As of 2017, over $1.4 billion has been invested in B Corps. But this is only what's known by B Lab: most B Corps are privately owned so most investment is in the private markets.
This figure is in the context of an investable pool that is small, illustrating the active nature of B Corp investment. In total, there are only 3,000 B Corps worldwide. And they are of all sizes and sectors, further reducing the number that would represent a target opportunity for any given investment strategy. As such, B Corps are an active recipient of investment attention.
However, B Corp engagement for investors goes beyond the initial investment and into management. The B Impact Assessment has also become a widely used and respected tool to analyse, benchmark and improve portfolio company performance, regardless of whether the user is a B Corp or not. Whilst there are only 3,000 B Corps, there are 100,000 organisations - including a broad range of investors - using the BIA to improve performance and lower risk.
What Is The Performance Data?
The evidence for pursuing a more purpose-driven way of doing business is not only compelling, it's overwhelming: see: "What data and evidence is there for a "better", more purpose-driven approach to business?"
B Corps are the gold standard within that paradigm, so the general evidence surrounding purpose-driven companies certainly applies to them. But as far as B Corp specific research goes, there hasn't been much research completed yet (primarily because of the movement's relative youth). What has been carried out is very encouraging: see: "What evidence is there that B Corps outperform?"
Over 122 venture capital firms have invested in a B Corp, many B Corps receiving multiple funding rounds. The investor group includes virtually every Silicon Valley venture-capital firm has invested in a B Corp, including:
- Benchmark Capital
- Founders Fund
- Andreessen Horowitz
- Google Ventures (GV)
- Prelude Ventures
- Tao Capital Partners
- Hunt Technology Partners
- Shasta Ventures
- Fyrfly Venture Partners
- Khosla Ventures
- Collaborative Fund
- Blueberry Ventures
- Thrive Capital
- General Catalyst
- Chicago Ventures
- LiveOak Venture Partners
- Sherpa Asset Management
- Octopus Ventures
Some particular examples include:
An education company that had already raised $130M from the venture community, announced a $40M raise in May 2017.
In April 2017, Lemonade, a peer-to-peer personal insurance startup, received a strategic investment from Allianz, after having closed a $34 million Series B round in December 2016.
In March 2017, Data.world, an Austin-based tech startup, announced that it had secured a $19M Series B round.
Private Equity & Public Companies
TowerBrook Capital Partners
In February 2019, TowerBrook became the world's first mainstream private equity firm to certify as a B Corp.
Lombard Odier, the Swiss bank, were the first mainstream banking institution to certify, also in early 2019. This covers their asset management division as well, which includes a range of alternative investment strategies, such as private equity.
Laureate Education is a KKR-backed higher education company with campuses around the world. In February 2017, Laureate raised $490 million in an IPO having previously closed a $383 million private equity pre-IPO round in December 2016, which included Apollo Management, KKR and the Abraaj Group. Subsequent to the IPO, a Fidelity fund disclosed filed a 13G disclosing that it had bought 10 per cent of Laureate’s Class A Common Stock on the open market.
In April 2018, Danone, the French multinational, announced that it had combined all of its U.S. operations into DanoneWave, a $6 billion revenue company that intends to certify as a B Corp by 2020. Danone even had their cost of capital reduced on the basis of their B Corp relationship, see: "Every CFO should know this...".
Pukka has recently been acquired by Unilever. That makes Pukka Unilever’s fourth B Corp acquisition alongside Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation and Mea Terra.
In 2018, Innocent Drinks became the first subsidiary of Coca-Cola to certify as a B Corp.
Brazil’s largest cosmetics business is publicly traded. Natura's acquisition of Avon - also listed - created the world's fourth-largest beauty brand with $10Bn revenue; the first time a listed company's board sold itself to a B Corp. Read more.
Was acquired as a public company in 2015 for $480 million.
Trades as a public company on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Extracts from: How investors really feel about B Corps?