GoalsInvestment Criteria The fund will invest in ventures that are cash-flow positive and that are in the following platforms: Sustainable Energy, Agriculture/Water, Rural Infrastructure, Urban Renewal and Financial Inclusion. In Phase 1 of WHATIF we will deploy at least 60% of the funds in the USA; attract debt-capital and private equity for specific projects that we have identified within our platforms. We will invest in social ventures that have been in business for 2 plus years. In Phase 2 we plan to raise investment per our platforms and this will be an open-fund. In case any of the WHATIF assets (companies) need additional funding that is beyond the scope of WHATIF, a separate entity/fund will be created specifically for that purpose. Current investors in WHATIF will have first priority to participate.
Key Differentiators of WHATIF
WHATIF management team is comprised of entrepreneurs and investment professionals that have actually funded, managed and/or founded social ventures.
The Wharton/Penn ecosystem has provided much leadership in the field of 'impact investing' – our strong network allows us to identify sources of capital, maintain a strong deal flow and identify management/board teams – the Wharton alumni community is also a great conduit to working with other major university alumni and renowned financial institutions.
We have developed a 'platform strategy' for investing in our ventures. This allows us to fund individual businesses as well as pool funding and resources for the particular sector – we believe this unique business model affords great flexibility for all shareholders.
Whenever possible we try to invest in a business with a unique technology and/or business model and/or underutilized sector with a large unmet need– this allows us to maintain a strong advantage and accelerates growth within the investment platform.
WHATIF at all times will be 51% owned and managed by women and minorities and at least 60% of all funding will be deployed in the USA.
A transparent approach to measuring the 'true impact' of our investments is a fundamental tenet of WHATIF – we work closely with leaders both within Wharton and across the impact investment sector to identify 'best in class' strategies for achieving positive outcomes.
Measuring Our 'True Impact' To begin, WHATIF defines and measures impact based on the problems or challenges addressed by each sector of its investment focus. At WHATIF we 1) identify the problem that the venture addresses, 2) quantify the existing state (severity of the problem in the targeted zone), and 3) set a target quantity by which the investment will improve on the existing state.
An example in Africa:
The underlying problem in Africa that many parties seek to address is 'Poverty.' By defining and quantifying 'poverty' (i.e. family income <= $1,000 per year) and then quantifying the existing state (average household income in the targeted region is $700 per year) we can measure the impact of an investment based on what progress the investment achieved in alleviating the problem for its target group or target region (i.e. raise income by $500/year for 1000 farmer households).
Rigorous metrics and industry standards will be deployed by WHATIF in every investment to measure outcomes.