Why impact investors Soul Capital partner with Gemelli to build healthy homes for under-served communities
There’s a new generation of investment experts who believe profit doesn’t have to happen at the expense of people and planet, and the success of their investment funds is proving they’re right.
Seeking social or environmental impact alongside financial return
CEO of Soul Capital Jamie Newth explains, “We manage impact investment funds and invest in ventures, enterprises, and projects that provide a strong positive social or environmental impact alongside financial return. Our goal is to drive a more inclusive, sustainable economy by catalysing an investment ecosystem focused on impactful enterprise.”
“Our investors and co-investors are often community trusts and family offices. But investors can be anyone looking for strong impact alongside financial return. And we do work with mainstream investors because increasingly their clients want what we're doing.”
“Our investor partners’ impact goals and financial goals need to be aligned with the right investments. Impact investments offer positive impact and financial return and sometimes financial returns are lower, but that isn’t always the case. Some funds want to invest in projects that deliver positive impact and a return that matches market rate. Other funds prioritise impact and accept lower returns. The investments we choose need to fit with what our investors seek.”
Safe hands and strong values
Jamie has worked with James from the very beginning of Soul Capital in 2014. He recalls, “I connected with James when Soul Capital was just an idea and got him around the table to help me figure out what it could be. We got his wise council on day zero, and as Soul Capital has grown, James established Gemelli and we’ve been able to draw on their knowledge of property investment in the social impact space, using their property advisory expertise to help us evolve our property investment strategy and evaluate potential housing projects.”
“When we have a property investment opportunity we pull in Gemelli to assess its feasibility and strategic fit. Gemelli supports our commercial financial modelling, but they also connect financial return to the positive social impact for the people who’ll live in those new homes. There are lots of smart people out there who can assess the financial viability of a project, but we go to Gemelli to understand if a project will deliver impact outcomes and work as an investment. Gemelli is a safe, pair of hands, and they’re on entirely the same page as us when it comes to values. We consider ourselves one team.”
A creative approach to funding property developments
One of Gemelli’s core areas of expertise is identifying creative ways to fund property projects with social impact. From leveraging assets in new ways to investigating new funding sources, our creative funding abilities help Soul Capital maximise impact for investors.
Jamie says, “One of the funds we’re using Gemelli’s expertise on at the moment is called Te Pae ki te Rangi, built in partnership with Foundation North. Because of the priorities of that fund, housing is a natural investment choice. But housing's a challenge because we don't have much money and housing is expensive. So, we've called on Gemelli to help us create a strategy to find a way to play in housing that is innovative and catalytic and creates new property investment models that can be replicated.”
“Our deep alignment in terms of values is very important to me. Gemelli combines a strong financial modelling analysis capability with an understanding of our commercial context and our impact priorities. Working with them, we’ve learned a lot about the economics of housing, and the subtleties of impact for communities from different models of housing and how those models deliver different social outcomes.”
“I would have no hesitation recommending Gemelli. In fact, it’s not hypothetical, I do recommend them to people, frequently. And I'd encourage you to get Gemelli in early and get them involved in your development strategy early on because they can add real value. They're not just a feasibility company. Many times, I’ve seen them connect the strategy of an organisation with housing projects or other investment projects.”
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