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Invest for Impact

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Expanding the Social Impact Marketplace

A growing number of investors are adding a social impact dimension to their investment strategies.  These investors consciously seek to invest in companies that share their values to address societal and environmental issues. They are seeking investment opportunities that may provide a healthy financial return and help build a sustainable society.

But as impact investing scales, and a growing number of investors enter the space, it is also changing the face of capital markets.  Metrics, infrastructure, and appropriate financial products don’t fit neatly within existing public market structures, and this is driving the need for marketplaces focused on social investments.

Forbes recently highlighted the leading social impact marketplaces, and recognized Mission Markets role as one of the leaders in building impact investing infrastructure.  Mission Markets is proud to be recognized as an early leader in providing access to social impact investments. We offer an electronic marketplace aligned with the financial infrastructure and broker expertise required to complete transactions.  

The new infusion of private capital is enabling organizations to address social challenges that once seemed insurmountable.  In doing so, it’s unleashing the creativity and technology of today’s generation to bring focus and innovation to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. We look forward to enhancing our marketplace to broaden the reach of impact investing.


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Scaling Sustainable Investments

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 8.21.02 PMI had the pleasure of attending the 2013 TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investment) conference on June 17th in New York City.  Day one of the two day conference highlighted what became a recurrent theme: financially viable sustainability projects and companies are available for investment. What is missing are the appropriate financial products for the end buyer to actually make an investment at a scale that will shift the status quo and accelerate the transition to sustainable systems.

The Opening Keynote by Paul Rose, Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society, was effective in making clear that the continued deterioration of our environmental ecosystems is accelerating to potentially catastrophic levels. The need has never been greater to solve the critical element of deploying capital to sustainable and socially conscious enterprises. He did this in excellent fashion through wit and humor, which made his slide shows of global environmental collapse from his many explorations ever more alarming.

Paul followed his presentation by moderating a roundtable assembled to address the following questions, “Do Sandy and Katrina make a lasting impression regarding ESG and Impact Investing in the USA?” and, “What sustainable new initiatives or policy changes are to occur in the (American) financial industry?”  Included on the panel were Mel Aaronson, president of National Conference on Public Employee Retirement System (NCPERS) and treasurer of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT); Carter Bales, Chairman at NewWorld Capital Group, LLC; Peter Malik, Managing Director, Corporate Engagement & Innovative Finance at The Nature Conservancy; and Hilary McMahon, Director of Research, Carbon War Room.

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What We’re Reading – A Roundup of the Latest Impact Investing News

Impact Investment News

G8 Leaders Embrace Impact Investing With New Funds – Businessweek

Can Impact Investing Move From Niche To Mainstream? – FA Mag

Investors Want to Package Efficiency Securities Like Mortgages – Greentech Media

What Makes Solar Energy a Good Investment? – TriplePundit

Over $2 Billion in Green Bonds, A Good Start – Sustainable Business

 Sustainability News

European demand for voluntary offsets surges in private sector – GreenBiz

Sustainability Needs to Find Its ‘Reality Distortion Field’ – Bloomberg

Sustainability: An Investment Perspective – CFA Institute

Crowdfunding News

Universities explore crowdfunding, social media to raise money – USA Today

Small Businesses the Next Big Borrower in Peer to Peer Lending – P2P Lending News

New Tool Lets Intermediaries Become P2B Lenders – Bridging Distributor

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Sustainable Capital and Securities Crowd Funding

This post is part of a series called “Mission Markets Musings” where team members share their thoughts on the latest developments within the impact and sustainability sectors. 

There already has been much debate, conversation and rhetoric around the topic of securities and what most people are calling “Equity Crowd funding”.

The prospect of investors, regardless of their accreditation status, having the ability to invest in private placement offerings and supporting exciting impact investment opportunities is likely to have a positive influence on the capital injection process for sustainable businesses.

In my opinion, Securities Crowd Funding is best suited towards direct investments in support of local businesses that can improve the health of local communities and economies.  I am referring to businesses such as retail outlets, restaurants, local food systems and renewable energy developers. I think that local direct investment and lending by community members can serve as a new form of a “Community Banker.”

These types of investments can offer:

  • Opportunity for revenue sharing arrangements
  • Cash flow and fixed income returns,
  • In some cases potential for equity returns.

They also offer the benefit of having a direct stake in the growth of your local economy as a local investor. This can possibly connect hundreds of local investors with local businesses and substantially increase their chances of success. In turn these local investors become advocates of their local businesses and can see their investment put to work, creating a positive feedback loop.

