Friday, March 31, 2006

Finance4Change session

So final day, final session of the Skoll Forum. We're in the middle of a discussion of the development of a social capital market, and Tim Freundlich of the Calvert Foundation has previewed a really interesting tool for the sector. He started out by introducing an interesting service provided by a company called Venture One. Venture One gets VCs to come and provide details of closed deals, valuation, who's backing the deal, who's on the board, etc.--and Venture One (part of DowJones) takes the data, makes sense of it and sells it back to the VCs. Calvert's interpretation for the social sector is Xigi. Most of Xigi seems to be in beta phase behind a log-in right now, but the sneak peek looks really promising. One of the things that has disheartened me in the past is how we talk about collaborating and sharing information, but so far it's been in rather expensive face-to-face discussions in Geneva, London, or California a couple of times a year. This is the first time someone has taken the very logical step of creating a virtual platform where people can post news, information -- specifically about deals in this sector. Bravo Tim -- very cool.

Christy Chinn provided interesting context -- VentureOne started out as a DB that collected information about closed VC deals -- not a marketplace.

Interesting probing around the issue of whether this issue of social capital markets is possibly monopolized by Anglo-Saxons, which led to a question about whether attempts to make an emerging social capital market global will ultimately undermine interesting initiatives like Celso Grecco's Brazilian social stock exchange [warning: site will not launch on Mac :(].

Something that has struck me here at the conference. Almost to a person, everyone here talks of supply as the supply of capital , or funders, and of demand as the demand for capital, or social entrepreneurs/project leaders. Which is 180 from the way we think of it at GlobalGiving, where supply is the supply of giving opportunities, or projects, and demand is the demand of donors for appropriate projects to give to. I think we need to do this so that we can stay focused on trying to understand donors and what they want -- but it's one more way that makes me feel like I'm swimming upstream.

2 comments:

Dennis said...

Calvert Foundation has consistently driven innovation in this sector - often without being appropriately heralded for it. Shari and Tim and colleagues keep pushing the boundaries, experimenting, getting rid of the things that don't work and honing those that do. Hats off to them.

david said...

It would be really interesting to find out the progress of Venture One, now that we are in the year 2008. I beleive any type of funding to grow the social sector is good for planet earth and for humanity.

We are setting up North America's first social stock exchange connected to a green social network, called the Green Stock Exchange (GREENSX) at: http://greensx.com

The Green Stock Exchange will be launched in the Summer of 2008 to begin trading. It will trade shares in social businesses. A social business is a business that makes a profit, but benefits society as well. We have a triple bottom line (economic + social + environmental).

Since all the listed companies on the exchange are pre-screened, evaluated, and audited according to social and sustainable guidelines set by the exchange, it will make it much easier for green investors to find and support social businesses. The GREENSX provides opportunities for small green Issuers to access public equity capital efficiently, while providing early stage investors, angel investors, and venture capitalists with greater liquidity.

This includes a eBAY.com trading system for carbon credits.

It is still in the beta stage testing. Check it out at: http://greensx.com.