth their thoughts and to now see it all flourishing here not even a year later - this really shows the kind of velocity we’re aiming for!”
Suzanne Biegel is located in London, England. Passionate and inexhaustible, Suzanne is constantly traveling time zones speaking about impact investing. To interview Suzanne, please contact Gianna Goulding, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Investors’ Circle Spring 2011 Venture Fair & Forum
When: May 2-4, 2011
Where: Westin on Market St, 50 Third St., San Francisco, CA
Who: Investors' Circle members, angel investors, fund managers, family office managers, foundation executives and trustees, wealth, financial and philanthropic advisers and their clients and other accredited investors only.
How: Register online at investorscircle.net
Cost: Reg Fees range from $795-$1295
Investors’ Circle is the largest and oldest investment network dedicated to early stage impact investing. IC has facilitated investments into 220 companies and put $145 million into enterprises and funds. The IC community is one of purpose, practice, thought leadership and action. Please visit investorscircle.net or call 415-255-6844 for more information. # # #