StartingUpGood Magazine
3 min readJan 28, 2016


The #1 Reason Your Startup Should Care about Social Impact

Money Pile by Kenny Cole (Source: Flickr)

You’ll position yourself for impact investment as funding opportunities explode.

Experts compare today’s flourishing movement to the 1970s explosion of venture capital that changed the face of entrepreneurship, and helped unleash a wave of innovation. Impact investment, which targets positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return, is growing at an astronomical pace, spanning across sectors from energy to transportation to technology, and driving the world to the brink of revolution in solving society’s toughest problems.

Estimates from JPMorgan and the Rockefeller Foundation predict impact investments will be worth between $400 billion and $1 trillion by 2020, demonstrating a growth rate of up to 69% year-on-year.

The entry of big players like BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, and Morgan Stanley into the sector promises more phenomenal growth.

  • BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager with $4.65 trillion in assets, launched Impact U.S. Equity Fund in October, and since then bringing in more than $500 million from US and European investors.
  • Goldman Sachs acquired Imprint Capital in July, a firm with more than $550 million in assets that specializes in impact investing, to satisfy its growing list of clients demanding social impact.
  • Bain Capital, which oversees more than $75 billion in assets, hired Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, to spearhead its new impact investment fund in April.
  • Morgan Stanley created the Investing with Impact Platform last spring, investing $4 billion into the fund with the goal of $10 billion by 2017.

Individual billionaires like Richard Branson, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Bill Gates are flocking to the movement.

  • Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Records and Virgin Air, launched the Virgin Green Fund to invest in renewable energy; pledged 10 years of Virgin Transportation profits towards reducing CO2 emissions; and offered a $125 million prize to anyone who can safely remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Sergey Brin and Larry Page started to put money into sustainability ventures like Recharge IT, which hopes to accelerate the commercialization of plug-in vehicles, and RE<C, which invests in renewable energy companies striving to underprice coal.
  • Bill Gates poured $20 million into the Unitus Seed Fund, which takes early stakes in for-profit startups that provide health, education, and livelihoods in India.

Generations X and Y will inherit an estimated $41 trillion from the Baby Boomer Generation over the next 40 years, promising even further impact investment expansion. A recent study of 5,000 Millennials across 18 countries showed they ranked “to improve society” as their number one priority in business, according to the World Economic Forum.

Wealthy individuals and family offices account for 17% of total capital raised by fund managers, a practice forecast to be worth more than $12.7 billion, according to the 2014 The Impact Investor Survey, released by JP Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). Some family offices like New Island Capital, a single-family office in San Francisco that invests in $5 — $25 million allotments, now focus exclusively on impact investing.

For information on how to take on social impact and position yourself for impact investment, please visit our site at and ask about our pro bono consulting services.



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