>Twenty eleven might have started nearly a month ago, but the real work for ID has just begun. We started our 3rd calendar year in a BIG way; launching the BSP Fund with our partner Blue Sky Projects and kicking off two multi-month research projects with MIT’s SEID program and a group of student interns from Northeastern. We are also welcoming three new key players to the ID team: Christina Tamer as Marketing Intern, Serrano Legrand as Investment Intern and Alexandra Geertz as Research Coordinator. They will be joining me (founder/director Miguel Granier) and Investment Associate Sean Smith as we gear up for what should be a very big year.
Introducing the BSP Fund
The biggest change that we are ushering in this year is the BSP Fund. ID started over a year and half ago as an intermediary for impact investors interested in seed-stage investing. With the BSP Fund, we have emerged as a partner and manager of a seed stage fund focused on supporting mobile and alternative energy start-ups targeting emerging markets. It’s a very exciting time for us, our partners, and the entrepreneurs joining our growing portfolio.
Despite the sudden announcement, this change is something that we have been planning for a long time. BSP Fund is unique in many ways and that presented several hurdles for both ID and our partner Blue Sky Projects. In designing a fund, we wanted to maintain the strong ideals and commitment to seed-stage investing that lead to the creation of ID in the first place. We also wanted to maintain the “exit” flexibility that is required by our fledgling industry. It was a lot to ask, but we found a deeply committed ally in Blue Sky Projects.
The BSP Fund Thesis
BSP Fund was brought together to support the belief that poverty isn’t caused by scarcity but poor logistics and that mobile telecommunications and alternative (disaggregated) energy will help alleviate that bottleneck more than any other innovations of our time (that’s a bold statement, and we will spend some time in this blog backing that up, so be sure to keep coming back). This belief has put a razor sharp focus on our fund. We break down our focus into two key categories, Mobile Transaction Systems and Alternative Energy Systems. I won’t get into detail here, but you can expect more in the coming weeks.
Beyond the sector focus, we have also developed a unique approach to exits that better reflects the market and uncertainty of impact investing. BSP Fund does not have a fixed horizon and there is not asset liquidation required. That might make it sound like charity, but far from it. We believe that the focus on short-term, massive exits via acquisition or public offering is not well suited for companies in emerging markets. Instead, we need to focus on building strong SME’s that will create local jobs, wealth and institutions that will support development of those economies for decades to come. Of course that is not easy to do as an investor looking to get a solid, near market, return on investment. We hope that with BSP Fund we have figured out a way. More on that in the coming weeks as well.
As a welcome back this has already gotten a little long so we’ll cut it off here. Expect us to return to a regular blog schedule and be sure to follow all company updates on Twitter (@InvestedD) and www.facebook.com/investeddevelopment.
Welcome back and thanks for your continued interest in and support of Invested Development.