🎙️ Ep 40 - The charity that gave birth to a $300M global impact asset manager
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What I’m reading/listening to
What’s on tap
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🎙 Ep 40 - A charity that gave birth to a $300M global impact asset manager
Investing in emerging markets isn't easy. Investing in emerging markets when you want to make a positive social and environmental impact presents even more challenges. For instance, raising capital is more challenging because you have to overcome both the typical investor belief that positive impact will come at a cost to returns and the tendency to write off unfamiliar markets as far too risky.
Today's guest co-founded an asset management firm that has successfully navigated these challenges on its path to growing its asset base to over $300M USD. Serge LeVert-Chiasson is Managing Director of Impact & COO at Sarona Asset Management; an asset manager investing in private equity & private debt in frontier and emerging markets around the world.
What's especially interesting is that Sarona was born out of a relatively small, but highly respected charitable organization known as MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates); which itself got its start in 1953 as a social enterprise when 7 North American Mennonite business people began running a dairy farm with Ukrainian Mennonite refugees in Paraguay who had escaped the 2nd world war.
During this episode of the podcast, Serge and I discuss Sarona's unique history and how that shapes its culture to this day; the way Sarona invests in and alongside financial intermediaries in emerging & frontier markets; its approach to impact measurement & management as a fund of funds, the role that faith plays in many communities across the globe, examples of the types of direct and indirect investments that Sarona makes, and Serge's involvement in CAFIID (Canada Forum for Impact Investment & Development). And be sure to stay tuned to the very end when Serge shares his thoughts for what is necessary for unlocking more impact investment dollars into emerging and frontier markets.
Resources from the episode:
Sarona Asset Management Website
Sarona's 2020 Impact Report
Canada Forum For Impact Investment & Development (CAFIID) Website
Spring Activator’s Fall Impact Investor Challenge
Join the Finale of Spring Activator's fall 2021 Impact Investor Challenge to witness the pitches of 5 top early-stage impact startups in British Columbia, and see which business will be awarded $100,000 in investment by the graduating impact investor cohort.
Future of Good’s Fragile Future Conversation
📰 What I’m reading/watching
In light of my most recent guest, Michael Lewkowitz from Possibilian Ventures, I’ve been reading a lot more about the world of Web3, Cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organization’s … basically a coop built . If you’ve heard of these terms and are confused by them, you’ll not want to miss this episode of the podcast where I discuss with Michael the opportunities in this realm for impact investors. We cut through the jargon and give some easy-to-understand definitions for each. Below are some of the articles/podcasts I’ve been consuming in preparation for it, along with other great content not related to tech.
The Wonders of Web3, How to Pick the Right Hill to Climb, Finding the Right Amount of Crypto Regulation, Friends with Benefits, and the Untapped Potential of NFTs with Chris Dixon and Naval Ravikant (Ep #542 of The Tim Ferris Podcast)
This is a great overview of Web3 and the world of the Blockchain, Crypto, NFTs, and DAOs.
DAOs, A Cannon (Andreessen Horowitz)
Klima DAO Website - a DAO set up to bring cryptocurrency holders together to buy carbon credits in order to raise their prices thereby accelerating low carbon technologies and carbon-removal projects.
ConstitutionDAO’s bold crypto bid for US Constitution falls short (TechCrunch)
The Body is Not an Economic Apology (Embodied Economics with Denise Hearn)
Denise is an upcoming guest and her Embodied Economics newsletter is my new favourite newsletter! I highly recommend subscribing!
Convergence supported solution reaches financial close as world’s largest blue bond for conservation (Convergence Blended Finance)
On the sidelines of COP26, the Nature Conservancy, Credit Suisse, the Government of Belize, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced the financial close of the $364 million Blue Bond for Ocean Conservation, the world’s largest blue bond for conservation, which will allocate capital towards debt sustainability and marine conservation for Belize.
🎙 Upcoming Podcast Episodes
Graham Singh, Founder & CEO of Trinity Centres Foundation joins us to discuss the fascinating work he’s doing to transform church properties for community impact.
Sarah Burns, Founder & CEO of Nia Crowdfund joins us to discuss the launch of Nia and her efforts to democratize access to impact investments in African businesses.
Natasha Friedus, CEO & Co-Founder of NeedsList joins us to discuss her work building software and solutions for communities displaced by climate change and conflict worldwide.
Denise Hearn, Founder, Advisor, & Author (check out her new blog Embodied Economics) joins us to discuss the problems with ESG and impact investing and more broadly, the market dynamics underpinning Capitalism itself.
Michael Lewkowitz, Co-Founder & General Partner at Possibilian Ventures joins us to discuss investing for systemic change in a world of technological disruption. We talk web3, blockchain, NFTs, DAOs and a lot more!
💁♂️ Help me map out the Canadian impact investing landscape
I am building an infographic that maps out the lay of the land of impact investing in Canada. The infographic is designed to help viewers, in a single glance, get a handle on the major players across the impact investment landscape in Canada.
Keep in mind, this is a work in progress. There are three ways you can help:
Provide any feedback you have on how I’ve defined or organized the categories. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me know if there are any great organizations you know of that I should make sure get added. Send to email@example.com.
If you represent an organization and would like to be included, please complete this form.