Series A Funder and Founder Conversation, with Julie Abrams and Sujay Santra

Listen to a Conversation Between a Series A Funder and Founder

What does a conversation about Series A funding sound like between an impact funder and founder? What stage does a social entrepreneur typically have to be in to seek in the range of $1M in funding? What are the key criteria an impact investor may be looking for to continue the conversation? How important is fit when looking for funding?

If you have ever wondered these questions as you contemplate and progress social impact initiatives, this podcast episode was designed for you. Tune in to hear Julie Abrams, long time impact investor and co-founder of a new fund, Luminar Brasil converse with Sujay Santra, founder and CEO of social enterprise iKure.

The conversation, captured at Opportunity Collaboration, provides critical insight to learn more about what impact investors are ‘screening for’ and how social entrepreneurs can focus on the right investors.

You can find all of the episodes recorded at Opportunity Collaboration here.

 

 

Listen to the Episode

 

Meet Julie Abrams, Impact Investor and C0-Founder of Luminar Brasil Impact Investing

Julie is currently working on direct and fund investments in Brazil with Luminar Brasil, a high impact venture-style fund investing in scalable companies serving the base of the pyramid, emerging middle class, and the environment in Brazil. The fund targets market returns and measurable impact, with a long-range goal to address Brazil’s income inequality. She has worked and lived in Brazil, and is fluent in Portuguese.

Julie is an impact investing pioneer with longstanding expertise and passion focused on deploying commercial investment capital for poverty elimination and needed goods, services, and resources in underserved markets globally, including over $US 360 million invested to date. She has served on impact investment committees for MicroBuild Fund and Calvert Impact Capital, and previously worked for PwC. Julie was a Fellow at the Lauder Institute, where she earned an MBA from Wharton, and an MA from University of Pennsylvania.

 

Meet Sujay Santra, Ashoka Fellow and Founder and CEO of iKure

 

Realizing that there will never be sufficient doctors to treat patients in India individually, Sujay is completely changing the healthcare system from an individualized curative model to a community-based preventive healthcare system to ensure the holistic well-being of communities. He is doing this through ICT for low-cost diagnosis and data analysis of a community’s health indicators, and implementing behavior change programs for the communities in partnership with academic institutions, locals NGOs and businesses.

Sujay founded iKure to address “last mile” health care. It is a unique social enterprise with the mission to provide affordable, accessible, and quality primary health care services to the rural population of India. He was selected as an Ashoka Fellow for his ongoing work in creating initiatives to provide healthcare to millions.

 

Check out this episode!

Is Impact Investing Right for yours impact enterprise? A perspective from Ayush Khanna, Co-Founder of LaborVoices

Is Impact Investing Right for Your Impact Enterprise? A Perspective from Ayush Khanna, Co-Founder of LaborVoices

Is Impact Investing The Right Fit?

In this season of The Impact Podcast, we have been featuring episodes that delve deep into questions of funding for social impact. if you compared the evolution of social entrepreneurship to the stages of a person, it would be fair to say that the sector has reached an adolescence. It is no longer in its infancy but is negotiating the next range of questions and issues as it has matured. If that is the case for social enterprise, it may be said that the impact investment sector is somewhere in toddlerhood. It is growing, learning, and pivoting at an exponential pace; but is not fully developed and formed.

In this episode, you can hear how this still-developing form of investment may be a good fit or not a good fit for impact entrepreneurs. We are fortunate to be joined by Ayush Khanna, a savvy entrepreneur, recent 500 Startups graduate, and someone who has thought about these topics deeply.

 

Listen to the Episode

 

Meet Ayush Khanna

Is Impact Investing Right for yours impact enterprise? A perspective from Ayush Khanna, Co-Founder of LaborVoicesAyush is passionate about developing products that delight users while also creating social impact. At LaborVoices, he is building a platform that guides workers to the best jobs and global brands to the best suppliers. His work has been recognized by prominent organizations like USAID and Humanity United, and covered in media organizations like The Huffington Post, BBC and Reuters.

