image descritpion

Publications
& Insights

Resources created and curated to support the growth of impact investing, for those new to the field and for experienced practitioners.

ImpactAssets 50 Help Topics
Filtering:
Use the filter categories on the left to narrow down your results. You can switch years via the dropdown menu. The numbers next to each filter represent the number of results available given your current selection. If you'd like to start over, simply click the 'Reset All Filters'ť link.
Sorting:
Use the dropdown menu found in the top right to arrange your current set of results. Select your preferred sorting option and wait for the results to refresh.
Printing:
Use the print button to print the current page contents. This works for both the summary view and the full Fund Manager detail view.
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

Root Capital Inc.

Total Assets Under Management: $51 – 99MM
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes
Geographic Focus:
Impact Investment Focus:
Natural Resources and Conservation
Sustainable Agriculture
Small and Medium Business Development

Firm Overview

Category: Private Debt - SME Finance (Emerging)
Root Capital is a nonprofit with a mission to serve agricultural businesses that connect smallholder farmers to world markets. When these businesses grow, they become engines of impact that transform their communities. They increase incomes, create jobs, preserve ecosystems, empower women and give young people the opportunity to lead. Our approach includes lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Over the past 17 years, Root Capital has cumulatively loans more than $1.2 billion to 665 grassroots businesses and reaching more than 1 million farm families. As a result, Root Capital has contributed more than $6 billion in revenue for our clients with more than 80 percent of that being paid directly to smallholder farmers.
Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: More than 10 years
Total Assets Under Management:
$51 – 99MM
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 25 – 50%
Investment Thesis:
Root Capital invests in the growth of agricultural enterprises in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa, Latin America and Indonesia, through an innovative lending model so that these businesses can transform rural communities.
 
Investment Overview:
Root Capital supports agricultural businesses with a mix of credit, capacity building and connections to ethical supply chains. These businesses purchase crops such as coffee or cocoa from smallholder farmers. With growth, they become engines of impact that can raise incomes, create jobs, empower women and young people, sustain peace and preserve vulnerable ecosystems. Root Capital believes in the transformative power of business – particularly in agriculture – to enable rural communities and families to thrive.  Our work is funded through philanthropic contributions from donors and debt investments from investors. Through our loan fund, one hundred percent of the low-interest loans we accept are placed directly with borrower enterprises. Philanthropic contributions serve to strengthen our balance sheet and to underwrite the costs associated with Root Capital's three-pronged strategy: capital, financial advisory services and catalyzing the growth agricultural enterprises worldwide.

Investment Example

Ketiara, a women-led Indonesian coffee cooperative was established in 2009 with only 37 coffee farmers. The cooperative has exponentially grown to nearly 2,000 small holder farmers in less than a decade - more than 40 percent are women. Root Capital first provided Ketiara a $550K trade credit loan, enabling the cooperative to purchase coffee from farmers and sell it on global markets. Since our first loan in 2014, the business has grown, and their loan size has increased to $1.5 million.  The chairwoman of Ketiara, is lauded by members for not only her keen business acumen, but moreover her commitment to social justice. She led the pursuit of Fair Trade certification so her farmers could receive price premiums for their coffee. Farmers in turn chose to invest that premium into better healthcare, education and infrastructure for their community and long-term improvement in their farms, ensuring that they can thrive for years to come.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
More than 30 years
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
More than 30 years
Willy Foote – Founder & CEO More Info

Willy is a Skoll Entrepreneur and an Ashoka Global Fellow. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008, one of Forbes’ “Impact 30” in 2011, and was a 2012 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Willy is a co-founder of Tendrel, where he serves on the Board of Directorsand is a Champion of the Tendrel Forum. He served for nearly a decade on the Executive Committee of the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), of which Root Capital was a founding member, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Willy holds an M.S. in development economics from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from Yale University.

Peter Bernard – Chief Operating Officer More Info

Peter retired from his post as a managing director and the chief risk officer of D.E. Shaw & Company at the end of 2013. Previously, he was president, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer at AlphaSimplex Group, a Cambridge-based investment management firm. From 2000 to 2004, he was the chief financial officer at Risk Metrics Group, a New York-based company which specializes in risk management software and data. In 1994, he co-founded New Bond Trading, Inc., an investment management firm specializing in fixed-income arbitrage, and was president of the company until 2000. Prior to that, Peter held various positions at J.P. Morgan & Co., where he worked for fifteen years. In 1987 and 1988, he advised the Presidential Task Force on Market Mechanisms (the “Brady Commission”) which investigated the causes of the October 1987 stock market crash. He received a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College.

Jared Chase – Chief Financial Officer More Info

As the Chief Financial Office and Treasurer, Jared is responsible for overseeing Root Capital's accounting, reporting, budgeting, financial planning and analysis, treasury, governance, information technology, enterprise risk and compliance activities. Prior to joining Root Capital, Jared held multiple senior management roles at State Street Corporation, including Chairman of State Street Global Alliance, Head of Global Treasury, Liability Management, Money Markets & Derivatives, and Managing Director of Fiduciary Services at State Street Global Advisors. Additionally, Jared has been a board member of the Massachusetts Audubon Society since 1998, serving as Chair since 2012. He also serves on the board of two other environmentally focused organizations, the New England Aquarium and the York Maine Land Trust. Jared holds a BS in Finance from Babson College.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who are Women and/or Under-Represented Groups in Firm's Geographic Focus:
25% – 50%
Percentage of Board Members who are Women and/or Under-Represented Groups in Firm's Geographic Focus:
25% – 50%

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Concessionary 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
Conserving land, ecosystems and natural resources
Creating jobs
Increasing access to financial services
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:
We seek to invest in small and growing agricultural businesses that value environmental stewardship and build sustainable livelihoods in local communities. We target early-stage businesses who often are unable to secure financing from other commercial sources due to their small size, lack of collateral, limited managerial experience and perceived risk. As part of the credit evaluation process for each business, Root Capital's loan officers use our proprietary social and environmental scorecards in order to to evaluate the business's social and environmental practices and impact. These tools include metrics developed by the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), a subsect of which we report in our Quarterly Performance Reports and online Performance Dashboard. As part of our underwriting process, we are conducting an in-depth analysis of the context in which the business is operating from poverty levels to climate change hotspots as well as the social and environmental practices that the business conducts.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:
We seek to invest in small and growing agricultural businesses that value environmental stewardship and build sustainable livelihoods in local communities. We target early-stage businesses who often are unable to secure financing from other commercial sources due to their small size, lack of collateral, limited managerial experience and perceived risk. As part of the credit evaluation process for each business, Root Capital's loan officers use our proprietary social and environmental scorecards in order to to evaluate the business's social and environmental practices and impact. These tools include metrics developed by the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), a subsect of which we report in our Quarterly Performance Reports and online Performance Dashboard. As part of our underwriting process, we are conducting an in-depth analysis of the context in which the business is operating from poverty levels to climate change hotspots as well as the social and environmental practices that the business conducts.

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: Rachel Serotta
Phone: (617) 299-2442
Mailing Address:
130 Bishop Allen Drive, 2nd Floor
Cambridge MA 02139

Ready for the next step?

Impact investments are investments made into organizations and funds that generate measurable social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.