When the SEC does approve Securities Crowd Funding, it has the potential to spark local economic activity and become an integral tool for creating deep and lasting connections within local economies and their stakeholders.

mvpMichael Van Patten

Founder & President, Mission Markets

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Mission Markets Raises $1.5 Million in Series A2 Financing Round

Today Mission Markets completed a $1.5 million funding round that gives us a chance to demonstrate the strength of our platform.  We are more excited about the quality of investors. Our new investors include: Jim Sorenson, who is a committed leader in impact investing; Sarah Johnson Redlich, who has produced numerous documentaries on environmental and social justice issues; Bob Caruso, who heads an Impact Foundation focusing upon women and children; and Jarrett Lilien, former President of E*TRADE Financial who seeks disruptive technologies in financial services.  The leadership and investments of these individuals are gratifying and a vote of confidence in the future of Mission Markets.

Following is the press release that went out this morning:

Ken Marienau
CEO, Mission Markets

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Sustainable Mariculture with Roberts and Rose Mariculture Corp.

rose4Mission Markets is proud to have Roberts and Rose Mariculture Corp. as a qualified issuer member.  We sat down to ask Tom Roberts and Robert Rose a few questions about the mariculture industry and markets and how sustainable farming of sea cucumbers can help restore fragile ecosystems. To learn more, please register at

Q)    What is Mariculture? What inspired you to enter this market and what are some of your past accomplishments?

A) Mariculture (mari =sea in Latin) is the science or art of sea farming of plants and animals. The word is used interchangeably with aquaculture, which includes both marine and sea farming or cultivation.

Inspiration was an evolution over time for both Thomas Roberts and Robert Rose, from sport/recreational diving youths to either a commercial marine archeologist/pearl farmer/business entrepreneur (T Roberts) or a qualified marine biologist/commercial aquaculturist (R Rose, PhD). Independently, Tom through observations and working underwater on pearl farms and Bob’s research/aquaculture on the reproductive ecology/life cycles of pearl oysters and sea cucumbers discovered both species share the same marine habitat and thrive together in open-sea, polyculture systems.

Fourteen years ago both gentlemen met in northern Palawan Province, Philippines to establish a pearl farm. While conducting a survey, they realized that Busuanga Island and surrounding archipelago were teeming with sea cucumber species of which most were commercially lucrative and easy to propagate using pearl oyster-abalone hatchery/nursery techniques. Most importantly, the grow-out techniques developed in Indonesia and Australia by Bob and by two colleagues on the management team (Jeff Abel and Beni Giraspy), were ideally suited for the area.

Both proponents were aware through colleagues from the seafood industry and scientific literature that an ever-increasing global demand for sea cucumber was due to a rapidly growing human population in combination with a plethora of collapsing regional fisheries. Readily available buyers in close proximity to major markets across the South China Sea, made the practicality of entering market with aquacultured produce cost-effective; hence, Roberts and Rose partnership commenced.

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SOCAP12 Reconnects Impact Investing Leaders and Highlights New Social Entrepreneurs in SF

Last week our very own Jeff Tuller and Eleanor Horowitz traveled to the West Coast and joined over 1600 attendees for SOCAP12 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. This was the fifth annual weeklong conference hosted by Social Capital Markets (and Jeff’s fifth time in attendance) and this year’s theme was Making Meaning Matter.

For those who have yet to experience it, SOCAP is a conference dedicated to increasing the flow of capital to social good and convenes social entrepreneurs, impact investors, intermediaries, students, government officials and more.

“We are here because we are about investing in a new way that supports businesses doing business in a new way; a way that creates positive good, measurable good, and impact, while it makes a profit,” wrote convener Kevin Jones.

At SOCAP, we caught up with friends and business partners and were energized to meet so many entrepreneurs new to SOCAP12 like Julia Sevilla, the founder of Kape Maria, a coffee company supporting local farmers and communities in the Philippines, Debbie Sterling, the founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company that sets out to inspire girls to become engineers, and Tonee Ndungu from Kenya who founded Kytabu, a textbook subscription app for tablets providing access to low-cost schoolbooks for low and middle income families.

A few of our favorite highlights:

Majora Carter speaking at Wednesday’s opening plenary at SOCAP12

  • Mission Markets was an active part of the conversation on Jed Emerson’s panel on impact investing platforms. What really defines a platform anyways?
  • Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced the launch of the Markets for Good initiative in partnership with LiquidNet, which will be tasked with improving data collection for impact investing. It is great to see some heavy hitters reinvigorating the conversation around impact measurement.
  • Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx spoke at Wednesday’s morning plenary about the importance of building and investing in sustainable local communities
  • Jenny Kassan of Cutting Edge Capital and Amy Pearl of Change XChange led a panel on Direct Public Offerings, something Mission Markets will be partnering with Jenny and Amy to offer. At last year’s SOCAP, the JOBS act and crowdfunding were all the buzz, but sometimes people forget that DPOs also enable the democratization of impact investing
  • Impact Assets launched the IA50, a resource of 50 investment opportunities that value both financial and environmental returns and includes Iroquois Valley Farms and Brazil’s first impact investing fund Vox Capital
  • And of course we loved the view…