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Who is investing in B Corps?

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?

General

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

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?"

Investor Paper

Download "Just Good Business: An Investor's Guide to B Corps by Yale, Patagonia and Caprock".

Venture Capital

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:

  • Sequoia
  • Benchmark Capital
  • Founders Fund
  • Andreessen Horowitz
  • Google Ventures (GV)
  • Prelude Ventures
  • Tao Capital Partners
  • Hunt Technology Partners
  • Shasta Ventures
  • Fyrfly Venture Partners
  • Khosla Ventures
  • S2G
  • Collaborative Fund
  • Blueberry Ventures
  • Thrive Capital
  • General Catalyst
  • Chicago Ventures
  • LiveOak Venture Partners
  • Sherpa Asset Management
  • Octopus Ventures


 

Some particular examples include:

Altschool

An education company that had already raised $130M from the venture community, announced a $40M raise in May 2017.

Lemonade

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.

Data.world

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

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

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.

Danone

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...".

Unilever

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.

Coca-Cola

In 2018, Innocent Drinks became the first subsidiary of Coca-Cola to certify as a B Corp.

Natura

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.

Rally Software

Was acquired as a public company in 2015 for $480 million.

Silver Chef

Trades as a public company on the Australian Stock Exchange.


Extracts from: How investors really feel about B Corps?

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  1. John Featherby

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