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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
https://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2021 PROFILE

CNote Group Inc.

Total Assets Under Management: $25 – 49M
Asset Class: Cash / Cash Alternatives, Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 10 – Reduced Inequalities
Affordable Housing & Community Development
Small/Medium Business Development
Microfinance, low-income financial services & micro-insurance

Firm Overview

Category: Private Debt - CDFIs

CNote is a women-led impact investment platform that uses technology to unlock diversified and proven community investments that generate economic mobility and financial inclusion. Every dollar invested in CNote’s platform funds small businesses owned by women and people of color, affordable housing, and economic development in financially under-served communities across America. With the mission of closing the wealth gap, CNote’s customizable products allow anyone to generate social and economic returns by investing in the causes and communities they care about. 

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 3 – 4 years
Total Assets Under Management:
$25 – 49M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

CNote uses technology to unlock previously inaccessible community investments that empower underserved communities while generating competitive financial returns. 

Investment Overview:

CNote was founded on two core principles: everyone deserves a shot at financial freedom and that each of us can play a part in building a more equal world. CNote uses technology to open access to CDFIs for institutional (and retail) investors as a way of promoting economic growth and financial inclusion. For investors, CNote provides competitive investment products that are deeply impactful and drive positive social change throughout the United States. For CDFIs, CNote provides a new and sustainable capital source, increasing capital access and economic activity in communities that need it most. Overall, we’re using technology and unified investment administration and diligence processes to make CDFIs an investable asset class. 

Company Differentiator:

CNote is working to bring technology and innovation to the CDFI and community investment industry to greatly scale the amount of capital flowing into underserved communities across America. The firm’s unique technology focus has also led to the development of a proprietary underwriting system, which reduces the time and cost of connecting CDFIs and investors. CNote’s underwriting and investment systems were made in collaboration with CDFIs which helps ensure these investments remain sustainable and ensure these organizations can achieve their economic empowerment mission while accepting capital from new sources. Further, CNote is a women-founded and -led firm that is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion internally, through the partners we choose, and the investments we help deploy across America.  

Investment Example

CNote deploys capital exclusively through our CDFI and Low-Income Designated Institutions. Christine Uwimbabazi is an example of the kind of impact our investments generate. Working with Pursuit Community Finance, an Albany-based Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Christine’s company, Prime Care Transportation, received an important business loan to help her expand her business. Additionally, Christine received assistance in finding a reputable CPA, human resources consultant, and marketing professionals to help in improving the company’s social media presence.  You can read her story here: https://www.mycnote.com/blog/prime-care-transportation/ A larger sample of CNote's impact stories are available here: https://www.mycnote.com/blog/borrower-stories/ 

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
20 – 29 years
Catherine Berman – CEO & Co-Founder More Info

Catherine Berman is CEO and Co-founder of CNote, an award winning investment platform delivering competitive returns with 100% positive social impact. She is a 3X entrepreneur with experience building and scaling profitable businesses with transformative social impact. In 2017, CNote was named "Top Innovation in Fintech" by SXSW and one of the "most ground-breaking startups of the year" by CB Insights. Prior to CNote, Catherine served as Managing Director at Charles Schwab and Senior Vice President at venture capital firm, Astia. Her last startup, Global Brigades, grew to a multi-million dollar in a few short years and is now the global category leader. Catherine has worked with impact investments for over a decade, speaking at Google, Stanford University, Oxford University, SoCap, Coinbase and others about the importance of values-aligned investing.

Yuliya Tarasava – COO & Co-Founder More Info

Yuliya hosts a decade of experience on Wall Street and has developed financial products and services on 3 continents. She mentored startups around the world and provided pro-bono consulting to non profits on scaling and financing operations. Her career path is explained by the desire to demystify and humanize finance and passion to create. Yuliya considers herself a "citizen of the world" and is convinced we have power to create the world we want to live in.

Danielle Burns – VP, Head of Business Development More Info

Danielle M. Burns MBA, AIF is Vice President, Head of Business Development for CNote. Prior to joining CNote, Danielle worked for First Affirmative Financial Network in a variety of Business Development roles from 2004 to 2019 most recently serving as Vice President of Sales and Marketing where she worked with a highly collaborative team that was responsible for the growth and profitability of the firm’s distribution channels. Danielle participated in all aspects of the sales and marketing process, attended and spoke at industry events and educated advisors on how to navigate the Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) investing and ESG landscape. Her background emphasizes business strategy and consulting and executing integrated campaigns, marketing communications, product launch and system development. Danielle holds an MBA with an emphasis in marketing and the AIF® designation.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
Less than 25%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Quarterly

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Alleviating poverty
Creating jobs
Increasing access to financial services
Addressing Racial Inequality
Addressing Gender Inequality
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Conserving land, ecosystems and natural resources
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Providing housing
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training
Education services

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

Through CNote’s due diligence process, we make sure to partner with CDFIs that have proven records of driving positive social impact. We look to partner with those that put economic inclusion, development, equal opportunity, affordable housing, and better access to financial services at the forefront of their mission. 

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

Through CNote’s diligence process we look to partner with CDFIs with resources on the ground in the communities they look to serve that are able to connect with the communities to better understand and meet their needs on a more personal level. 

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Patric Glassell
Phone: (800) 449-6275
Mailing Address:

2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612 USA

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