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“The point of our investments was mission, not profit,” says Carol Newell, founding investor and principal of Renewal Partners, an early investor in B Corps Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation and the predecessor to Renewal Funds. “And part of the Renewal Funds mission is to prove that you can get a good return on it.”

Photo courtesy Renewal Funds

Renewal Funds founders, left to right: Carol Newell, Paul Richardson, Joel Solomon.

Renewal Funds, which evolved out of Renewal Partners in 2008, is a venture capital firm investing in early growth stage companies in Canada and the United States. Renewal Funds currently has two funds (Renewal2 and Renewal3) and a total of $98 million under management, with investments in more than 20 companies with six realizations and only one write-off thus far. Between Renewal2 and Renewal3, Renewal Funds has 193 investors from the U.S., Canada and Europe, including more than 20 charitable foundations. They are approaching the end of the Renewal3 investment period, and although for regulatory reasons they cannot publicly discuss plans for future funds, given their track record and appetite for scaling impact, my bet is that Renewal3 isn’t their last fund.

“Overall, we invest in companies that we see as fundamentally changing the way that industry works,” says Paul Richardson, Renewal Funds co-founder and managing partner. “We’re not a typical venture fund in that we’re happy to support companies that have long-term, steady growth periods, rather than short-term skyrocket investment periods.”

Renewal Funds is game-changing in part because of their investment thesis and portfolio company management strategies, and perhaps most of all because of the quality of the partnerships that Renewal Funds secures for its portfolio companies upon exit. Last year alone, Renewal Funds helped secure four high-impact acquisitions for four of its portfolio companies.

“Everybody thinks about mission investments, and everybody’s talking about impact, but thinking through how you exit, making sure that you do it in a way that respects the people who built the company and its purpose is critical,” Richardson says. “Three out of the four portfolio companies that we sold in 2017 were B Corps at the time that they exited, and the other one would have definitely qualified, had they applied. A sale transaction for that type of company requires consideration of a broader set of stakeholders.”

For those in a hurry, check out the infographic&nbsp;on Page 4 that summarizes “The Four Questions For A High-Impact Exit.” For those want to hear directly from a leading impact investor, here are some highlights from a recent conversation I had with Paul Richardson.

Let’s start at the beginning. How does Renewal find the right investors for your fund?

Richardson: It’s been a good time to try and find partners because more people are becoming interested in aligning their money with their values. We start all of our conversations with our investors around the fact that we are a mission-focused venture fund and the mission side of what we do is as important as the financial side. We don’t talk about short-term IRRs; we talk about goals over the life of the fund. I think this helps to align people to the idea that we’re going to be patient with their capital, and they should be patient with us to see how things transpire. We look at all of our investors as equally important, and so whether you’ve invested $250,000 or $2.5 million, you have exactly the same terms with us. And, by having such a large network of investors, we have this incredible source of intellectual capital and experience that we can bring to bear to help our companies, if necessary.

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“The point of our investments was mission, not profit,” says Carol Newell, founding investor and principal of Renewal Partners, an early investor in B Corps Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation and the predecessor to Renewal Funds. “And part of the Renewal Funds mission is to prove that you can get a good return on it.”

Photo courtesy Renewal Funds

Renewal Funds founders, left to right: Carol Newell, Paul Richardson, Joel Solomon.

Renewal Funds, which evolved out of Renewal Partners in 2008, is a venture capital firm investing in early growth stage companies in Canada and the United States. Renewal Funds currently has two funds (Renewal2 and Renewal3) and a total of $98 million under management, with investments in more than 20 companies with six realizations and only one write-off thus far. Between Renewal2 and Renewal3, Renewal Funds has 193 investors from the U.S., Canada and Europe, including more than 20 charitable foundations. They are approaching the end of the Renewal3 investment period, and although for regulatory reasons they cannot publicly discuss plans for future funds, given their track record and appetite for scaling impact, my bet is that Renewal3 isn’t their last fund.

“Overall, we invest in companies that we see as fundamentally changing the way that industry works,” says Paul Richardson, Renewal Funds co-founder and managing partner. “We’re not a typical venture fund in that we’re happy to support companies that have long-term, steady growth periods, rather than short-term skyrocket investment periods.”

Renewal Funds is game-changing in part because of their investment thesis and portfolio company management strategies, and perhaps most of all because of the quality of the partnerships that Renewal Funds secures for its portfolio companies upon exit. Last year alone, Renewal Funds helped secure four high-impact acquisitions for four of its portfolio companies.

“Everybody thinks about mission investments, and everybody’s talking about impact, but thinking through how you exit, making sure that you do it in a way that respects the people who built the company and its purpose is critical,” Richardson says. “Three out of the four portfolio companies that we sold in 2017 were B Corps at the time that they exited, and the other one would have definitely qualified, had they applied. A sale transaction for that type of company requires consideration of a broader set of stakeholders.”

For those in a hurry, check out the infographic on Page 4 that summarizes “The Four Questions For A High-Impact Exit.” For those want to hear directly from a leading impact investor, here are some highlights from a recent conversation I had with Paul Richardson.

Let’s start at the beginning. How does Renewal find the right investors for your fund?

Richardson: It’s been a good time to try and find partners because more people are becoming interested in aligning their money with their values. We start all of our conversations with our investors around the fact that we are a mission-focused venture fund and the mission side of what we do is as important as the financial side. We don’t talk about short-term IRRs; we talk about goals over the life of the fund. I think this helps to align people to the idea that we’re going to be patient with their capital, and they should be patient with us to see how things transpire. We look at all of our investors as equally important, and so whether you’ve invested $250,000 or $2.5 million, you have exactly the same terms with us. And, by having such a large network of investors, we have this incredible source of intellectual capital and experience that we can bring to bear to help our companies, if necessary.

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