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By Alexandra LaForge, Investors' Circle
The flyers were wrong. In two hours, Woody was due to speak at Bioneers, and he was across the Bay with the wrong flyers. Karyn took his frantic call, Kelsi found the right Kinko’s order, Molly wrote out public transit directions, and I was off. As I jumped on the next BART (my first BART experience, in fact), Michael sent me updates on Woody’s whereabouts. He had his notes together. He’d picked up the rental car. He needed those flyers. I bounded off the train in Berkeley and scanned the street for the picture I’d seen on the back of the Slow Money book. I found Woody parked in front, waiting to retrieve the correct flyers and offer a quick thanks before heading off to spread the word about impact investing.
This was my first day at Investors’ Circle.
Looking back, I think that day gave me a pretty good idea of what I was in for. I’d never seen a group of people move to action so quickly, and I learned right then that at our organization, it’s all hands on deck. I also realized that Investors’ Circle is every bit as entrepreneurial as the impact enterprises we support. We problem solve, we iterate, we come up with new ideas and we get the right flyers where they’re supposed to go. But perhaps the best lesson I learned that day is that what we do is important. My flyer delivery was a mundane, annoying task, but the purpose was powerful.
Impact investing has a critical role to play in building a more just and sustainable economy, and each small thing we do helps us continue to build the marketplace for impact. Now as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, over $150MM invested, and more than 250 companies funded, our accomplishments are thanks to our team of members, funders, staff, and supporters who have come together to find new ways to solve the world’s biggest problems.
There are still some times when the flyers are wrong, or some other challenge presents itself. But we continue to move forward and look towards the next 20 years with excitement and enthusiasm. What’s to come? Brought to you by the rest of the IC team, here are five things we’re particularly excited about:
Our companies! “I’m excited about the amazing companies that are coming to the Fall conference! We’ve had a great time reviewing and selecting the businesses that will pitch and attend the showcase, and we’re excited to share them with our members. Attendees will get to see 50+ companies, and I’m looking forward to moving even more capital into our high impact enterprises!” – Rachele Haber-Thomson, Impact Investment Fellow
Impact Anniversaries! “It's not just Investors' Circle's 20th anniversary -- there are over a dozen impact-oriented organizations celebrating a combined 200+ years of impact this year! I'm excited about connecting with and celebrating these kindred organizations at our Anniversary Celebration, October 24th in NYC. Join us for this special party!” – Sally Steele, Director of Events & Marketing
Sector growth! “I’m excited about the idea of sector-specific Venture Fairs. We will be launching an innovative, sector-focused partnership this fall (stay tuned!) that provides a great model to roll out to all of our sectors. IC events are a terrific way to see companies in several different tracks, but I can see us expanding our business model to include industry-specific events as yet another value to our members.” – Jill Newbold, Director of Business Development
New faces! “In a recent conversation, a long-term member commented on how many new faces he saw at the Spring Venture Fair. That simple observation captures my excitement for IC's critical and growing role as the welcoming entry point for engaged newcomers to our space. To take impact investing to the next level we must reach into the mainstream, and those new faces are indications that we're doing just that. And doing it well - investor members new and old are investing at an angel-industry leading rate this year. “ – Bonny Moellenbrock, Executive Director
More deals! “Our members have invested over $4.6MM to date in 2012, earning the designation as one of the most active angel groups in the US according to the Angel Resource Institute’s Halo Report. We have closed investments in 17 companies with one more venture fair to go this year! Our deals are getting better, our members are getting more active, and we’re poised to move significant capital for impact!” – Justin Desrosiers, Director of Strategy & Operations
Thanks for sharing our excitement -- see you in NYC!
The Investors' Circle Fall Venture Fair & Forum will be held October 23-25th at the Park Central Hotel in NYC. Join us for a 12 company venture fair and 40 company showcase, IC Deal Debrief and group due diligence, our impact ecosystem's Anniverary Celebration, and inspiring speakers on intersting topics. Learn more about the event and register today!