MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE 2016 #95 — Nancy Pfund For finding a good return on social impact

Fast Company
May 16, 2016

Nancy Pfund is a San Francisco-​​based ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist who focuses on socially minded invest­ments. After 25 years at Ham­brecht & Quist, a bou­tique invest­ment bank that was acquired by Chase Man­hat­tan Bank (now JP Mor­gan Chase) in 1999, Pfund raised her first “dou­ble bot­tom line” fund before spin­ning off and cre­at­ing her own firm, DBL Investors (which later became DBL Part­ners), in Jan­u­ary 2008. DBL describes her firm’s invest­ing style: She seeks out com­pa­nies that can both gen­er­ate strong finan­cial returns and have a pos­i­tive social influ­ence. Pfund made her name with early invest­ments in Tesla Motors, Rev­o­lu­tion Foods, SolarCity, and Pan­dora. With her lat­est fund, she’s expand­ing into new sec­tors. She’s back­ing the space-​​imaging com­pany Planet Labs, which uses microsatel­lites to map and track envi­ron­men­tal change and degra­da­tion, and Farm­ers Busi­ness Net­work, an agri­cul­tural data-​​sharing ser­vice that helps farm­ers improve their resource allo­ca­tions and abil­ity to pros­per on their farms. She also led an $18 mil­lion round of fund­ing for Advanced Micro­grid Solu­tions, which offers busi­nesses energy-​​storage sys­tems through bat­tery and demand response net­works that can reduce reliance on the grid, pre­vent power out­ages, and cur­tail energy costs. In 2015, DBL closed a $400 mil­lion fund, its largest yet.

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