- En Lee Partner and Head of Asia Pacific, LGT Impact Ventures
- Ronie Mak Managing Director, RS Group
- Toshi Nakamura Co-Founder and CEO, Kopernik
Social finance is a key tool to tackling social issues in cities. This session explored specific work of two leading impact investing funds and shared their missions, approaches to impact, and their learnings.
Mr. Nakamura cited that for his organization, the role of philanthropy is a necessary component of his business model to address market failure issues when working on last mile access to reach the poorest of poor segments of the community.
Ms. Mak as a leader of a Hong Kong based family office, shared that 100% of their capital is aligned to the mission of fostering sustainable development of humanity via a blended value approach. This approach avoids the direct or indirect support of companies that are creating some of the social and environmental issues the world faces. For those organizations or projects that it support, they adopt a flexible approach to their work and tools used whether impact investing, venture philanthropy, or direct philanthropic support for causes or project that have social benefits. They also believe in field and ecosystem building to move the space forward.
Mr. Lee added that success for an impact investor is the ability to find and invest in effective and scalable solutions that can be run profitably. He also talked about the importance of smart and innovative use of capital, and the blending of philanthropic dollar with investment dollars to maximize social impact and financial performance.
All three speakers highlighted the following themes: 1) role of philanthropy in addressing market failure especially in the poorest population areas; 2) the leverage and power of capital markets to solve and scale solutions to social issues; 3) the delivery of market-based approaches through impact investing to ensure sustainability and scalability of solutions.
For all three themes, the role of philanthropy figure prominently in the earliest and oftentimes, riskiest, parts of a philanthropic or social finance endeavor. This is what is oftentimes called the catalytic funding role that philanthropy plays in investment for impact.