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CoFoF Fall Event 2021 – Overcoming (unconscious) bias
30. 09 . 2021

CoFoF Fall Event 2021 – Overcoming (unconscious) bias

On Thursday September 30 at Co-Financing Our Future | CoFoF Fall event we got inspired to take next steps towards a more sustainable future by investing in diversity! Key learnings of the event were:
1. More diversity leads to higher margins and greater impact;
2. Therefore, increasing diversity needs to be top priority of every impact investment fund
3. We need to stop talking about it and move to action.

A special thanks to Joost RigterMarilou van Golstein BrouwersElin Fälted and Janneke Niessen to let us think out of the box, challenge our bias and inspired us to talk less and act more to create change! Also a lot of thanks to Circl NL for hosting this session and Marieke Eyskoot for her inspirational energy, sharp moderation and presentation.

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CoFoF Spring Event 2021 – Hoe te sturen op een Innovatiever & Duurzamer Nederland?
17. 06. 2021

CoFoF Spring Event 2021 – Hoe te sturen op een Innovatiever & Duurzamer Nederland?

CoFof 6 -Impact Investing: How to steer towards a more innovative & sustainable Netherlands?

A SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE NETHERLANDS | On Thursday 17 June during the CoFoF Spring Event we were finally able to physically bring the impact investment sector together again in an exclusive and small-scale corona-proof setting! What a great success it was! CoFoF main sponsor Invest-NL took the stage and reached out to impact investors for opportunities for further collaboration.

The main take-aways from the meeting were:
– Invest-NL is truly complementary to the existing impact investment sector and can make the current impact investment sector more capital through its fund strategy.
– Business Development Invest-NL was also established to make an active contribution to strengthening the impact ecosystem and strengthening the pipeline for the impact investment sector.
– There are many opportunities that are ready for follow-up, let’s seize those opportunities to make a real impact!
We thank our main sponsor Invest-NL for its active contribution Wouter Bos, Leo Holwerda, Maurice Galla, Wilco Schoonderbeek, Jorine Zandhuis.

Many thanks to our host Circl and our energetic and sharp Marieke Eyskoot.

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CoFoF Knowledge Event 2021 – Accelerate cross-border co-investment for impact
18. 05. 2021

CoFoF Knowledge Event 2021 – Accelerate cross-border co-investment for impact

During the Online Knowledge Session hosted by Co-financing Our Future and our partner Techleap.nl on May 18, we explored how to accelerate cross-border co-investment for impact. Please watch the full webinar back here: https://bit.ly/2RYocHL

During this live knowledge session we shared ideas on the international co-financing landscape and what international investors look for in dutch entrepreneurs. With our great international panel, martijn blom from evpa, dr. Markus freiburg from fase and fatou diagne from bootstrap europe, we discussed how to build an international consortium to strengthen the impact investing climate with experts.

The key take aways from the webinar are:
Amongst the key take-aways from our expert guests were:
1. 83% of our participants indicated that finding the right co-investor is the biggest challenge encountered for cross-border investments.
2. We need to facilitate (even) more and stronger connections between investors and their peers, as well as between investors and impact entrepreneurs.
3.  Digital creates more opportunities for international collaboration but can hinder a closer examination of an enterprise’s products and operations.Cofof will stay connected to evpa and fa-se so impact entrepreneurs as envison and renewal workshop can find the right mix of impact investors. Together we continue building an european market for impact investing.

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CoFoF Fall Event 2020 -Impact Investing: Breaking the Myth of lower returns
01. 12. 2020

CoFoF Fall Event 2020 -Impact Investing: Breaking the Myth of lower returns

During the CoFoF event on Dec 1, we explored how positive societal impact and market returns can go hand in hand. Please watch the full webinar here: https://bit.ly/CoFoF1Dec (password CoFoF2020).

