An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers


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.

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2022 PROFILE

Circulate Capital

Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 499M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 14 – Life Below Water
Clean Technology, Alternative Energy & Climate Change
Natural Resources and Conservation
Small/Medium Business Development

Firm Overview

Category: Private Equity - Growth Stage (Emerging Markets)

Circulate Capital is an investment management firm dedicated to financing innovation, companies, and infrastructure that prevent plastic pollution and advance the circular economy. We focus on the prevention of mismanaged plastic waste in emerging markets across South and Southeast Asia and Latin America, regions that contribute disproportionately to ocean plastic primarily because they often lack the investment required to manage the problem. We were created in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy and leading global corporations including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, CHANEL, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company and Chevron Phillips Chemical. We are also supported by a blended finance partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Firm Headquarters: Asia & Oceania
Years of Operation: Less than 3 years
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 499M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

By investing in waste management, recycling systems, and the circular economy in emerging markets like South and Southeast Asia, we can prevent plastic pollution and catalyze capital while delivering impactful financial, environmental, and social returns.

Investment Overview:

There are ~150 million tons of plastic in the ocean and it grows by 11 million tons a year. Research has found that we can reduce the flow by 45% by investing in waste and recycling management in just 5 Asian countries - and even more if we invest in the circular economy. To unlock the billions of dollars needed, Circulate Capital provides catalytic capital to companies/projects that divert waste from the environment/ocean and into the recycling value chain. We adopt a venture capital-like approach and invest US$2 million or more in entities that offer (a) more efficient collection and aggregation, and/or (b) to apply more professional management, within the existing infrastructure, including the informal sector , for plastics. We leverage supply chains and relationships of multinational corporate LPs to source, diligence, and de-risk investment opportunities. 

Company Differentiator:

Circulate Capital is unique in that its founding investors are some of the world’s leading companies. These relationships allow us to source, diligence, and support portfolio companies unlike any other investor in emerging markets:

  • Sourcing: Many of our investments are current or potential suppliers to our corporate investors.
  • Due Diligence: Every investment is reviewed in partnership with our Technical Advisory Committee, composed of global and regional representatives from procurement and R&D from our corporate partners.
  • Portfolio Management: Our investors are actively engaged in supporting the development and improvement of our portfolio companies as they are the customers / end-market for their products. 

We are also one of the largest impact-focused investment funds currently open in South and Southeast Asia. Our strategy is focused on solving a specific problem (ie. Ocean plastic) by investing in financially viable solutions in emerging markets that create broader economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Investment Example

In April 2020, we invested USD 5 million in Lucro Plastecycle, an Indian manufacturing company specializing in recycling difficult-to-manage flexible plastic. Through its industry-leading Plast-E-Cycle process, it buys back and recycles waste from customers into materials for purchase from these companies, creating a circular economy for plastic. Its work supports the livelihoods of local communities by providing reliable income to the informal sector. Thanks to our investment, Lucro is expanding its capacity and scaling its vertical expansion. By 2030, it is expected to prevent 220 700 tonnes of plastic pollution, preventing 301 342 tonnes of CO2-eq emissions.  Moreover, in 2021, Lucro partnered with Dow, one of our founding investors, to develop post-consumer recycled polyethylene (PE) film solutions. This results from our team’s work to help our portfolio companies grow their business models and strategies for the long-term, and connect them with our corporate network.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Impact Investing:
20 – 29 years
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
20 – 29 years
Rob Kaplan – CEO and Founder More Info

Rob is Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital. He established Circulate Capital to deploy catalytic capital in partnership with leading corporations and investors to scale solutions that advance the circular economy and prevent the flow of plastic waste into the ocean in South and Southeast Asia. Rob leads Circulate Capital’s strategy, team, and operations as the firm identifies, incubates, and invests in opportunities diverting waste from the environment into the recycling chain in South and Southeast Asian countries. Circulate Capital’s model relies on supporting the local innovators implementing solutions on the ground, on partnerships with global corporations to leverage their supply chains to drive scale, and on incentivizing a new generation of entrepreneurs to build a fresh pipeline of investable projects.

Regula Schegg – Managing Director More Info

Regula is Circulate Capital’s Managing Director, Asia. She leads the investment strategy, manages the investment team and oversees Circulate Capital Ocean Fund’s investment portfolio in South and Southeast Asia. Together with her team, Regula manages asset allocations as well as due diligence, portfolio management of fund investments. She also provides strategic advisory to the portfolio companies, focusing on strategy, business development, fundraising, key hiring decisions, financial management and governance.

April Crow – Vice President, External Affairs and Investor Relations More Info

As a globally recognized Sustainability leader, April has more than two decades of experience working throughout the value chain in a diverse set of roles in Sustainability, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs and Quality. She helped launch Circulate Capital in 2018 and leads Investor Relations and External Affairs. Previously, she worked as Senior Director, Environment & Sustainability for The Coca-Cola Company providing leadership for the company’s environmental platform.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as people of color:*
50% or more
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
50% or more
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:
Near-market Rates
Actual Performance of Impact Products/Funds Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Conserving land, oceans, ecosystems and natural resources
Creating jobs
Increasing access to financial services
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Addressing gender inequities
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training
Technology training

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

Human rights in the jurisdictions that we invest are often poorly observed and unevenly enforced. By investing in plastic recycling, we interact with the informal sector, of which women and vulnerable communities make up a significant portion. We recognize our responsibility to ensure that they, particular, are accorded the dignity and rights articulated in international and domestic law in connection with any investment that we enter into. With each investment, our social objectives include:

  1. Promoting fair treatment, non-discrimination, and equal opportunity of workers
  2. Establishing, maintaining, and improving worker-management relationships
  3. Encouraging compliance with employment and labour laws
  4. Protecting workers, including vulnerable categories within both the investee company and their supply chains
  5. Promoting safe and healthy working conditions
  6. Avoiding the use of forced labour
  7. Anticipating and avoiding adverse impacts on the health and safety of the community in the vicinity of an investment

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

As an investment management firm dedicated to preventing the flow of plastic waste into the world's ocean, the preservation of the environment and promoting sustainable development are at the core of our founding ethos. CCOF achieves positive social and environmental sustainability impact through:

  1. Reducing the amount of plastic entering the environment and the ocean
  2. Creating economic value and avoiding economic waste for local communities
  3. Creating and formalizing local jobs
  4. Increasing the supply of affordable recycled materials and recycled content percentage in consumer goods
  5. Preserving natural resources. Each of these potential impacts form an element of our due diligence process as well as our monitoring and evaluation of the investment portfolio.

Our portfolio should be aligned with these goals and integrate them into their intrafirm practices. 

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Impact Verified by an Independent Third-Party:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
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: Robert Kaplan
Phone: 502-410-8563
Mailing Address:

6 Temasek Boulevard, #09-05 Suntec Tower Four, Singapore 38986

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