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 2024 PROFILE

JFF Ventures
(fka ETF@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

Firm Overview

Category: Venture Capital - Early Stage (Pre-seed/seed, Accelerator, Angel) - Developed Markets

JFFVentures (JFFV) is building a future where innovative products and solutions give everyone increased and equitable access to learning, employment, and economic advancement opportunities. JFFVentures is strategically aligned to the national nonprofit, Jobs for the Future (JFF). JFFVentures is the only fund in the market that has specialized focus on workforce solutions supporting the needs of underserved and underrepresented learners and workers. Through its activities, JFFVentures is providing early-stage capital to founders with lived-experience who are closer to the problems they are seeking to solve; increasing access to quality and affordable learning and skilling solutions, access to career navigation and job placement; access to benefits and supports specifically designed for low-wage workers and ultimately increasing access to quality jobs and economic mobility. 

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 5 – 9 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:

JFFVentures’ mission is to invest in underrepresented founders with lived experience who are building technology companies that enable the economic mobility of low-wage workers. 

Investment Overview:

JFFV is dedicated to supporting economic advancement opportunities for individuals from low-income backgrounds. Given longstanding inequities, the unprecedented impact of recent economic shocks and technological advancements in AI and Automation, the JFFV team believes that there is an urgent and significant need for a specialized impact-driven fund that specifically uplifts individuals on their path to quality jobs and economic mobility. JFFV makes direct investments into early-stage technology companies led by founders with lived experiences that are supporting and scaling solutions for the millions of learners and workers seeking opportunities for economic mobility. We consider workers' needs holistically and invest across four key areas: Learning and Training / Education Technology; Workforce Technology; HR Technology; and Wraparound Support. Our areas of focus have evolved slightly from Fun I to include a specific focus on employer needs in addition to the needs of workers and learners. 

Company Differentiator:

JFFVentures differentiates itself from peers by being strategically aligned with the nationally recognized workforce development organization, JFF. Within this partnership, we can access increased and unique deal flow; strategic connections (70% of portfolio companies have benefitted directly through strategic introductions made by JFF/JFFLabs); thought leadership and expertise; and access to funders in the ecosystem. To further support our portfolio companies, we have launched the Corporate Innovation Council in collaboration with JFF. The Council is a cohort of 15 corporate leaders from HR, L&D, and corporate social responsibility divisions of Fortune 1000 companies, serving to provide feedback and mentorship. Concurrently, our diverse team is committed to investing in founders with lived experience, who are inherently equipped to navigate the challenges within workforce and education. 

Investment Example

Electric vehicle (EV) chargers play a pivotal role in EV adoption. However, reliability issues plague these chargers, with recent studies indicating that 25% of them are non-operational at any time due to non-electrical problems. This results in an average downtime of 15 days, affecting both revenue prospects for charging stations and the public's perception of EVs. Addressing this challenge is ChargerHelp!, founded in January 2020. They provide maintenance support for EV chargers in partnership with multiple manufacturers and network providers. Their suite of services, from preventative maintenance to remote monitoring, ensures charger functionality. Notably, ChargerHelp! has forged connections with companies like Walmart, focusing on workforce training, through the JFF network. Beyond technical support, ChargerHelp! is dedicated to social impact. They're training local technicians, especially from underrepresented backgrounds, creating avenues into the burgeoning green energy sector—a move toward diversifying a predominantly white workforce in the U.S. and fostering equitable access. 

Leadership and Team

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

Sabari Raja – Managing Partner More Info

Sabari Raja is a managing partner at JFF Ventures. She plays a key role in shaping the JFF Ventures fund’s strategy, honing JFF’s investment thesis, leading investments, and supporting the growth of the organization’s portfolio. Sabari is an experienced business operator, board member, and advisor with more than 20 years of experience leading product and go-to-market strategies, business development, strategic partnerships, and emerging market growth.

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:*
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 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

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Increasing access to workforce development services, job skilling and retraining
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to financial services
Addressing racial inequities
Addressing gender inequities
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training
Technology training
Education services

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

JFFVentures exclusively invests in technology solutions in which the core product or service helps underserved workers advance economically. JFFVentures is an impact-led fund, and impact is prioritized across all aspects of the investment process. In sourcing, JFFV’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:

JFF Ventures prioritizes founder diversity in investment decision making. 84% of JFFV’s debt and equity investments to date have been in companies with a founder or CEO who is a woman or person of color. This figure includes the 64% of our investments that are in companies with a founder or CEO of color and 48% with a female founder or CEO. The diversity of JFFV’s portfolio reflects the strong belief and experience that entrepreneurs with lived experience in the workforce challenges JFF Ventures 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:
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: Yigal Kerszenbaum
Phone: 949-285-8624
Mailing Address:

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

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