Social Ventures Australia’s latest impact investment fund raises $10 million, evidence of growth in the Australian impact investing market

Social Ventures Australia’s (SVA) newest impact investment fund, the SVA Diversified Impact Fund, has received commitments exceeding its $10 million minimum size and will reach first close sooner than expected.

Investors include the Myer Family Foundation, the Benevolent Society Endowment, AMP Foundation, Julian Harris Family Foundation, Trawalla Foundation, Bryan Family Foundation, and approximately 40 other trusts, foundations and high net worth individuals.

Michael Lynch, Executive Director of SVA Impact Investing, says the way the fund was received by these large foundations points to the growing maturity of the Australian impact investing market.

“The fundraising process has made it clear to us that there has been real shift in the way impact investing is viewed,” Lynch says.

“Impact investing is now being taken seriously as a way to generate social outcomes without taking a haircut on financial returns.

“We’ve already doubled the amount we raised for our first impact fund, since it was almost half funded by Government. And we’re hoping to triple it by final close in early 2018.”

The fund, which launched in September, is the first of its kind in Australia because it includes downside protection at no cost to investors from leading philanthropists, including the families of Joseph Skrzynski, Geoff Wilson and Bob Bryan.

SVA plans first close before Christmas, but is open to roughly $3 million in additional investment before reaching final close in early 2018.

Alex Oppes, SVA impact investing director, and the director of the fund, says the team is now turning their attention to potential investments. The fund is looking to make 10-15 investments between $500,000 and $1.5 million. The first of these will occur early in 2018.

The fund will be making debt and equity investments in social purpose organisations that are post-revenue, ready to scale, and focused on creating social impact in Australia. An example of the type of investment the team is looking for is STREAT, an organisation which provides training and employment opportunities to at-risk youth. It received a $1.25 million loan from SVA’s Social Impact Fund to expand its facilities and scale its operations to a point of self-sustainability.

Investees get access to SVA’s unique social sector expertise, valuable hands-on support, and access to SVA’s extensive network.

“We are looking to invest in great organisations that are ready to take on repayable capital to scale their operations and social impact,” Oppes says.

“Our ultimate goal is to create systems change in order to improve the lives of people in need in Australia.”