“We have to become the architects of the transition to a more just and sustainable world. Let’s build capital coalitions to joyfully invest in the future instead of fearfully hanging onto the past”, Karl “Charly” Kleissner – founder Toniic

Mobilising all Capital for Impact

The Co-financing Our Future webinar kicked off with keynote speaker Karl “Charly” Kleissner, founder of Toniic, a global network of action-oriented impact investors. Kleissner stressed that we are at the beginning of a global transition, within the next few years we need to figure out how 10 billion people can sustainably live on our planet. Modern technology and an individual sense of consciousness is accelerating this transformation. The choice is ours. Kleissner explains that the design of our economic system is leading to unsustainable resource management, extreme inequality and poverty causing our systems to change as evidenced by climate change and white spread social unrest. Because of the fact that our economic system is focussed on the maximization of financial return,  social inequality and climate change are not addressed, they are considered externalities. It is time to make them internalities.

Kleissner oppts there is only one way out of the current crisis – to become the architects ourselves of the great transition, to become the changemakers and act now. Enforce sustainability, circularity and resilience. On the financial and investment side we need to move from so called market returns to appropriate financial returns enabling every stakeholder to participate. We need to move to an impact economy, where impact investing goes beyond ESG. Kleissner explains that ESG is just good management practices, but it’s not impact investing.

However, how to move to impact investing? Kleissner states that first there needs to be a need to know what you own, second is to detoxify,  don’t invest in something that is against your values,  third is to apply ESG, fourth is exploring what market rate returns would mean in the context of impact and lastly the advice is to join impact investing networks and start investing in the future.

There are a few points on this road which Kleissner stresses:

1) Impact investment can generate market rate returns;

2) There is enough dealflow;

3) There are many successful players in the market which have proven their existence;

The regulatory hurdles and lack of a standardized measurement norm are subjects the sector is working on and is making progress in.

Kleissner ends with the note that now it is time to mobilize all capital for impact. It does not only make sense from a business perspective, but it is also the right thing to do, a moral responsibility of us all independent of where we sit.

The first panel consisted of Mirjam Niessen of DOEN Participaties, Gert Dijkstra of APG, Ali Najafbagy of 4Impact and Eric Buckens from ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund.

The panel discussion kicked-off with exploring the role of pension funds in impact investing. Dijkstra explained that APG, managing assets valued at 540 billion euros, is primarily looking at investments generating stable long term cash flows. However, because of the maturity of this market and level of competition, APG is moving now to smaller ticket sizes and investing in more innovative and sustainable business models. APG considers it key to be involved in this early stage to build knowledge and network. The last 5 years APG focussed on sustainable and responsible investment and has doubled this portfolio to 58 billion euros.

These individual steps are great news, however how can cooperation between impact minded and impact investors be improved? The exchange of knowledge is of great importance, for example with respect to impact measurement. Cooperation is key to creating a common language. Next a misconception is that impact funds are making less financial return, as also stated by Kleissner in the keynote speech. Impact investing combines both financial and impact return. As well it is important that the impact investors are well informed with respect to scope and terms & conditions of other impact investors – with whom can we co-invest? Which impact investor is more early stage or later stage? Gaps in the funding landscape need to be minimized. What needs to be done?

Exchange of dealflows
Share sector knowledge
Increase the scale of impact investing by cooperating with traditional financiers
Learning by doing. Understanding how every investor works, learning each other’s language, can be best achieved by doing deals together.

Janneke Niessen from Capital T, Machtelt Groothuis from Rubio Impact Ventures, Jasper Snoek from Fair Capital and Patrick Polak from Newion were part of the second panel. The panel started with the state of the impact investment sector, how is the sector performing on a global scale? Even though the sector is still quite young, The Netherlands is regarded as an active market. However the scale of the sector is growing slowly and that is why traditional financiers are warmly welcomed to co-invest.

