Impact investing is not just growing, it is evolving. At the same time, the definition of the practice is being shaped and molded by new products and practices, creating tension among some players about what it is and what it should be.
For this article, I reached out to about 50 thought leaders and practitioners in the space, asking for insights about new, less-well-documented trends in impact investing. After receiving dozens of suggestions, I asked the same group to evaluate whether those observations (without attribution to their respective authors) were a) in fact new trends, b) individual experiences that shouldn’t yet be considered trends or c) established, well-documented trends.
What follows are eleven distinct trends observed and confirmed by the panel to be new 2019 trends in impact investing. While I could have combined some of these overlapping or related ideas, I concluded that each item brings its own nuance and should be kept on the list.
Cecile Blilious, founder and managing partner at Impact First Investments in Tel Aviv, commented on the list of candidate ideas. “It seems that many of the trends listed are US-biased. It’s possible that the world is not following as fast so there should probably be a distinction between impact investing in the US market (which is in growth stages) and the rest of the world (which is beginning).” With that word of warning, I invite you to consider the following trends.
More attention on gender lens, gender-focused investing – it’s smart investing.
Matthew Davis, CEO of Renew LLC, explains “In Africa, where we invest, the development community has been playing a role – raising awareness, disseminating analysis, etc. about the benefits of backing women-led and owned companies. And the investment community is responding. A recent women-led investment package we put out to our angel network was oversubscribed.