Rethink Impact raises largest U.S.-based impact investing fund with gender lens overlay

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–UBS Wealth Management Americas partnered with Rethink Impact, a venture capital fund, to contribute to raising $110+million, more than half of which came from UBS clients, including high net worth individuals, family offices, private foundations, and universities, for the closing of Rethink Impact. Rethink Impact is an impact investing venture capital fund investing in gender diverse, tech-enabled companies working to solve the world’s biggest challenges based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Rethink Impact, invests in social impact companies with a gender lens. The fund is particularly focused on the health, education, environmental sustainability and economic empowerment sectors and includes companies that merge strong businesses with a social mission. Rethink Impact investors span the majority of the states across the country, are balanced in terms of gender and are a mix of individuals, foundations, universities and beyond.

Impact investing aims to generate a defined positive social or environmental impact as well as a competitive return. It is an attractive area for investors who wish to align their portfolios with their values.

“We prioritize financial returns above all else for our clients,” said John Amore, Managing Director UBS Wealth Management Americas, “Yet fundamentally, we believe in companies whose social impact enhances their financial returns and whose financial returns fuel their social impact. Our clients increasingly want financial advice as well as innovative solutions to utilize their wealth and resources to address societal issues. As the world’s largest global wealth manager, we are well positioned to guide them and felt that Rethink Impact was a compelling solution given our clients’ investment and impact goals.”

Research shows that female-led businesses outperform. On average, firms with 30% female leadership see net revenues 15% higher than firms with no female leaders.2 Despite this, little capital goes to female-led firms, with only 3% of venture dollars going to companies with a female CEO3 and fewer than 6% of people making investment decisions at venture capital firms are women.4

Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner of Rethink Impact said, “My partner, Heidi Patel, and our team believe that the next generation of extraordinary companies will find success through their diversity coupled with relentless pursuit of mission, for the benefit of all communities. There has never been a better time to enter the field of impact investing. The problems that these companies address are still so vast, but now we’re seeing more and more seasoned entrepreneurs partnering up with top engineering talent to tackle these issues head on, in a scalable and sustainable way. This creates a ripe opportunity for investment for firms that really understand the sector.”

UBS is helping to mainstream impact investing in response to demand from clients and from the community. At the World Economic Forum’s Annual 2017 Meeting in Davos, UBS committed to direct at least $5 billion of client assets into new SDG-related impact investments over the next five years. Other examples of impact investing milestones where UBS has been involved include the Oncology Impact Fund, the UBS Optimus Foundation’s Development Impact Bond, the Loans for Growth fund, a public-private model providing loans to SME’s and co-funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the G8-affiliated Social Impact Investment Taskforce and the WEF’s reports on mainstreaming impact investing. UBS has also integrated impact investing into its regular sustainable investing reports and Opinion Leaders white papers.

As of 31 December 2016, UBS’s sustainable investments increased to CHF 976 billion compared with CHF 934 billion as of the end of 2015, representing 35% of the firm’s total invested assets. Major increases in relative terms were observed among the integration and impact investments, which increased 64% and 228%, respectively, compared with 2015.