Canopy Announces New Collaborations with Two Pacific Northwest Investment Opportunities

By: Lauren Sato - Dec 10, 2015
Source: Canopy

Craft3 and the Salmon and Steelhead Innovation Fund support regional communities and entrepreneurs

When Canopy launched last spring, a core component of our mission was to provide regional investors a pipeline of scalable, place-based investment opportunities that support communities and create financial returns. Six months later, we’ve identified many of the Pacific Northwest’s regionally-oriented investment fund managers; and today we’re excited to announce new collaborations with two such funds.

These collaborations underscore Canopy’s commitment to bolstering the regional economy in the Pacific Northwest through our unique approach to education and investment research. By providing selected fund managers with trainings related to fund management and detailed feedback gathered during the investment research process, we hope to deepen capacity within these organizations. By providing high quality investment research on investment opportunities to Canopy’s growing membership base, investors are able to make better investment decisions.

The two funds selected highlight the breadth and versatility of Canopy’s platform. One is a well-established, non-profit lender. The other is a newly formed private investment vehicle focused on regional fisheries. Though different in many ways, both funds have a deep commitment to place.

Lending to People, Investing for Resilience

The first of the selected funds, Craft3, is an esteemed, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI). Its mission is to strengthen economic, ecological and family resilience in low-income and underserved communities across Oregon and Washington. Its track record is exemplary. Since 1994, Craft3 has extended more than $360 million in loans to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, individuals and others who wouldn’t otherwise have had access to financing. Over the same timeframe, Craft3’s loans have benefitted over 68,392 low- and moderate-income families and created or retained 10,490 jobs in the regional economy.

So how can Canopy support such an experienced and successful fund manager? The answer lies in our business model, which facilitates collaborative investments. Canopy’s systems and expertise can help Craft3 attract new investment capital from a broader pool of mission-aligned investors throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

This collaborative approach to capital formation could save Craft3 significant resources associated with designing unique individual funding channels. Additionally, infusions of new capital will help the company expand delivery of its resources across the region.

According to President and CEO John Berdes, “Craft3 seeks to accelerate the flow of capital to those in need. Through Canopy, we look to engage with investors who share our commitment to a regional resilience strategy. Together, we can advance entrepreneurship, economic opportunity, ethnic/ racial equality and resource conservation across Oregon and Washington.”

Local Impact, Global Potential

The second fund, the Salmon and Steelhead Innovation Fund (SSIF), is a new, strategic offering led by veteran Seattle investment manager Brock Mansfield. As the name implies, this fund invests in early stage innovations that positively and measurably influence Pacific Rim salmonid fisheries and support the salmonid economy. Specifically, the fund will be investing in emerging technologies that have broad market applications, but can be modified or adapted to address challenges related to salmon and steelhead restoration efforts.

At its core, SSIF is designed to bring early stage risk capital to the effort to restore salmon and steelhead populations to historical levels. As Mr. Mansfield points out, this is important because “the health of these fish stocks impact everything from environmental health to food security to economic growth.” As a NW-based fund, SSIF is also about “pride of place, proving risk capital can have a meaningful impact on preserving an iconic and culturally relevant species.”

At Canopy, we see real value in this investment strategy, which supports a critical industry and natural resource within the Pacific Northwest. In addition to bringing proven investment talent to the impact sector, another reason we like this fund is that it offers potential benefits that extend beyond our region. This aligns with Canopy’s interest in supporting strategies that can be built in one place and adopted by another – a philosophy which applies to Canopy itself. Our work in the Pacific Northwest is, essentially, a pilot for a broader business model that promotes regional investing throughout the United States.

What does working with Canopy mean for a fledgling fund like SSIF? According to Mr. Mansfield, it’s all about access to training, resources and networks. While an experienced investor, this is Mansfield’s first impact investment fund. So Canopy’s ability to help him raise capital from institutional investors or track regional impact is of “huge value.”

Building Momentum

At its core, Canopy is designed to increase capital flows into the regional economy through collaborative approaches to community-based investing. To accomplish this, Canopy provides shared investment research and education for investors who want to put capital to work close to home.

Craig Muska, Canopy’s president, describes the approach as balanced and diversified to advance members’ needs. “By building relationships with a broad range of regional fund managers, we’re able to identify well-established but little-known opportunities. Likewise, we’re able to pinpoint resident entrepreneurs with new ideas that have game-changing potential.”

Canopy will work with at least four additional funds in 2016, so stay tuned for more news on future investment opportunities. You can find additional information about our work here.