Previously, Ayush has held analytics and research roles at PayPal, Wikimedia Foundation, and Duke University. At PayPal, he worked with several Product teams to successfully launch mobile and web products in multiple regions. At Wikimedia, he developed the seminal Wikipedia reader and editor study, which revealed a signifiaAyush has a Masters degree in Information Science from UC Berkeley and a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from Mumbai University.

 

 

Check out this episode!

Meet Jonathan Lewis, social justice activist, social entrepreneur, author, and founder of Opportunity Collaboration

Listen to the Episode

 

Meet Jonathan Lewis

As part of our series of podcast episodes recorded live from Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa Mexico, this was a special episode with lifelong social justice advocate, social entrepreneur, and new author, Jonathan Lewis.

Amid the setting of a bustling breakfast hall, I had a chance to catch up with the founder of Opportunity Collaboration himself to learn more about his work, book, and the impetus behind founding “OC”.

By way of introduction, Jonathan is the author of The Unfinished Social Entrepreneur and Founder of MCE Social Capital, an innovative social venture that leverages $110 million of private capital to finance tiny business loans to deeply impoverished people, mostly women, in 33 countries in the developing world.

He is also Founder and President of the Opportunity Collaboration, an annual strategic business retreat for 450 senior level anti-poverty leaders from around the globe. In addition, Jonathan is the co-founder of Copia Global, an Amazon-like consumer catalog serving the base of the economic pyramid in Kenya.

In addition, he is a Trustee of the Swift Foundation. Jonathan also serves as a General Partner of Dev Equity, a social impact investment fund in Latin America. Jonathan has taught social entrepreneurship at New York University, the University of California (Berkeley) and lectured at universities around the world. He is a recipient of the Social Venture Network Innovation Award and a regular HuffPost Contributor.

 

Learn More

 



Check out this episode!

Live From Opportunity Collaboration: Interviews, Reflections, and Stories

Meet Opportunity Collaboration

October 15-21, 2017 marked the 8th annual Opportunity Collaboration event that convened 400 global changemakers committed to building sustainable solutions to poverty and supporting the impact ecosystem through their work.  This gathering brought together social entrepreneurs, impact founders, impact investors, foundations, academic faculty and administration, impact media, nonprofit executives and more.

Spanning multiple days, and taking place at an all-inclusive venue, this unique unconference/conference/leadership retreat/international changemaker gathering gives participants ample opportunity to engage with each other, deepen connections, step away to reflect, recharge, and connect with the ocean and outdoors. This comparative abundance of time and opportunity nicely lends to exploring and furthering collaboration with others in the space.

I had the chance to attend Opportunity Collaboration as a Boehm Media Fellow, and through the opportunity had a chance to co-facilitate workshops on topics related to social media and digital distribution and also create podcast episodes live at Opportunity Collaboration. You can find all of the related podcast episodes here.

In this podcast episode, you will hear mini-interviews and soundbytes recorded over various days at Opportunity Collaboration to help get a sense of the event, how to make the most of it, and what has inspired people to return year and again.  Listen in or scroll below to learn about the guests and connect with and support their causes.

Listen to the Episode

Meet the Episode Guests

Learn more about the individuals and organizations featured in this episode.

Guests



Check out this episode!

How to Talk to Impact Investors at Conferences, with Antoine Cocle of Kaya Impacto

How to Talk to Impact Investors at Conferences

There are a few precious venues in which social entrepreneurs and impact investors can effortlessly mingle and connect. Conferences can be one of these special venues. In theory, it seems like the perfect thing to excitedly approach a potential investor with a pitch, deck, and ask. However, in practice, social entrepreneurs are wise to set expectations and adapt their approach to the situation.

In this episode–recorded live at Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico– Antoine Cocle, who founded a capital advisory firm for social entrepreneurs looking to raise capital, shares his insight on how founders can make a good first impression and put their best foot forward.

