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David Bank
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David Bank is Editor of ImpactAlpha, investment news for a sustainable edge. ImpactAlpha (formerly Impact IQ) covers companies, investors and deals that generate positive social and environmental impact along with financial returns. He is CEO of ImpactAlpha's parent company, Impact IQ Inc., which also includes ImpactSpace.org, the shared impact database.

Previously, Bank was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering the Internet, Microsoft and the software industry. His book, Breaking Windows (Free Press, 2001) was named one of the "Best Business Books" of the year by the Harvard Business Review and Amazon.com.

Most recently, Bank was a vice president of Encore.org (formerly known as Civic Ventures), deploying his journalistic and entrepreneurial skills and experience to advance innovative ideas and people making a difference with encore careers.

Bank was a 1996 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He earned an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Entries by David Bank

The New Alternatives: Holding Companies That Build Impact for the Long Term

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2016 | 12:07 AM

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Impact investing may have gotten off on the wrong foot, with venture-capital style private equity funds that generally have to be liquidated after 10 years.

This season's new style: Permanently capitalized holding companies with long-term ownership stakes in operating companies that deliver...

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Making Better Livelihoods for the Global Poor an Investable Proposition

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2016 | 5:31 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- There are 18 million smallholder farmers in Indonesia with monthly incomes of less than 200,000 rupiah, or $58. Vasham, a social enterprise in Jakarta that provide financing, expertise and a guaranteed above-market price for their crops, serves 1,708 of...

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Bill Gates Doubles Down to Scale up Support for New Impact Investing Funds

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2016 | 12:59 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- When Bill Gates agreed a couple years ago to put a small piece of his personal fortune into a fund that invests in companies serving low-income customers in India, he invited the fund managers to return...

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Is the Recovery of Wild Fisheries the New 'J-Curve' for Impact Investors?

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2016 | 1:31 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- In a sign of healthy competition, not one but two private equity fund managers are gearing up to raise tens of millions of dollars apiece to bet on the recovery of coastal fishing industries and local communities in...

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Stock Market Got You Down? Conservation Financiers Ready 'Non-Correlated' Investments

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2016 | 9:28 AM

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here's an intriguing line in the new Credit Suisse and McKinsey & Co. report on the growing interest among institutional investors for financial products that protect ecosystems, drive sustainable commodity production or reduce carbon emissions.

Among mainstream investors, the report says,...

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DBL Partners' Nancy Pfund: Spotting the Next Tesla and Solar City

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2015 | 6:29 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- When Nancy Pfund's DBL Partners recently closed its $400 million third fund, ImpactAlpha wrote, "Want to spot the next Tesla? Watch DBL Partners."

In her podcast interview with ImpactAlpha, Pfund discusses new investments from Tanzania (Off Grid Electric) to San Francisco (Advanced Microgrid Solutions). Hint: Advanced Microgrid is the largest customer of Tesla's new PowerPack battery systems.

"I want to give a shout out to all of the clean tech entrepreneurs," Pfund told ImpactAlpha's David Bank. "This field is on fire. Or, maybe that's not a good metaphor. This field is very exciting and growing, and the quality of entrepreneurs in our deal flow compared to the very early days is just night and day. So, it's just a great time to have dry powder."

Pfund stuck with clean tech investments when many others pulled out. In the podcast, she tells the story of Solar City's hair-raising IPO and being pals with Elon Musk ("He's always been a master of the universe in my mind").

"I believe that we are at the tipping point for clean energy," Pfund says. "When quarter-after-quarter you see the majority of new generation capacity coming from renewables, when you see the growth of electric vehicles and traditional car companies coming out with their own models -- this is what the early phase of a transition looks like."

Brian Walsh of the New York financial services company Liquidnet, and Imogen Rose-Smith, senior writer at Institutional Investor, join David for a panel discussion. Is it acceptable -- or possible -- to get filthy rich doing impact...

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Private Equity Firm Pontos Aqua Fishes for Growth in Aquaculture

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2015 | 5:17 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- It's not surprising that impact investors believe environmental sustainability creates long-term value. That a traditional private equity investor is betting on sustainability -- that's a signal of an important market shift.

That shift has occurred in aquaculture, says Francisco...

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As the Colorado River Runs Dry, Impact Investors Seek Water Solutions

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 2:59 PM

The Colorado River, which supplies water to 35 million people and four million acres of irrigated agriculture across seven states (plus two in Mexico), is running dry after 15 years of drought.

