Better Know A GIIRS Fund

BETTER KNOW A GIIRS FUND. B LAB EAST AFRICA CHATS WITH DAVID MUTHEE, SENIOR INVESTMENT MANAGER AT ALPHA MUNDI. BETTER KNOW A GIIRS FUND

B Lab East Africa chats with David Muthee, Senior Investment Manager at Alpha Mundi.

Tell us a bit about Alpha Mundi and how you are leading with purpose in the impact investment community? Alpha Mundi began in 2009 in Latin America thinking, how best we can do impact investing. We see ourselves as designing financial products that invest in effective, profitable and scalable solutions to global challenges. We believe that Impact Investing can help unlock and mobilize additional resources for sustainable development, and complement the efforts of the public sector and private philanthropy. We arrived in East Africa in 2012 investing in a Ugandan solar company that brings power and financial services to the hardest-to-reach customers. Then entered Kenya investing in a honey company that promotes sustainable beekeeping and aims to support thousands of farming families to grow out of poverty. Both received a Platinum GIIRS rating in 2015.

 

Do you have focus areas of investment in East Africa? We are sector agnostic, but we do accept we cannot be good at everything and have built our skills and market knowledge on key sustainable development sectors such as agribusiness, renewable energy and micro-finance as well as affordable housing, education and health in small scale. We currently have 6 investments in East Africa, exited in three and in the process of setting up a mezzanine fund next year that will be 80% focused on investing in companies in renewable energy and agribusiness. How are you using B Analytics? And what have been the benefits of impact measurement to AlphaMundi and your stakeholders? We ask our portfolio companies to do the GIIRS rating and provide quarterly reports of their impact. We then use the B Analytics to track and benchmark the portfolio’s impact performance over time.  We also use this statistics in all our presentations.

GIIRS is more and more recognized globally as a comprehensive impact measurement tool. Though some companies sometimes feel it a bother when we ask them to be GIIRS rated, we have many that are very dedicated and find it extremely beneficial to be able to have an integrated platform to  measure, benchmark and improve their performance. And this has helped drive fundraising from even more investors. Now that B Lab has set up in East Africa we look forward to have a greater database of GIIRS rated funds and companies in East Africa measuring their social and environmental impact.

“David Muthee, Senior Investment Manager at Alpha Mundi” This shows people that we are taking ourselves and our impact seriously. They see that we have taken these extra steps to get third-party validation and certification, and people are always really impressed when they get our impact reports from the GIIRS Rating. What are the challenges/opportunities for an impact investor in East Africa? The biggest challenge I must say is the definition of impact. Both from the investor side and the company side, they both see it from different angles. It does help to have a standardized tool such as GIIRS, to measure the social and environmental impact of investments. This really makes it more accurate, efficient and much easier for the investor to translate.

There is opportunity to keep working at better and better ways to define impact that are most useful to this market. East Africa is also an African hub of massive innovation that could solve some of the toughest challenges we face. There are quite a number of early stage startup companies where impact can be integrated in the business model and this can be translated into both financial and bottom line success. If more and more companies use GIIRS, this will enable industry wide benchmarking, portfolio management and due-diligence screening.[/vc_column_text][ish_headline tag_size=”h4″ color=”color5″]Any last words to investors wanting their portfolios to be GIIRS rated? The tool is very beneficial, we appreciate the third-party validation, having an efficient and standardized ranking system, and single integrated platform to collect, analyze, benchmark and report impact. To all companies and fund managers, differentiate yourself from the crowd with this rigorous, transparent and comprehensive tool. Lets drive this conversation because we can’t build an industry of impact investing without credible, comparable metrics on impact.

 

ABOUT GIIRS RATING GIIRS Ratings are the gold standard for funds that manage their portfolio’s impact with the same rigor as their financial performance. GIIRS uses the B Impact Assessment to deliver a comprehensive accounting of your portfolio’s impact on workers, customers, communities, and the environment. Your team leverages our B Analytics platform to put that data to work for you. For more information on GIIRS Ratings and how your can use it to measure impact, reach out to hello@b-labeastafrica.net.

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