 

Listen to the Episode

 

Meet Antoine Cocle, CEO and Founder of Kaya Impacto

Antoine is the CEO and founder of Kaya Impacto, where he leads the growth of the company as well as the investment advisory services. Before founding Kaya, Antoine led SVX Mexico’s Venture Services and was the Managing Director and Co-Founder. Previously, Antoine consulted for a Mexican High Net Worth family helping them develop an impact investment thesis and was Director of Entrepreneur Services at Agora Partnerships, where he managed the accelerator and the Capital Advisory Services area. Before dedicating himself to fostering social entrepreneurship, he was working in the financial sector, at AXA and JPMorgan.

Antoine has a Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and a Master in Business Engineering from the Solvay Business School (Belgium).

 

Recorded Live From Opportunity Collaboration

This episode is part of a series recorded at Opportunity Collaboration, a multi-day conference convened to bring together changemakers, funders, media, and academia to dive into sustainable solutions to poverty and furthering the social impact economy and landscape.

You can find the full Opportunity Collaboration series of The Impact Podcast here.

 

 



Check out this episode!

How to Podcast with Peter Aronson at Opportunity Collaboration

How to Podcast, Recorded Live at Opportunity Collaboration

This meta ‘how to podcast’ episode came from a few conversations about the challenges, inertia, and decision paralysis that content creators can face when considering launching a podcast. It was recorded and published live from Opportunity Collaboration 2017 in Ixtapa, Mexico. The episode features a candid conversation with award-winning radio, print, and photo journalist, Peter Aronson. We are are both joining OC this year as part of the Boehm Media Fellows program and we both come to podcasting from unique perspectives.

Tune in to hear our candid conversation on how we podcast, do’s and don’t, the ‘why’ behind our work, and a few of the tools and equipment we have found helpful in producing, publishing, and distributing our podcasts.

Listen to the Episode

Meet Peter Aronson

Peter Aronson is an award-winning journalist with a total of two decades of experience working in radio, print, online journalism and photography. His radio work has been featured on NPR, Marketplace and Voice of America. He has produced two 30-minute radio documentaries and has won national and regional awards for his work.

He has reported from the mountains of Mexico and the Moskva River, from Microsoft headquarters and from call centers in India. He has traveled by canoe into the jungles of Nicaragua to report one story and climbed to a remote hilltop village in Nepal to report another.

Peter speaks six languages, two of them fluently. He’s worked as a producer-editor for MSNBC.com and as a vice president in the corporate world — in India. Now he is focusing his energy on two things: drinking water for Mexicans, he is co-founder of Biluu, and photography. In the past year, my photographs have been exhibited at the Museo Soumaya, the Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro, and in New York City.

You can find Peter’s full bio, awards, and work here.

Resources

Here are a few resources we mentioned in the podcast episode. These are not necessarily recommendations or endorsements, but came up in discussion.

Books

  • Sound and Recording: Applications and Theory

Podcast recording, editing, publishing apps

  • TwistedWave
  • Bossjock

Podcast hosting

  • Libysn
  • Soundcloud

Equipment

  • Blue Yeti Microphone
  • Binaural microphone (for 3D sound)


Check out this episode!

Meet the Reel Impact Film Festival by One World Training

Meet Reel Impact Film Festival

This is a very special episode with soundbites from presenters, finalists, and organizers from the inaugural Reel Impact Film Festival (RIFF) by One World Training.

RIFF brought together a robust community of impact film lovers, filmmakers, and film funders for an evening of screenings, workshops, and conversation.

 

Listen to the Episode

 

Meet One World Training

We first met One World Training when it was named Palo Alto Impact Center.  A name change and many events later, One World Training is becoming a force in the Silicon Valley social impact community through organizing events, facilitating conversations, and bringing together impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and advisors in the space for constructive dialogue and interaction.

Join the Next Reel Impact Film Festival

Happening November 16th, more information and RSVP here

 



Check out this episode!