Main learnings from this panel were:

When looking at the investing spectrum, you go from purely focussed on financial return to only focus on impact, philanthropy. Impact investing sits in the middle, where financial return is combined with impact return.
The investment market will move towards only impact investing, in 10-15 years impact investing is the new normal.
The term ‘Impact’ is diluting. ‘Do no harm’ is sometimes already referred to as impact investing, while this is the bare minimum and should already be the current status quo for investors. Clear terminology is required to define what is impact.
More benchmarks are required to break the myth of lower returns in impact investing.
There is a war on talent. Young talent wants to work at a company that is contributing to a sustainable footprint. This is part of motivation for traditional investors to move toward impact investing.

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CoFoF Spring Event 2020 – How can the impact investment community contribute to a new resilient, post-COVID-19 society?
08. 09. 2020

CoFoF Spring Event 2020 – How can the impact investment community contribute to a new resilient, post-COVID-19 society?

Macro-economic Insights
A macro-economic perspective of the impact of COVID-19 and insights into the governmental support packages of the EU and The Netherlands have been shared by Rens van Tilburg from the Sustainable Finance Lab.

What is the Role of the Government?
In three round table groups the role of the impact investment sector in rebuilding the economy was discussed.

To summarise, the central discussion points during the round table sessions were (surprisingly) related to the role of the government. What is the role of the government in (re)building a sustainable economy? How can the government create the optimal environment for impact start-up and scale-up companies to flourish? Is more governmental intervention needed?

First of all there was consensus with respect to the need for long term stability and consistency in national policy. Next, internalisation of externalities, e.g. CO2 tax, can create a level playing field for impact companies. The government can use tax schemes to increase tax on resources and lower tax on labour, incentivising to save resources and stimulate job creation.

The government can as well play a role in de-risking financial transactions with both start-ups and larger investments. VC’s and investors have a high risk appetite, however the government can play a supporting role e.g. setting up facility such as the seed capital policy for companies in a later growth stage. Together with the government the funding gap needs to be minimised.

The impact investment sector can take up the role of inspiring and including more traditional financiers in impact transactions increasing the scale of the impact investment sector.

Deal Sharing Opportunity
Last but not least, during the Deal Sharing Opportunity three impact investors took the stage who were looking for a co-funder on a specific transaction. Hopefully some matchmaking has been taking place during the Network Drinks!

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CoFoF Fall Event 2019 – Quantifying Impact for a Sustainable Future
09. 10. 2019

CoFoF Fall Event 2019 – Quantifying Impact for a Sustainable Future

We have listened to several impact financiers during the Impact Measurement Landscape, giving an insight into their way of measuring impact. Examples and best case practices were shared with regards to which impact measurement methods were preferred, how to tie KPI’s to realised impact and how to embed impact measurement within an organisation.

Next we have discussed our dilemma’s with respect to impact measurement. How to deal with the trade-off between financial return and impact? Should we convert impact into monetary value? Should realised impact be linked to remuneration of fund managers? How to quantify the effectiveness of social impact investments?

On the Impact Measurement Market Place new connections have been made with the impact measurement specialists of The Impact Institute, Sinzer, Avance Impact, Sustainalize and Steward Redqueen.

During the Deal Sharing Matchmaking impact investors took the stage who were looking for a co-funder on a specific transaction. Hopefully some matchmaking has been taking during the Network Drinks!

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CoFoF Spring Event 2019 – Kick-off Co-Financing Our Future
06. 03. 2019

CoFoF Spring Event 2019 – Kick-off Co-Financing Our Future

The first edition of Co-FoF was the start of a new ecosystem in which traditional and impact investors came together to discuss the state of impact investing in the Netherlands and explore collaborative opportunities.

We saw practical examples of successful co-financing and listened to the experiences of Fairphone, Chaincraft and Black Bear.

We also considered questions such as: Is there real impact with market rate returns? How do you set up a consortium? How do you find and select your partners? How can we create more transparency about intentions, mandate and investment horizon? Which standards can we use for quantifying impact? What are the challenges in financing circular business models?

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