There’s no shortage of people sharing their thoughts on why impact investing is the way forward. But in a world of noise, it can be helpful to go directly to the source.
That’s why we’ve curated a global list of the ‘impact influencers’ you should know. These people are leading the charge in the world of impact investing and tech for good.
We round up who they are, why you need to know them, and where you can follow their work.
Sarah Gordon is the CEO of the Impact Investing Institute (III). The III was set-up in 2019 in London with the mission to accelerate the growth and effectiveness of the impact investing market. Sarah previously spent 18 years at the Financial Times and before that worked in fund management in the UK and US.
Sir Ronald Cohen is said to be the father of British Venture Capital and the father of social investment. He has pioneered the ‘impact revolution’ for two decades catalyzing numerous global initiatives. He recently published the book – Impact: Reshaping Capitalism to Drive Real Change which has already become a bestseller. BGV also recently interviewed Ronnie – watch here.
Larry Fink is the chairman and CEO of BlackRock – the largest asset manager in the world. Larry is famously outspoken about the threats social and environmental issues pose. This was captured in a widely circulated letter he wrote in 2018 stating that ‘Ultimately, purpose is the engine of long-term profitability.’
The Kleissners helped launch the impact investing community Toniic in 2010. Having profited significantly in 1999 from their roles in Silicon Valley, they pioneered the impact sector with their own money to prove the viability of this type of investing. 99.5% of their foundation’s portfolio are now in impact investments. If you want to read more about their story, there’s a great forbes article on the couple.
Morgan Simon was also a co-founder of Toniic, serving as CEO, uniting 200 investors and $4.5 billion devoted to social and environmental companies. With two decades in finance, Morgan has reportedly influenced over $150B through the lens of finance as a tool for social justice. She has also written Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change.
Hiro Mizuno is the former Executive Managing Director and CIO of the Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan (GPIF) – the largest pool of retirement savings in the world. During his time there, Hiro pioneered ESG principles to the point that the GPIF would not award new mandates to managers without ESG credentials. Hiro now serves on the board for Tesla. Listen to a recent podcast where Hiro talks about impact.
Paula Goldman served in multiple different roles at Omidyar Network – a social impact investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. While she was there she advised 140 high-net-worth families with a $460B+ collective net worth. Paula has since become Salesforce’s first-ever Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer, passionate about ‘making tech and markets a force for good.’
Niklas Adalberth was one of the co-founders of unicorn tech startup Klarna, which enabled him to found Sweden-based Norrsken Foundation in 2016. Norrsken’s mission is to help entrepreneurs solve the world’s greatest challenges. Niklas contributed $82 million to the foundation which recently launched a €100m fund – making it Europe’s biggest impact fund for tech for good startups.
Cliff Prior is the CEO of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG). The GSG covers 33 countries, bringing together impact leaders from the worlds of finance, business, government and philanthropy. Previously Cliff headed up leading UK social impact organisations Big Society Capital and Unltd.
Bosun Tijani is co-founder and CEO of CcHUB – Africa’s leading innovation centre focusing on tech for good. Growth Capital by CcHUB is also Nigeria’s first social innovation fund helping early-stage founders scale their solutions for social change. With a recent acquisition of iHub, Bosun is focused on planting a flag for African tech in San Francisco. Read more on TechCrunch.
Gillian Tett has worked at the Financial Times for 25 years and is currently Chair of the Editorial Board and Editor-at-Large, US. In 2019 Gillian launched Moral Money – the FT’s platform covering the ‘fast-expanding world’ of socially responsible business, sustainable finance and impact investing. Hear more about what led her to founding Moral Money here, where she says it’s ‘the most successful newsletter they’ve ever launched.’
Being a B Corp is really important to us at Bethnal Green Ventures. Our mission is to invest in and support startups that use technology to solve important social and environmental problems. The B Corp process holds us accountable and means we maintain high standards for our actions towards all our stakeholders.
As a tech for good VC, we often get asked, 'How do you know the impact of your companies is real?' It's a more complex question than may seem at first. The nature of early-stage businesses means there’s still a great deal of uncertainty. So how do we know that our investors' capital generates real change?
At BGV, we want to ensure founders from all walks of life feel included in our community and have access to equal opportunities. For the third year in a row, we're sharing the results of our portfolio D&I data and our commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in our work.