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The Social Capital Markets 2008 conference is underway in San Francisco. (See this earlier post for a little background.) Here are some of the interesting bits so far from the SoCap08 blog.

Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy:

...I ran into an acquaintence who works for the The Institute for the Future. She was explaining to me that trends take 30-50 years to play out. So the Internet was first developed in the 1960’s, but it took 30 years for the internet to go mainstream and yet we’re still likely 10+ years from the Internet being fully “mature” in its growth cycle. I think the same is true in social investing. The first socially responsible investment fund was launched in the 1970’s, so we’re now 30 years into the trend. I have the sense (and the panel today was a nice affirmation) that we’re hitting the “knee in the curve” of growth in social investing. But that means that if you compared our industries to the growth path of the Internet, we’re probably sitting at around 1995. 

Xavier Helgesen of BetterWorld Blog:

David Murphy, CEO of Better World Books, and yours truly are speaking at the inaugural Social Capital Markets in San Francisco. This is truly a landmark event - the first conference I’ve ever heard of based on investing with a social impact...David stressed the point about building a long-term relationship with a funding source. At Better World Books, we knew the team at Good Capital for nearly 18 months before we agreed to a deal where they would invest to help grow Better World Books. Over that time, we grew a level of trust and a depth of personal relationships.

Rob Katz of

What is democratic capital, and why should the base of the pyramid community care?  Well, on a very basic level, the democratic capital panel is all about giving investors and borrowers the power to connect directly, without the intermediation of too many financial institutions.  This person-to-person connection takes the shape of four panelists and their social enterprises:

Robert Chatwani, WorldofGood
Mads Kjaer, MyC4
Premal Shah, Kiva
Tracey Pettingill-Turner, MicroPlace

The panel’s relevance to base of the pyramid strategy and practice is clear.  Each of the panelists is working to get capital to BoP enterprises – in similar but different ways...To me, the significance of this panel is the fact that it’s taking place.  There are four fully-baked social enterprises working to get capital to the BoP.  Think about that – as recently as two years ago, there was Kiva and…Kiva.  That there’s a dynamic market, with slightly differentiated product offerings, speaks to the interest in social investing and to the ability of Kiva to tell amazing stories, which have motivated hundreds of thousands of lenders to check them out as well as MicroPlace, MyC4 and now WorldofGood.  Will four be enough?  Unlikely.  Let’s hope this isn’t the last we hear from these entrepreneurs.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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