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Sails of Consciousness

Frank van Beuningen December 1, 2010

When you come to Amsterdam in May for SOCAP Europe, you will know that wind and sea are part of our lives here. And so I think this way of the social capital movement: a small sailboat has become a beautiful windjammer, the wind catches the sails of consciousness, and the tides are in our favor to get underway.
PYMWYMIC is honoured to partner with SOCAP, who come to Amsterdam with the great team that built the success of SOCAP ‘08, ’09, and ’10 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together, we’re listening and talking with new and old friends across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East as we get ready to return to the Beurs: what should be here now, what do you need, and also – what do you bring? That is the beauty of SOCAP and why we at PYMWYMIC said yes. SOCAP is alive, co-creative, responsive, and full of the energy of a marketplace that Kevin describes.
It is a livelier market than ever before. When we named and started the PYMWYMIC (Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is Company) Fund in 1995, it was a challenge to find either investors, or any pipeline. So we sailed to the States. We learned from early pioneers like Wayne Silby at Calvert, and Josh Mailman at Investors Circle, and the late great Eckhart Wintzen here in Holland, and PYMWYMIC set up shop in Amsterdam. In years since, we directly invested or did PYMWYMIC fundraising for 27 early impact companies:  13 were pure seed social venture capital; 2 were seed capital for Benelux; 4 investments were 2nd round seed; 6 were expansion; and one investment was an early MFI that stays very stable. To turn back to the sea: sometimes the sailing was smooth, sometimes a very bad storm – but as an ocean racer, I tell you:  it is a fantastic challenge, it is never the same, and it is all worth it.
And while we pressed on, the marketplace slowly filled with colour and people and product.  Foundations and government joined.  The next generation came.  Now Grey Ghost works with DOEN, Tim Freundlich and Ron Cordes announce the creation of ImpactAssets and the Global 50 index of fund managers, and friends at Root Capital, ResponsAbility and BID are honored by the G-20. Now, the market is stable enough that the academics and engineers have set up stalls– we at PYMWYMIC are learning these languages of GIIRS and IRIS and SROI and PULSE. We are working with DOEN and Erasmus University to see if it is possible to measure impact from some of the last 15 years. We’ll tell you what we discover, at SOCAP Europe.
Feel the power of the sun and wind in this movement toward money with meaning, and the pulse of the market.  Book your ticket to join us in Amsterdam, May 30 kickoff.  And next time, I will answer Kevin’s real question:  Why not another fund?

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