Lisa Hagerman is the Director of Programs at DBL Partners, a double bottom line venture capital firm, which she joined in 2011. Lisa is leading the strategy and implementation of double bottom line practices, working with DBL’s portfolio companies across workforce development, environmental stewardship, community engagement, and public policy.
Jennifer Bradley: How do you think about the relationship between the tool of venture capital and values?
Lisa Hagerman: I see it as a tool for inclusive innovation because it is a vehicle for large institutional investors, many private foundations, family foundations, family offices, high net-worth individuals, public and corporate pension funds, and now university endowments, to invest for strong financial returns, but also positive social and environmental impacts on society. Without impact venture capital, investors wouldn’t be able to allocate capital with the intent of having these dual returns.
Being able to move beyond traditional philanthropy through values-based investing sends significant amounts of capital into different sectors and supports the whole ecosystem that then leads to innovative technologies and significant job creation, because you’re doing all of this at scale with substantial capital.
And today pretty much all of the entrepreneurs that are coming in our door are social entrepreneurs and they are doing this because they want to create a terrific company and they want to do very well, but they also want to have a positive impact on society and solve problems.
So values are at the center from the investor perspective and the entrepreneur perspective, and of course our whole ethos going back to 2004 was the double bottom line: the financial return and then the second return of social, environmental and economic benefits in the sectors and regions in which we invest.