Impact Investing Just Doesn’t Cut It

November 27, 2018


Given the UN Climate Report released a few weeks ago, by the time my eight-year-old daughter graduates from high school, we’ll be invery big trouble. Yikes.

After reading the report, I thought through a list of my instinctive yet unproductive reactions:

  1. Attempt to persuade someone who does not believe the risks are real
  2. Rely on politicians to solve it
  3. Rant on social media and throw away my computer

Upon further reflection, I had an epiphany. For the last few years I’ve been investing in areas that specifically solve these massive problems, and trying to galvanize the investor community as well. I’ve often felt perplexed by the lukewarm response…or lack of response at all, despite the impressive investment returns.

Perhaps my problem is that I’ve been describing what these “deep tech” companies DO – engineering at the atomic, molecular, organism, and complex system levels – instead of what they SOLVE: climate change, resource scarcity, and sustainability. Maybe that’s part of the disconnect.

We need substantially more investment and support of deep tech (hard science + technology) if we want any chance of solving these pressing global issues. How do we move onto the next generation of “impact investing”?

Do we call it “survival investing”?

And how do we incentivize it?


PS. From our first conversation with Synthego co-founders (and brothers) Paul and Michael Dabrowski, Jeff and I were sold on their mission to ensure that everyone, not just the wealthy, has access to revolutionary gene editing technology… Synthego was among OS Fund’s first investments in 2015, and we’re thrilled they’re getting an additional $110M in investment to grow their business!