Impact Investing Trends in 2019 Include Greater Focus on Gender

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.

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Commenting on the impact investing trends, Matthew Weatherley-White, managing director and co-founder of Caprock, suggested an important trend among social entrepreneurs.

“Three years ago, it was relatively rare for me to encounter an entrepreneur (outside of the social enterprise sector) to be using language that seemed tailored for the impact community. As a result, there was a lot of capital chasing relatively few ‘impact’ deals. Now, the entrepreneurs seem to have harnessed the language – if not yet the intent (at least not yet at depth) – of impact. This may be a craven ploy to expand the circle of potential investors… but I don’t think so. I think that more and more entrepreneurs are doing their best to link mission to operations and seek impact (mission-aligned) capital in a structural way.”  – Matthew Weatherley-White

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