Impact Investing: How can startups like Kalgera make 'doing good' pay?
Can doing good pay off for investors?
Kalgera is a company with a social aim and we want to make a positive impact on the community around us and the wider world. We need to make profit so we can not only bring innovative services to our customers but so we can earn a living and meet our obligations to our regulators and investors.
The focus of the impact we are making is in the improvement of financial inclusion of vulnerable people, and we are starting with older people and those who care for them. This section of society tends to be an overlooked part of our communities outside the realms of health and social care. However, as our population ages this niche will make up an increasingly large part of society with its own unique set of concerns and needs.
Capitalism has traditionally prioritised maximising profit, but it is now becoming clear that business ventures that solely prioritise maximal profit and efficiencies are less sustainable, especially if they unintentionally open up vulnerable communities to exploitation. Impact investments are an alternative to this traditional model and has the potential to address the dilemmas facing capitalism today. Many businesses do struggle to strike a balance between short term revenue generation targets and the often more long term social and the environment impact of the business.
Revenue that ensures the viability of a venture with sustainable growth benefits us all as we all share the indirect benefits of responsible business. According to the Global Impact Investing Network, impact investments are those made into companies, organisations and funds that intend to generate a positive social impact alongside a healthy financial return.
Is there evidence to support change?
Impact investors are eager to demonstrate that social value and competitive financial returns are not necessarily mutually exclusive, according to the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Until recently little more than the profit made has been considered when making an investment, which might have been due to difficulties foreseeing the impact that is only revealed over a long period of time and is complicated to measure.
In addition, an increasing number of companies are being exposed for failing to address exploitative and/or harmful practices, particularly on social media platforms. This has resulted in investors, particularly millennials, demanding a wider and deeper range of information about social and environmental impact when assessing investment opportunities. Barclays, recently found that millennials are four times more likely than older people to invest their money to achieve a social or environmental impact. This may be because the parameters considered when investing are widening and take into account mistakes that have been made and which younger generations feel it is their duty to address.
Can change happen?
Kalgera is an example of a company that is able to show the potential for both financial gains as well as having a significant positive social impact. For example, safeguarding vulnerable people from financial abuse and scams is likely to have great positive effects on quality of life and overall wellbeing for the individual as well as their social support system (i.e. their caregivers and relatives).
Our Founder, Dr Dexter Penn, founded Kalgera after caring for Peter*, one of his hospital patients. Peter was due to be discharged into a care home when it was discovered that a large sum of money had been taken from his savings. Scamming affects five million older people in the UK every year and by safeguarding the lives of older and vulnerable loved ones, Kalgera prevents much heartache and stress while simultaneously having a positive impact on the nation’s economy.
Kalgera also embraces a diverse and inclusive team, representing an underserved market that we aim to help and offering fresh insight while listening to their customers. Additionally, our vision actively dismantles the harmful stereotype that only the young are able to use technology. With careful consideration of how it can be adapted to meet the needs of older people, technology can be both accessible and helpful, and of huge benefit to improving our quality of life.
Is there a future of Impact Investing?
There’s good reason to believe that impact as a marker of investment quality will be used more in the future. A study by Barclays into impact investing behaviour found 90% of those that have invested previously in impact investments were likely to do so again. This indicates that even after the “feel good” factor has worn off, impact investments make financial sense to continue to pursue. In turn, this has the potential to attract more investors and become a more commonly used measure.
Perhaps more importantly, impact investing creates a financial return without a guilty conscience, as investors are reassured that their money is contributing positively to the improvement of the society in which they live and participate. §
Note: Kalgera is not responsible for the content of external websites and this article does not constitute investment advice. Please seek advice from a regulated financial advisor to see if impact investment is right for your portfolio. *Peter’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.