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

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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

Grassroots Capital
Management Corp, PBC

Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 249MM
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 1 – No Poverty
Sustainable Agriculture
Small and Medium Business Development
Microfinance/Low-Income Financial Services/Micro-insurance

Firm Overview

Category: Private Equity - Early Stage (Emerging)

Grassroots Capital Management PBC (Grassroots) is an impact investment management and advisory firm motivated by a belief that those blessed with abundant resources have an obligation to pursue economic and social equality and community empowerment both at home and globally.  Over the past ten years, we have built on our experiences as one of the earliest impact investors to help conceive, launch and manage 8 emerging markets equity and debt impact investment vehicles, raising over USD 300 million, and creating opportunities for investors to better align their portfolios with purpose. With our partners, we currently manage/advise three international impact investment vehicles targeting financial inclusion, affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, health, clean energy and adjacent sectors. Our company has been a certified B Corporation since 2008, a Public Benefit Corporation since 2013, and our funds are top-rated GIIRS Pioneer Funds, which have made the "Best for the World" list two years in a row.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: More than 10 years
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 249MM
Total Number of Investors: Between 5 – 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 25 – 50%
Investment Thesis:

By providing access to capital and active governance support and advisory services to innovative, scalable business models, Grassroots addresses market gaps, encourages adoption of new financial, agriculture, and climate smart technologies, and aims to eliminate poverty, build resilience to climate change, and strengthen communities globally.

Investment Overview:

Grassroots and our partners design, launch and manage impact investment vehicles to help eliminate poverty, build climate change resilience, and strengthen global communities. We provide private investors with avenues to devote a portion of their resources to mission-driven businesses. Our funds make private equity, quasi-equity, and debt investments in SME, affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, and adjacent sectors, in developing countries. As first-loss and early investors, we strengthen the balance sheets of our portfolio companies, enabling them to gain access to more commercial capital and scale their businesses responsibly. We play an active role in the management of these investments, providing governance and other support and advisory services, we facilitate the adoption of new innovative technologies, leading to increased efficiencies and productivity and improved livelihoods for marginalized and vulnerable populations. Throughout our work, we actively collaborate with others with shared values and approaches to create innovative and socially responsible solutions.

Company Differentiator:

We differentiate ourselves through our focus on the strengthening families and local communities where we make investments, our partner-based investment model which looks to build regional investment management capacity where the investments are made, and our use of equity and equity-like instruments which enables portfolio companies to leverage and scale while also providing top-down support for social and environmental impact programs through active governance. Our governance has been consistently recognized by the GIIRS ratings and we impart our governance expertise through advisory services like the Africa Board Fellowship (https://www.grassrootscap.com/abf/). We seek to make a difference not just through our investments, but also through our company's actions. In 2013 Grassroots became Delaware's first Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), signifying we have explicitly aligned our objectives and values to create general public benefit, and are participating in the B Corp Inclusive Economy Challenge to make improvements in our business practices.

Investment Example

Fundenuse is a financial institution providing loans to micro and small enterprises in northern Nicaragua. Through Grassroots' Prospero fund, we became the first institutional equity investor in 2014 and have supported the company with investments and technical assistance as it achieved a compound annual growth rate of 35% in its portfolio and 26% in clients. In addition to credit, the company has developed many products with the goals of contributing to improvements in its clients' quality of life and reduced environmental pollution. For example, because many of Fundenuse's clients are off-grid without access to conventional electricity, the company launched a microfranchising product where clients sell solar kits and Fundenuse provides credits up to $300 to promote the commercialization of these products. Because of its focus on its clients, to date the company has been able to manage the crisis that is affecting businesses throughout the country.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
More than 30 years
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
More than 30 years
Paul DiLeo – Founder and Managing Director More Info

Paul DiLeo has been engaged in development finance since the early 1990s, launching an investment fund in Russia, small business financing programs in Eastern Europe, a USAID program in the Caucasus, the Gray Ghost Microfinance Fund, and Grassroots Capital Management. Since 2003 Paul has helped launch and advised six impact investment funds with total capital of $300mm, and helped create numerous microfinance investment vehicles, including the Emergency Liquidity Facility, Antares, Catalyst, the Short Term Liquidity Facility, and LocFund.

Amitabh Brar – Managing Director More Info

Amitabh Brar (Amit) has over ten years’ experience in the design, oversight and execution of microfinance. During his career Amit has been involved in funding and monitoring; market research, due diligence and capacity building; and direct management of microfinance organizations. Prior to joining GCM, Amit served as Investment Director for its partner in India, Caspian Impact Investment Adviser Pvt Ltd.

Anna Kanze – Managing Director More Info

As Chief Operating Officer, Anna Kanze helps support Grassroots’ execution of its mission by leading the team’s investment due diligence, monitoring and reporting, social performance management and governance advisory work, in collaboration with colleagues based in India and Latin America. Since joining Grassroots in 2008, Anna has been instrumental in developing and executing Grassroots’ investment management processes, including the valuation of equity investments and in the co-creation of regional funds. Additionally, she oversees the funds’ internal systems and processes and supports investments, assessments, reporting, and planning.

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:
Market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
Below 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 education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to financial services
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Financial literacy training
Technology training
Other: Impact Management, Governance

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

Our funds invest in companies that have a strong commitment to improve the lives of their clients and the communities in which they operate. Potential investees are only considered if they have a demonstrated focus on serving under-served or excluded customers and/or communities, as evidenced by dedicated human and financial resources, reporting, and "mission-lock" corporate structures/ foundation documents. Confirming that commitment is a key component of due diligence. In addition to pre-screening companies during pipeline development through our networks and partners, we have specialized due diligence tools that integrate social, environmental, and sector-specific criteria to ensure that impact intent and commitment is deeply engrained in culture and operations. Additionally, we cross-check company policies and reports with on-the-ground practices and we compare to benchmarks and peers, to the extent possible.

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

Our funds only invest in companies that engage in and promote transparent and ethical business practices appropriate to their specific sector. During due diligence we review whether the firm has a Code of Ethics and if it is implemented, treatment of employees (including diversity of staff, management and the Board), and other international environmental and labor standards. Our due diligence tools are based on international and industry-specific best-in-class standards, like the GIIRS rating, which include analysis of intra-firm social/ environmental sustainability practices. Additionally, we are participating in the B Corp Inclusive Economy Challenge, with the aim of working towards a more inclusive economy, and will share metrics and best practices with our prospective portfolio companies.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to investors and donors
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: Anna Kanze
Phone: (413) 634-5040
Mailing Address:

PO Box 70, Plainfield, MA 01070

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.