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

Employment Technology Fund
@ JFFLabs

Total Assets Under Management: Less than $25M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth
Education
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Firm Overview

Category: Private Equity - Early Stage (US)

Employment Technology Fund (ETF@JFFLabs) is the first and only fund focused on early-stage technology solutions that help underserved workers advance economically from low-wage or low- to middle-skilled roles. Meeting the gap in innovation and investment for disadvantaged workers, we partner with diverse entrepreneurs and catalyze diverse sources of capital to address the leading workforce and racial equity challenges. In 2019, we joined national nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF), becoming the impact investment arm of a leading voice in workforce development.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 3 – 4 years
Total Assets Under Management:
Less than $25M
Total Number of Investors: Between 5 – 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

ETF@JFFLabs partners with diverse entrepreneurs building early-stage technology solutions that help adults with low to middle skills find, secure, and prepare for jobs that lead to economic advancement.

Investment Overview:

ETF@JFFLabs partners with diverse entrepreneurs building early-stage technology solutions that help adults with low to middle skills find, secure, and prepare for jobs that lead to economic advancement. We seek to meet a significant gap in innovation and investment by: 1) focusing exclusively on technologies that benefit underserved workers in low-wage and low- to middle-skilled roles, 2) supporting female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color, known to be underfunded by the venture capital yet with disproportionate insight into the needs of the underserved workers we support who are majority women, minority and immigrants, 3) investing at the pre-seed and seed stages where our capital and value addition as investors are particularly impactful and 4) catalyzing diverse sources of capital to benefit workers. We consider workers' needs holistically and invest across four key areas: Learning & Training, Assessment & Matching, Job Search & Placement and Wraparound Services. 

Company Differentiator:

ETF@JFFLabs is the first and only fund focused on early-stage technology solutions that help underserved workers advance economically. The fund’s experience and expertise in both workforce technology and impact for individuals with low income is unique and allows ETF@JFFLabs differentiated insight into both the financial viability of workforce technologies and the probability of those technologies to meaningfully impact underserved workers. ETF’s partnership with JFF offers unique advantages across sourcing, diligence and portfolio management. JFF offers ETF@JFFLabs broad reach given its nearly 40-year history as a leading voice in workforce development. ETF@JFFLabs gains unparalleled insight into and influence on the trends, needs and challenges across the full ecosystem of JFF’s work, deepening the fund’s diligence and portfolio addition.  As a nonprofit, evergreen fund, ETF@JFFLabs is uniquely positioned to catalyze the highest impact innovations while recycling capital for sustained impact and building the broader funding ecosystem for technologies helping underserved workers.

Investment Example

Millions of workers do not have the foundational skills or digital access needed to advance economically, including one in five US workers who cannot read and one in four US adults with a high school degree or less who do not have a smartphone. Cell-Ed seeks to meet this challenge by providing working adults with training for foundational skills such as literacy, language and job readiness through micro-trainings accessible through any mobile device, including basic cellphones.  Employment Technology Fund became Cell-Ed’s first institutional investor in 2017, supporting founder and CEO Jessica Aalami-Rothenberg through the earliest stages of growth and helping the team grow revenue by over 30x since ETF’s investment and raise multiple rounds of capital. With ETF’s support, Cell-Ed has expanded to the fields of international development and health training, including the launch of a free COVID-19 training offering CDC-supported information to frontline workers in both English and Spanish.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Yigal Kerszenbaum – Founder and Managing Director More Info

Yigal Kerszenbaum is JFF’s managing director for innovative finance, a role in which he will oversee the organization’s investment strategy. He was the founder and managing director of the Employment Technology Fund (ETF), which is now ETF@JFFLabs. An expert in impact investing, Yigal’s goal in managing ETF@JFFLabs is to support entrepreneurs who develop technology solutions to train and upskill low-income and lower-skill adults and connect people from underserved communities with employment opportunities. Yigal has executed more than $120 million worth of transactions in impact investments in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Ana Maria Aristizabal – Senior Advisor More Info

Ana Maria is a Senior Advisor to ETF@JFFLabs. She is an experienced operator, investor and board member of impact organizations with over 18 years of experience. She also teaches a highly rated course on impact investing at Columbia University. Before joining JFF, Ana Maria spent four years at KIPP Public Schools, where she was responsible for KIPP’s expansion and market entry strategy in California. Previously, she worked as a Principal at Bamboo Capital Partners - a pioneering impact investing fund - and served on the board of six companies across the Americas. Ana Maria started her career as an investment banker at Citigroup and ABN AMRO structuring financial solutions for government and infrastructure companies. She has BS in Finance, a master's in public administration from Columbia University and a master's in education leadership from the Broad Residency.

Kristina Francis – Executive Director, JFFLabs More Info

Kristina Francis is the executive director of JFFLabs. In this role, she oversees advisory, acceleration, data, and investing initiatives that connect traditional systems with systems disruptors to enable equitable economic mobility. Kristina has more than 20 years of experience in corporate operations and entrepreneurial ventures focused on management consulting, business development, software and data integration, and impact investing competencies.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person 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 a person of color:*
50% or more
*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:
Concessionary Rates
Actual Performance 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:
Alleviating poverty
Creating jobs
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Addressing Racial Inequality
Addressing Gender Inequality
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Increasing access to financial services
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training
Education services

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

Employment Technology Fund exclusively invests in technology solutions in which the core product or service helps underserved workers advance economically. ETF@JFFLabs is an impact-led fund, and impact is prioritized across all aspects of the investment process. In sourcing, ETF’s differentiated insight into workforce needs through JFF’s expertise, experience and network in community colleges, workforce development agencies and governments at the local, state and federal levels, allows the fund to target innovations with the highest likelihood to generate positive impact on workers. In diligence, the investment team specifies and analyzes the theory of change supporting how a company’s product or service will yield economic advancement for underserved workers, with a strong equity lens, and the fund’s portfolio management processes ensure such impact is measured and advanced.

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

ETF@JFFLabs prioritizes founder diversity in investment decision making. Over 60% of ETF’s debt and equity investments to date have been in companies with a founder or CEO who is a woman or person of color. The diversity of ETF’s portfolio reflects the strong belief and experience that entrepreneurs with lived experience in the workforce challenges ETF@JFFLabs seeks to address – which disproportionately affect women, minorities and immigrants – are the best suited to effectively tackle those challenges.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
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: Yigal Kerszenbaum
Phone: 949-285-8624
Mailing Address:

50 Milk Street, 17th Floor, Boston, MA 02110, USA

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