IMPACTASSETS 50™

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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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

IA 50 2022 PROFILE

Better Ventures

Total Assets Under Management: $50 – 99M
Asset Class: Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 13 – Climate Action
Clean Technology, Alternative Energy & Climate Change
Global Health

Firm Overview

Category: Private Equity - Early Stage (US)

Better Ventures is the amplifier of essential science and technology startups. We back founders on a mission to build a better world. Each company we invest in addresses at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We’ve been investing in mission-driven companies since 2011 and as a Certified B Corp, we believe that purpose is a force multiplier of profit – just like our portfolio companies do.  We typically invest $500k-$1M at the pre-seed/seed stage, get actively involved with our founders to help them build successful companies, and provide larger follow-on investments in subsequent rounds.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$50 – 99M
Total Number of Investors: Less than 5
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 25% – 49%
Investment Thesis:

We invest in mission-driven founders leveraging scientific breakthroughs and emerging technologies to decarbonize the economy, improve human health, and build a more equitable society. 

Investment Overview:

We invest early and typically write checks of $500k-$1M in pre-seed/seed stage startups with strong technical teams working on innovative solutions that can generate big impact in large markets. We take a hands-on approach with our portfolio companies, helping them achieve key milestones for the next round of financing, attract high-quality follow-on investors, and leverage their mission as a competitive advantage.  We are actively sourcing investment opportunities in the following themes:

  • Decarbonizing the Economy: Re-tooling industry in ways that will significantly reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Data-Driven Health: Leveraging data to tackle disease and improve health outcomes.
  • Adaptive Workforce: Closing the opportunity gap and enabling workers to thrive.

Like others, we look for strong teams, big market opportunities, and proprietary innovation. But we place outsized importance on purpose. With it, we believe the likelihood of building a world-changing company increases exponentially. 

Company Differentiator:

We’ve been investing in mission-driven companies since 2011 and are one of the few VC firms that is a Certified B Corp. As a result, we attract like-minded founders who choose to partner with us because we understand them, and because we are aligned with the impact they want to see in the world. Our track record and longevity give founders the confidence that we are a trusted partner, in it for the long-term, and someone that will help amplify their success.  The entrepreneurs we invest in are working in the essential sciences — where deep tech and science is applied to the most urgent and important issues of our time. Our combination of focus on mission, and on essential science and technology, is unique and enables us to see opportunities at the forefront of emerging fields in climate tech, healthcare, and the labor market. 

Investment Example

BookNook is an online collaborative learning platform that provides literacy Intervention through guided reading lessons, gamification, and assessments. A comprehensive turnkey solution that brings much-needed online support and tutoring for students, BookNook has quickly grown to partner with hundreds of schools, school districts, and nonprofits across 35 states, receiving national recognition for its impact on students' reading ability and unique equity-based pricing model. We originally invested $275K in their seed round in 2017 and have since invested in two follow-on rounds, bringing our total investment to $1.4M. BookNook is now valued at $344M and continues to be on a significant growth trajectory. 

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Impact Investing:
20 – 29 years
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Wes Selke – Managing Director More Info

Wes enjoys rolling up his sleeves to help mission-driven entrepreneurs realize their vision for building high-growth world-changing companies. Wes has over 20 years of venture capital and investment experience with Better Ventures, Good Capital, William Blair, and Ernst & Young's Mergers & Acquisitions group. He earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a BBA from the University of Michigan. Wes has volunteered with organizations around the globe, which has fueled his passion for applying his business skills to build a better world. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and three young kids and enjoys cycling, Michigan football, and hazy IPAs (the best Saturdays involve all three).

Rick Moss – Managing Director More Info

Rick thrives on helping startups succeed. He can often be found at the whiteboard working through business models, organization building, customer engagement metrics or product road maps. He has over a decade of technology and entrepreneurship experience at The Modem Shop (which he founded) and Kleiner Perkins-backed WineShopper.com (acquired by Wine.com) and corporate venture capital experience with Oracle and Sun Microsystems. He holds a BA from Trinity College and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College. Rick believes passionately that technology should be used to address the world's most important problems, not make more cat memes. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and two kids, is an avid cyclist and a craft beer enthusiast.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as people of color:*
Less than 25%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as people of color:*
Less than 25%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Above Market Rates
Actual Performance of Impact Products/Funds Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
Over-delivered compared to 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
Creating jobs
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Conserving land, oceans, ecosystems and natural resources
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to financial services
Increasing access to water and sanitation
Addressing racial inequities
Addressing gender inequities
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Racial bias training or bias training

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

We have three criteria when it comes to impact:

  • The company must be focused on a fundamental building block of society such as environmental sustainability, health, education, or work
  • The impact must be direct and intrinsic to the business model so that as revenue increases, the impact increases as well
  • The founding team must have intentionality around pursuing impact through the business.

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

We do look at intra-firm practices as a secondary set of impact considerations, particularly the make-up of the founding team with an emphasis on women- and minority-led companies. 

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Impact Verified by an Independent Third-Party:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to investors and donors
Third Party Validations:
Member of Impact Capital Managers
Impact Frontiers Cohort Participant
Implement recommendations from Task Force on Climate Related-Financial Disclosure
Net Zero Assets Managers Initiative
Utilizes standardized impact metrics (e.g. IRIS+, GIIRS, etc.)
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: Wes Selke
Phone: 510-725-9255
Mailing Address:

470 25th St, Oakland, CA 94612 USA

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