2016 Net Impact Conference
,

Live from the Net Impact Conference 2016 in Philadelphia

In this episode of the Impact Podcast, Innov8social founder shares her experience at the 2016 Net Impact conference in Philadelphia. Net Impact is deeply rooted in its business school beginnings and it supports individuals to create impact. Net Impact catalyses this through their annual conference, which moves across cities every year.In this podcast you will get to hear 8 little clips from exhibitors, speakers, attendees, that covers two days of this conference.

Listen to the Episode

 

Net Impact 2016 Conference in Philadelphia : Making History

Net Impact is a global community of students and professionals who aspire to be effective drivers of social and environmental change. Their programs are delivered from headquarters, as well as globally through student and professional chapters.

The Net Impact Conference is a premier gathering of students and professionals who are committed to making a lasting social and environmental impact now and throughout their careers; this year the 24th Net Impact Conference happens in Philadelphia, a city where history is made.

Meet Dara Kosberg of The Dinner Party and George Srour of Building Tomorrow

Neetal moderated a session called “Confessions of a Social Entrepreneur”. Neetal met Dara one of the speakers, who focussed on the topic of vulnerability in taking big leaps. Vulnerability is an important factor in a social enterprise whether it is for an individual or an enterprise. Dara is driving a social enterprise called the “The Dinner Party”,  which is a community of 20’s or 30’s who had experienced significant losses in their social enterprises. They all meet for dinner and share their experiences, on what went wrong and how it continues to impact them both positively and negatively. Neetal also met George from “Building Tomorrow”. He spoke about the importance of passion in social enterprise. Building Tomorrow helps communities in underdeveloped areas by building schools for them.

Meet Camille Simm, London Lee, and Jivika Rajani

Neetal spoke with some of the volunteers at the conference and they shared their experiences at the conference. Camille is from McGill university and learnt a lot of tips on how to figure out passion to do something impactful. Neetal also meet with London Lee from UC Berkeley, and she learnt about the challenges and hardships faced by entrepreneurs. She could use all those learnings in her future. Neetal then meets Jivika, who is from India and she goes to the Claremont College. She learnt from various speakers, that the number of awards you win is inversely proportional to the money you make.

Meet Chahat Sharma, Net Impact Conference Director at Penn State University

Neetal met with Chahat Sharma during lunch, and spoke about her experience in social impact space. She is from Penn State, and is involved in the Net Impact chapter. Chahat Sharma felt that going to a business school is all about making money, but all that changed after she listened to Michael Hastings, at one of the conferences. It really changed her perspective about social enterprise, she understood how recruiters are looking for people with a heart for social impact. She is also interested in Women Empowerment, and she feels both of these go hand in hand. She is director of the conference at Penn state. You can learn more about conference by visiting pennstatenetimpact.com.

Meet Maren Keeley, Co-Founder of Conscious Company Magazine

Neetal met with Maren Keeley at the exhibitor’s booth, the co-founder of Conscious Company Magazine. They focus on purpose driven sustainable business. They have managed to create four issues of the magazine in 2015 and six in 2016. But in 2017, they are transforming themselves into a full fledged media company. Maren has undergraduate experience in philosophy and sculpture, and was a chef for 15 years. Megan and Maren has worked hard on the business model, and they are excited to make a contribution in this space. She is very that happy that people are ready to sacrifice things, for job with purpose.

Meet Kevin Bryan, Director of Recruitment at UnCommon Schools

Neetal met with Kevin, who is the Director of Recruitment at the UnCommon Schools. Kevin has a life long passion of increasing opportunities for good education. He sees his work as critical, at the UnCommon Schools in finding teachers who catalyzes lasting change. UnCommon Schools offer both instructional and operations fellowships for candidates looking to explore a variety of leadership opportunities. Both fellowships are paid, full-time positions within Uncommon Schools and include school startup preparation, school visits, and ongoing mentorship. You can learn more at http://www.uncommonschools.org/careers/fellowships

Meet Julia Delafield and Hannah Benson from University for Peace

Neetal meets Julia at the conference, Julia is the Director for Education at the University for Peace. The university was created in 1980 by the United Nations, to focus on making a more peaceful world at a global level. They have master level and doctorate level programs that focuses on peace from different lenses. The united nations have a part, in the university board of directors and they are a part of a long term commitment. You can connect with them at http://www.upeace.org/

