I got involved with impact investing by accident. My family showed up on an agricultural community in the south of Israel, a kibbutz, to hang out with my kids for a couple of years and write books. It was really hot and sunny, and we founded (with my partners) the solar industry; that meant we had to put our own money in and we were all in. We were able to accomplish for profit goals as well as environmental and geostrategic at the same time.
I was involved with NGOs for 25 years, and I’m proud of the work that we did, but at this point, I only want to spend time on things that are systemic and can scale in a massive way. So we’re looking to kill carbon, alleviate poverty, help orphans, and advance peace wherever we can. These things take big money and it takes business models, so we develop business models and then we fund them to be able to scale hopefully world changing models that bring solar energy as part of development around the world, particularly in Africa.
I come from the Jewish faith, I come from a social action background – a lot of human rights campaigning. I think we are the luckiest generation that humanity has ever had, and with that comes a lot of responsibility for those who have education and ability and networks.
What a great feeling when you can do quadruple bottom line investing.
I think, morally, if you invite other people to co-invest with you, you have to be all in. Because if you’re not all in, it’s just doesn’t feel right, at least to me. You need a global village of impact investors to scale. I think we have a moral obligation to go all in before accepting money from other people.