"NEW YORK, Feb. 27 /CSRwire/ - Over seventy percent of active individual investors (71%) describe themselves as interested in sustainable investing, and nearly two in three (65%) believe sustainable investing will become more prevalent over the next five years, according to a new survey published today by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. The new report examines the attitudes and perceptions of individual investors towards sustainable investing and considers the broader implications for investors, corporations and governments."
One question we at AFI often get has to do with investor returns, and whether investors need to accept sub-market returns
Oh woe is the typical pitch deck! General, confusing, buzzwordy. Pascale Finette (Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab, writing on Unreasonable.is), lays out, slide by slide, what to show and tell - and not. He starts: "Your pitch deck MUST start with a description of what it is that you're doing."
7 Key Components of a Perfect Elevator Pitch, from bPlan via HubSpot Blogs.
Austin's Erin Flynn of Green Gate Farms writes of the difficulties of being a small farmer, and suggests ways we can help in this Austin Statesman article.
Austin's Paul O'Brien says the typical "Competition" slide in a pitch deck usually essentially says "...we actually do everything! And our competitors (those morons) are overlooking something obvious", to which he replies: "Really? That doesn’t even pass the sniff test."
There's a better way, he writes, that involves deeper thinking about how competitors have strategically deployed resources, and how the pitching company can position their resource allocation relative to those competitors on vectors that matter most to target customers.
In English, that probably means the "We Rock & They Suck" slide should stay in the pocket...
"The world of food and agriculture symbolizes most of what’s gone wrong in the United States. But because food is plentiful for most people, and the damage that conventional agriculture does isn’t readily evident to everyone it’s important that we look deeper, beyond food, to the structure that underlies most decisions: the political economy," starts Mark Bittman in this incisive critique.
And here's an article he cites as evidence, "Who Should Clean Up Big Ag's Mess?" from 2/7/15 in Common Dreams. The upshot: "For decades, America’s chemical-intensive, industrial farming operations have spewed nitrates and other toxic chemicals, animal waste, ammonia, antibiotics, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane gases into public air, waterways and communities."
Austin Foodshed Investors' co-founder Jarred Maxwell is also the leader of Slow Money Austin (SMA). Ever wonder what the connection between those two organizations is?
SMA is a network, an event sponsor, an information hub, a place where the people that care about food and food finance in Austin come together. Jarred is currently working on an extensive "ecosystem map" that will answer the dual questions:
Austin Foodshed Investors, on the other hand, specifically targets sustainable food companies that are already up and running, have customers and team and at least the start of a plan in hand, and are looking for capital to reach their next milestone. On the other side of the equation, AFI is currently seeking and working with investors who meet the SEC's definition of "accreditation".
"In 2013, only 19% of U.S. angel investors were women and only 4% were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.
Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women, works to increase diversity in the U.S. angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs.
Since its April 2011 launch, Pipeline Fellowship’s angel investing bootcamp has trained over eighty women."
Startup advice blog Shockwave Innovations defines the terms typically used in "market sizing", and explains why each is important. Great background for business planners.
Sara Olsen, founder of social and environmental accounting and management firm SVT Group, lists the 4 myths hindering even conscious business owners from taking first steps to measuring their "impact" beyond typical operational and financial metrics. Spoiler: just starting, with something, is the hardest...
The Houston Chronicle's Joe Holley profiles Strange Land Brewery and the Hat Creek Pickle Company's Tim Klatt who says "We're in the position of using high-quality, local ingredients, not just from a philosophical standpoint but because we have to."
Forbes reports on an article in the Huffington Post by Salesforce.com's Chairman Marc Benioff, where Benioff joins Jack Welch, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, Unilever's Paul Polman, and John Mackey of Whole Foods in rejecting the idea that the purpose of business is to "maximize shareholder value".
Rather, Benioff says, "We have an imperative to shift from creating shareholder value to stakeholder value… corporate management isn’t just accountable to shareholders… businesses must focus on serving the interests all stakeholders — customers, employees, partners, suppliers, citizens, governments, the environment and any other entity impacted by its operations.”
Foodtank writes: "A new wave of food pioneers, mostly from non-farming backgrounds, is turning to careers in agriculture. This career path comes with its fair share of hurdles. According to Lindsay Lusher Shute, executive director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), “Capital and land top most young farmers’ lists” as their biggest challenges. Here are 10 ways to help the next generation of farmers nourish future consumers."
Wired magazine reports that "Instead of just offering a product, discount, or small reward in exchange for monetary funding, crowdfunded projects can now offer equity in exchange for public funding—if they use ." And "cable TV station CNBC and analyst outfit Crowdnetic are partnering to release a new crowdfinance index, aiming to give the investing public a window into how this new market is evolving."
Interestingly, on 2/4/15, the number one company on their list (Plant Growth Net Zero Aqualife), with $5.0M of their target $5.2M raise committed, is a San Diego shrimp company in the "Organic Food & Beverage" Industry.
News from AFI; Links to stories on business-for-good, private-company investing, fundraising, & sustainable food.