Impact Angel Alliance and Network North merge to form Northern Impact Investing Network
November 28, 2017 - The Impact Angel Alliance (“IAA”) and Network North are pleased to announce that the two organizations have merged to form one integrated not-for-profit organization called the Northern Impact Investing Network. The Northern Impact Investing Network (“Northern Impact”) realizes key synergies from the union of the predecessor organizations and provides risk capital and knowledge capital for high potential impact ventures.
The merger brings together two organizations with demonstrated success supporting Canada’s early stage investment ecosystem by creating opportunities for co-investment from investors seeking strong financial returns with beneficial social impact. IAA is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2014 with a mission to connect for-profit start-ups and investors who view impact as a key differentiator and competitive advantage for early stage and growth companies. IAA has provided critical transactional and syndication support for both start-ups and investors, improving investor alignment, activating co-investment, and increasing access to capital for companies whose business models can achieve more than simple profit maximization and market share. Network North was founded in 2016 to bring together a critical mass of investors and expertise to catalyze the deployment of risk capital within priority sectors for the Canadian knowledge economy, namely early-stage health and life sciences ventures. The network has built a community of investors with deep expertise in the Canadian early stage healthcare ecosystem and has catalyzed co-investments in companies that have developed healthcare products with critically important social and medical benefits.
The Northern Impact Investing Network leverages the specialized expertise of each of its predecessor organizations while creating alignment on a shared model to support programs that encourage co-investment into ventures demonstrating potential for strong financial return and positive social impact. Together, the combined entity represents a community of over 100 institutional investors from across Canada and the US, with a combined track record of supporting nearly 30 ventures, activating $6 million in direct investments and unlocking $30 million in contingent financing and co-investment. The new entity will adopt and implement IAA’s impact investing assessment and performance measurement tools, helping investors integrate impact as a powerful, additive lens in their investment decision-making rubric, while leveraging Network North’s significant sector-specific expertise, deep network connections, and transaction support capabilities to the new organization. Northern Impact will provide critical support and access to capital to impact ventures in a number of key sectors, including health/med-tech, food/ag-tech, clean-tech, ed-tech inclusion and fin-tech inclusion. Northern Impact supports Ontario based ventures and companies from the US and rest of Canada seeking investment to establish operations in Ontario.
Northern Impact will be led by a team made up of the executive leadership of both IAA and Network North. Taking over the position of Executive Director will be Jennifer Bates, Co-founder of Network North. With a background in business and law, and former mentor at the Creative Destruction Lab, Ms. Bates brings significant experience in and knowledge of the Canadian start-up investment landscape. Sean Holt, Founding Executive Director of IAA will become the Chair of the Board of the combined entity. With significant experience as a founder and executive in venture-backed start-ups, family offices, venture capital and consulting firms, Mr. Holt brings significant investment expertise, track record and strong community relationships to Northern Impact.
Northern Impact is also delighted to welcome Kate Murray and Andrew Vashist to its Board of Directors. Ms. Murray and Mr. Vashist are joining current Northern Impact directors Michael Lewkowitz of Possibilian Ventures, based in London, Ontario, Sean Holt of Ascent Impact, based in Toronto, Ontario, and Mark Lawrence of Northcrest Partners, also based in Toronto.
As the Chief Impact Officer at the Impact Investment Group, Kate Murray brings extensive expertise in impact measurement and integration to Northern Impact. Kate pioneered the Impact Investment Group’s impact framework to strategize, manage and measure the social and environmental impact of the firm’s property, renewable energy infrastructure and venture capital investment. With an MA in Planning from the University of Waterloo, Ms. Murray’s experience includes spearheading the development of a global industry first Livability Index for Stockland, and setting up provincial legislation and municipal policies to promote brownfield redevelopment and downtown revitalization across Canada. Ms. Murray recently returned to Toronto, Ontario from Melbourne, Australia.
Based in London, Ontario, Andre Vashist is a social innovator passionate about building inclusive, sustainable and resilient communities. As a social entrepreneur, community development professional and impact investor, he has a combined 15 years of experience. Andre currently leads the Social Enterprise and Social Finance strategy for Pillar Nonprofit Network and VERGE Capital. Supporting a network of over 200 social enterprises in Southwestern Ontario, Mr. Vashist uses an entrepreneurship mindset alongside systems thinking, impact management and program design to lead social innovation projects.