Scaling Social & Environmental Impact Investing - Its Not About the Technology

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Scaling Social & Environmental Impact Investing - Its Not About the Technology

Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 11:46am


Over the past 20 months I have been involved in the creation and development of a business model that I strongly feel will dramatically increase the ability for capital to flow in support of social and environmental issues, challenges and organizations worldwide. This has been as much of a personal journey as it has been a business approach.

In the beginning, being that I came from a traditional Wall Street background, I thought that this was about implementing the latest technology and building a state of the art transactions platform. It did not take me long to realize that it’s not about the technology!

Technology is important to efficiently bring people together and distribute information, though technology is the easy part of our task. Using our expertise to build relationships and trust and to unite stakeholders that previously did not join forces is our real work, as we encourage a norm shift within the social and environmental capital markets. It is in these efforts that we differentiate ourselves, and through which we add our most important contribution to these markets. Though we are still a young company, we have already been recognized and accepted by many, and because we are still a young company, we have also been viewed by some with skepticism and disdain.

As many of these markets are still very much in their emerging stages, supporting the social and environmental efforts is not about anonymity or functionality. It is about bringing like-minded organizations and people together in the spirit of collaboration and getting them engaged. This is the essence of relationship building unique to our company, Mission Markets Inc.

At least in the first few years Mission Markets will have to be as much an advocate for social and environmental change as we are an electronic marketplace for transactions. As I have stated in previous writings, so that sufficient amounts of capital can be deployed within and across markets to support some of the monumental challenges facing our society today, we are motivating the mainstream investing public to embark upon a very long learning curve where they will not be limited to an awareness of the challenges of these markets, but where they will gain an awareness of how to best allocate financial assets.

Creating this more efficient marketplace is very much a grass roots effort that will take many years and the cooperation of many actors within the social and environmental markets ecosystem. Each of our participants will come with their own distinct needs, challenges, and communities, and cannot be viewed and organized into cookie cutter sectors or classifications, because we are shifting the very way stakeholders in these markets are organized and classified.

Participants include:

• Impact investors
• Foundations, investment advisers, broker dealers, money managers
• Ecosystem markets stakeholders
• Corporations
• NGO's
• Third party social and environmental metrics providers
• Data and content providers
• Local governments and municipalities
• Slow money and slow food movement advocates
• Community development financial institutions
• Fisheries and agriculture communities

Unless we understand these sub-sectors and gain cooperation and buy-in from these stakeholders, we will never succeed in our vision of creating a true centralized social and environmental capital marketplace.

Mission Markets is scheduled to launch its phase 1 platform in March of this year. For more information please visit our Mission Markets website. You can reach me at

- Mike

Mission Markets operates a private investment exchange facilitating transactions within the social and environmental capital markets. The Mission Markets platform provides companies and organizations with access to funding and impact investors an efficient way to evaluate, invest in and monitor sustainable investment opportunities.