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May 04, 2013

More than $90 Million Invested in SJF Ventures Fund
    by Robert Kropp

SJF Ventures, a sustainable venture capital partnership, conducts the final closing of its SJF Ventures III fund with more than $90 million in equity investments in cleantech and technology-enhanced services.

SocialFunds.com -- Sustainable investment has maintained an upward trajectory in the US for the past decade, as the annual reports from US SIF The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment have documented. The organization's 2012 Trends Report identified assets totaling $3.74 trillion that are devoted to sustainable investment strategies.

Still, as Cary Krosinsky, the Executive Director of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets (NSFM), wrote in a recent white paper, only $400B of that amount is invested according to positive strategies that identify best performers or other sustainability factors.

The majority of sustainable assets in the US remain invested according to such negative screening policies as those relating to Sudan, both US SIF and Krosinsky report. Krosinsky of Trucost wrote in his foreword to the book Evolutions in Sustainable Investment: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership, "Take a purely values-based approach, and you risk missing the very same practical opportunities in eco-efficiency and innovation, where the sustainability we require will come from."

One venture capital partnership that takes eco-efficiency and innovation seriously is SJF Ventures. The firm focuses its investment strategies on companies in the resource efficiency and technology-enhanced services sectors. One company in which SJF has invested, eRecyclingCorps, announced earlier this year that it has completed 10 million wireless device trade-ins since its launch in 2009.

eRecyclingCorps was a constituent in the portfolio of the SJF Ventures II fund, which raised $28 million for investment in companies that meet the firm's sustainability criteria. As successful as that fund has been, its size is dwarfed by the SJF Ventures III fund. This week, SJF Ventures announced the final closing on the new fund, which has attracted more than $90 million in capital commitments. The fund is the first Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Impact Fund to be licensed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Among the institutional investors in the fund are Calvert Investments and Trillium Asset Management.

The original target for SJF Ventures III was $75 million. "We are honored that so many investors choose to join our partnership," said David Kirkpatrick, SJF Managing Director, noting that SJF Ventures II is performing in the top quartile of all US venture capital funds.

Last March, when SJF Ventures announced the initial closing of its SJF Ventures III fund, Kirkpatrick reported that the firm had invested in 34 companies employing more than 7,500 people.

In November, SJF Ventures received the annual award for best impact investing product from TBLI Group, a Netherlands-based sustainable finance consultant.

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