That's both a problem and an opportunity for impact investors.

A new report lays out a menu of...

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Bountiful Catch for Sustainable Seafood Investors: Finalists in Fish 2.0 Competition

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 6:09 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- The ocean's problems are well known. Solutions, not so much. And opportunities to invest in those solutions have been even harder to find.

That's changing, in no small part thanks to Monica Jain...

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Accelerating Impact Fund Managers to Spur Investments in the Base of the Pyramid

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 2:53 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- First-time fund managers have a hard time raising capital in any area of private equity. Add in low-income customers, challenging frontier markets and a requirement for demonstrable social impact and first-time social-impact fund managers face even greater obstacles.

Yet...

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How Much Would You Pay for a Can of Tuna?

(1) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 5:37 PM

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By Maura Dilley, ImpactAlpha.com -- For decades, the five-ounce can of tuna fish has been the 99¢ pantry essential that U.S. families turned to for a quick sandwich or last-minute meal.

Now, a new crew of tuna distributors, including Wild Planet,...

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As Maine's Waters Warm, a Seafood Investor Fosters Climate Resiliency

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2015 | 5:46 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- An invasion of green crabs. Plummeting populations of northern shrimp and cod. Shifting seasons for lobster, the anchor of Maine's $585 million fishing economy.

Stretching from Cape Cod to southern Nova Scotia, the Gulf of Maine is among the...

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Who's the Next Impact Target After Goldman Sachs Snaps Up Imprint Capital?

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 3:21 PM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- Goldman Sachs' move to buy San Francisco-based Imprint Capital has the small community of impact investment asset managers and dealmakers buzzing about who might next be asked to dance by a Wall Street suitor.

Goldman's decision to...

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Investors Target Growing Demand for Healthy, Sustainable, Tasty Fish

(3) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 11:41 AM

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ImpactAlpha.com -- The hook is baited, and private-equity and venture-capital fund managers are reeling in capital to finance next-generation fish-farming enterprises across the country and around the world.

Several dedicated funds are targeting aquaculture investments specifically. At the same time, many...

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Shhh! Don't Tell Institutional Investors, but Sustainability Drives Returns in Real Assets

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 8:45 AM

ImpactAlpha.com - Dave Chen and his team at Equilibrium Capital in Portland, Ore., don't generally pitch pension funds and other institutional investors on the firm's thesis that environmentally and socially beneficial practices can drive operational efficiencies, reduced risk and above-market, or 'alpha,' returns.

Instead, they talk about real...

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Sankalp Q&A: Unitus Seeks to Launch Seed Funds Around the World

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 12:43 AM

Most of the thousands of investors and entrepreneurs descending on New Delhi this week for the Sankalp Global Summit are looking to beat out their competitors.

Dave Richards and Will Poole, managing directors of Unitus Seed Fund, are looking to create more competition for themselves, by seeding additional funds...

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This Woman Is an Impact Angel (and Sharp Investor)

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2015 | 10:10 AM

ImpactAlpha.com -- The February ribbon-cutting for Gigawatt Global's new $24 million solar field in Rwanda was an impact investment showcase. More than 28,000 solar panels, arranged in the shape of the African continent, added six percent to the entire country's electricity production.

Gigawatt Global, an American-owned Dutch solar...

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Ending Seafood Slavery: How Tracing Seafood Can Protect Humans, Too

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 5:00 PM

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Co-authored by Maura Dilley

To blood diamonds, sweatshop apparel and other products to avoid, now add slave shrimp.

The global fishing industry, and the Thai fishing fleet in particular, is increasingly being called to account for abuses that represent not just virtual...

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JPMorgan Chase and Omidyar Back New Impact Fund Aimed at Brazil's Emerging Middle Class

(1) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 1:20 PM

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By Dennis Price and David Bank, ImpactAlpha.com

It's an emerging market within an emerging market.

Entrepreneurs who can deliver high-quality basic services on the cheap are rushing to meet the pent-up demands of Brazil's 112 million lower- and...

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'Nature Conservation Notes' Bring Individual Investors into Climate Fund

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 4:15 PM

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Investing in conservation has long been the province of development-finance institutions and philanthropic foundations. Now, wealthy individuals are starting to invest as well, opening a potentially huge new source of private capital for ecosystem preservation.

Dozens of individual investors committed a total of...

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