Green tech investors want to put their money behind firms with the potential to disrupt their industries and bring both positive environmental impacts and financial success. But what’s disruptive is by its nature unprecedented and unpredictable. How do investors assess the potential of a green technology company?
Impact investing, a growing niche in finance, seeks to marry strong financial returns with positive social impacts. That can mean investing in companies whose products improve the environment, or it can mean helping a startup find ways to positively contribute to the neighborhood where it’s based. Nancy Pfund ’82, founder and managing partner of DBL Investors, talks about the growth of the sector.
When solar panel manufacturer Solyndra went bankrupt after receiving millions in federal loan guarantees, some said that the government should stop interfering in energy markets. Nancy Pfund and Ben Healey show that the U.S. government has a long history of subsidizing emerging forms of energy, dating back to the 19th century.
Why is a venture capital firm encouraging the employees in a company it funds to give free music lessons? They’re trying to prove the thesis that companies that engage with their communities also reap a business advantage.