Meet Abe Taleb, CEO of ReWork and David M. Chee, Aspiring Social Impact Educator

Neetal meets with Abe at the reception, who is the CEO and co-founder of ReWork. ReWork helps to place talent in the social enterprise sector. They work with social enterprises and non-profits and help them hire top talent. David is an aspiring social impact educator looking for a placement ins the social sector. These type of conferences help people to connect with each other, and David was in fact able to get an offer from a startup at the conference.

Meet Ariella Gastel, VP of Marketing of Greyston Bakery

Neetal met with Ariella Gastel during a concluding session at the conference. Ariella has been working with food industry for more than 25 years. Greyston is very impressed with the fact that Greyston is certified B-corp and they are able to do business with like minded folks. They have a kinship with other B-corps and get inspired by their work, like Ben and Jerry’s. Greyston do supply Ben & Jerry with their brownies. They also had an employee swap and learnt a lot from each other. They also partner with Whole Foods and Delta Airlines.

Wunder Capital

Meet Bryan Birsic, CEO of Wunder Capital, an Investment Platform for Solar Energy Projects

,In this episode of the Impact Podcast, Innov8social founder talks to Bryan Birsic, CEO of Wunder Capital an investment platform for solar energy projects. Wunder Capital develops and manages solar investment funds by leveraging its national partnership network, tested processes, proprietary underwriting framework, and best-in-class online investment portal.

Listen to the Episode

Meet Bryan Birsic

Bryan started his career with Bain & Company, a business consulting firm in New York. At Bain, Bryan and his partner Blythe, created the project Green Team. The team examined every facet of the office–from usage of paper cups to energy consumption. Then they came up with a plan, to function more sustainably. Bryan then moved on to join Village Ventures. A venture capital firm focusing on the consumer media/retail and financial services sectors. Village Ventures has built a platform, which it offers to seed early stage firms, provide for collaboration, co-investment and administrative cost sharing.

Bryan worked there for four years, and got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Bryan wanted to do something which would have a significant impact, so he founded Wunder Capital. It is the third company that Bryan created, he wanted to make use of software revolution like, the amazon web services. At Wunder, they wanted to make it as efficient and cost effective as possible by using technology, to help small businesses to go solar.  Wunder Capital uses crowdfunding to bring in as much capital, as possible into this space.

Wunder Capital

Wunder has evolved the way funding is being sourced and tied to projects. In 2004, it was more like a marketplace where any credit investor or institution can come under the platform. Bryan and team noticed that some of the investors were looking for more data on materials and approach, before investing. Investing in solar is not as intuitive as a real estate and startups. But the investors liked the fact, that it is an impact investment, and they were presented returns portfolio as well.

As things started to evolve, investors were asking for good portfolios to invest. They don’t want to be tied to a specific project. So Bryan and team identified set of portfolios or projects that matches the criterias of the investors. They started to raise funds against the portfolios or bunch of projects, rather than a specific project. Any credit investor/institution can come to wundercapital.com, and they sell notes out of the funds. Wunder capital immediately uses that money and lends it to business. As the businesses pay back, Wunder capital pays back the investors. This model has evolved to be more successful, for Wunder Capital.

Challenges

Bryan’s perpetual frustration comes from the fact, that he is unable to unlock this space to as many investors as possible. They operate under the regulation D portion of the 2012 jobs act, which means only accredited investors can participate in the fund. You can qualify as investor, only if your  income is above 200,000 as an individual or 300,000 as a family. You can also qualify using your assets, if they are worth over a million, excluding your primary residence. So these restrictions are kind of a pain to accept a lot of willing investors. But Bryan and team are working hard to ease out these SEC restrictions.

Show Notes

Website : https://www.wundercapital.com/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/WunderCapital/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/WunderCapital

Blog : Read This if You are Not a Zillionaire: Impact Investing For the Rest of Us