Blogging SOCAP 2008

today I am at the social capital markets 2008 conference, aka socap 2008 and the conference is absolutely bustling with energy and people. i will be putting together a more polished post later on for om, but i will be putting down my notes and random thoughts here.   i am starting off my day with a social capital markets 101 panel to get a good overview of the topic.

  • Moderator: Eric Nee, Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • Josh Becker, New Cycle Capital
  • Tim O’Shea, CleanFish
  • Lloyd Kurtz, Nelson Capital
  • Megha Doshi, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

according to Doshi, 10% of assets under management in the US are under SRI (socially responsible investment) management, the bulk of which is still limited to institutional investors. however, that is a huge amount of capital – a much higher percentage than i would have guessed.

Josh was at redpoint ventures in a previous life. when asked how he got his start, he said he saw an opportunity to make money (still talking the VC 10x return line) while doing good things.

Tim, when asked if he saw himself more as an entrepreneur or as a social entrepreneur when he started cleanfish, he answered “entrepreneur” without hesitation.

Audience Question: what is the line between non-profits and social entrepreneurship?

Tim said the last thing the world needs is another non-profit with another board of directors with another mission.  he thought the market was ready for this kind of venture.  his description of current capital markets system is “not working” as audience murmurs in agreement.

Josh – entrepreneurship is a mentality.  he says the line between non-profits and social entrepreneurship ventures is scale.  take the right kind of capital for the goal you have in mind.

Megha – lines between non-profits and social enterprise is blurring, but so is the line between social enterprise and large public companies with social missions.  said we need to think about when is a shareholder a more important stakeholder than say the environment? (lawyer note: under corporate law, the shareholders’ interest is the main interest of the corporation. if officers and directors fail to look out for shareholders’ interest, then they could be in breach of their fiduciary duty).

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