Thinking Like an Impact Investor to Raise Money: Mike Winterfield – Episode 17

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Podcast

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Whether you’re looking for impact investments now, in the future, or never, there is a mindset here that everyone needs to take note of. This episode I got to sit down with Mike Winterfield, Managing Partner of Active Impact Investments. They’ve been instrumental in deploying over $10 million in capital to businesses that create social or environmental impact.

In this episode, we dive into everything from how they define impact companies, what it’s like starting a venture capital firm, how their model is different and allows impact investors to get more involved, and 3 big mistakes that people make when raising money.

About Mike Winterfield and Active Impact Investments

Mike Winterfield is the founder and Managing Partner of Active Impact Investments, a venture capital firm in Vancouver, BC that deploys investments to impact companies. Mike’s 15+ years in vice president, president, and advisory roles lead him into making personal investments, and then to start this current firm. Mike was also named one of the Top 40 under 40.

Find Mike on LinkedIn

Find Mike on Twitter: @mikewinterfield

Active Impact Investments is a certified B Corp that manages a limited partnership fund with $10M in assets under management. They exclusively invest in small private companies that solve an important social or environmental problem and we gladly provide extensive post-investment support. This isn’t charity. Their portfolio includes and is seeking some of the most successful startups in Canada that are capable of achieving venture scale and becoming extremely profitable. They invest in exceptional leaders that are running a software or high-growth services company with $200K to $2M in revenue.

Find on website:

Find Active Impact Investments on LinkedIn

Everything We Talked About in This Episode

[03:44] The early version of Active Impact Investments

[04:40] What it’s like investing someone else’s money for the first time

[06:42] QUOTE: “Thinking about, if I were to have a formal process and I were to repeat this hundreds of times over what would the ideal process look like”

[06:59] Why their model is different than normal, allowing investors to get involved in the business

[12:25] How involved are your investors in making investment decisions

[14:45] One-third of their investors didn’t invest because of impact, they did it for financial returns

[15:34] QUOTE: “Is it okay to take money that simply wants to make money? And we ended up landing on yeah it is”

[17:37] How Active Impact Investments defines impact companies or social enterprises

[20:06] Reference to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)

[20:46] QUOTE: “The first test we said we would do is we would look a founder in the eyes and we would ask them why they are running their business and we would search for authenticity in the problem they’re trying to solve.”

[21:47] How active impact investments measures impact: SDG alignment and report, B Corp Scores, 1 Primary Impact Measure

[26:25] QUOTE: “You could have a company that creates positive impact and is not a b corp, and that is actually more appealing to us than a company that’s a certified b corp but is not creating impact”

[28:43] Reference to Start with Why by Simon Sinek

[30:23] What mistakes are businesses making when looking for investors?

  • 1 – People looking for funding when they should be looking for customers
  • 2 – People think investors want to screen you out when they want to screen you in
  • 3 – Having the wrong conversation with the wrong people

[33:02] QUOTE: “If that’s ever the case that you can go and get a million dollars in revenue instead of a million dollars in investment, go do that, please.”

[40:33] What’s next for Active Impact Investments

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