Meet The Rise Fund’s Steve Ellis:“We invest in companies that have chosen impact as their core business”

Entrepreneurship Impact investment Startups

We’re happy to announce Steve Ellis as keynote speaker at this year’s Impact Startup Fest. Steve is senior partner at the San Francisco-based Rise Fund, the most ambitious social impact fund the world has known to date. It is taking impact investing to a new level. “We seek to partner with creative entrepreneurs and management teams of growth companies that drive meaningful, measurable positive change,” he says. Be sure to come hear his thoughts later this month. 

The Rise Fund is a global investment fund that is committed to achieving measurable, positive social and environmental outcomes alongside competitive financial returns. The fund launched late last year and is managed by TPG Growth, the growth equity and middle market buyout fund of global alternative asset firm TPG.

The fund was co-founded by TPG Growth founder and managing partner Bill McGlashan, U2 lead singer Bono, a well-known activist and special partner with TPG Growth, and Jeff Skoll, a global entrepreneur, film producer, and impact investor. They were joined by a group of influential thought leaders with a personal and professional commitment to driving social and environmental progress to form the fund’s Founders Board.

Pioneering social impact investing

“Most of these efforts have had mixed results,” New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin writes about the overall phenomenon of impact investing. “[E]ither investors lost money, or the social impact was negligible or non-existent.”

“Now, a group of high-profile executives and investors are putting together perhaps the most ambitious social impact fund,” Sorkin references the brand new Rise Fund. At approximately $2 billion investment capacity, the social impact fund will be the first large-scale test case for this type of investing.

Express social purpose

The Rise Fund’s impact investing objectives align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Rise Fund invests in education, energy, food and agriculture, financial services, growth infrastructure, healthcare, technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) companies that deliver on both impact and financial measures.

“We have chosen these sectors based on our investment and business building expertise, with the objective of contributing towards the achievement of the SDGs ,” said Steve Ellis, senior partner at The Rise Fund.

Rigorous metrics

The fund takes its assessment methodology very seriously. Indeed, it is as rigorous as its financial assessment methodology. The methodology was developed in collaboration with The Rise Fund Founders Board’s organizations, Elevar Equity, and The Bridgespan Group, a leading nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations, philanthropists, and investors. The evidence-based approach uses third party data and research to underwrite the impact measurement for every investment.

“We call this measure our Impact Multiple of Money, much like the established multiple of money, or MoM, on the financial side,” said Steve Ellis. The Rise Fund has also engaged KPMG to provide assurance on the impact side.

Impact as core business

“The Rise Fund will not invest in businesses where the societal or environmental and financial returns are in conflict. Instead, we will invest in businesses where the impact is inherent in the company’s core product or service,” Steve Ellis continued.

When asked about Steve’s participation in Impact Startup Fest, he said, “While The Rise Fund primarily targets growth stage companies, we will opportunistically invest in earlier stage businesses where we think our platform and resources can meaningfully catalyze growth and impact. And we are always excited to learn about and support the development of startups that will become successful and impactful future growth stage companies.”

Interested to hear more about The Rise Fund? Come hear Steve Ellis share his insights at Impact Startup Fest on 26 September. Buy your tickets today