Social capital lies “at the intersection of money and meaning” according to Kevin Jones and Gary Bolles, founders of the Social Capital Markets Conference (Socap). Socap08 was about mapping the landscape of the social capital marketplace (also the topic of my first ever TriplePundit post). Two hundred attendees were expected, 600 came.
“Last year we wanted to validate the asset class – prove that social capital is real, large and resilient. Social capital was hurt less than other sectors. It didn’t participate in the bubble and it didn’t cause the bust and has since out performed the traditional capital market. This is partly because so many more risks are factored in, in terms of externalities,” Kevin Jones said.
Socap09 (coming up Sept 1-3, 2009) outlines the roadmap to a new economy, focusing on three themes:
1. The new administration and its focus on social innovation and social enterprise
2. An increasing acceptance of social venture funds and impact investing
3. The impact of disruptive technology
“This market is evolving. Pieces of infrastructure are starting to get filled in. Two years ago it was about discovery and finding our way. Now there is a roadmap. It doesn’t mean it’s a smooth highway. It’s extremely tough,” Jones explained.
The space is becoming more sophisticated, more business savvy as well. Jones described what he sees as the second generation of social entrepreneurs. “The first generation of visionary, heroic social entrepreneurs were pioneers. They provided a solution without a market. The second generation can grow the ventures beyond themselves,” Jones explained. They have a firmer grasp on their customers and their needs, which enables them to scale more effectively.
“We’ve seen that post-economic collapse and with the new administration in place…people have a stronger sense that social capital is a full asset class that is moving our economy and administration towards a brighter and more stable future,” noted Amy Benziger, Associate Producer of Socap09.
The same team behind Socap09 is bringing The Hub, a coworking space for social and environmental innovators, to the Bay Area.
“Good Capital was looking to invest in The Hub and following the success of Socap08 we realized we had the network to make that happen – to house the partnerships, collaborations, and discussions that happened in Socap08…The Socap conference is one time global event, and The Hub is where ideas are carried out on a daily basis,” Benziger explained. Jones, co-founder of the conference and also a partner at Good Capital noted their intent to raise a $3M “Hubcap” fund to invest in high impact, early stage start-ups.
One exciting example of disruptive innovation that will be represented at Socap09 is FrontlineSMS:Medic, an open-source two-way text messaging tool that empowers community health workers in the developing world to run their own mobile health initiatives. Through a handful of strategic partnerships, FrontlineSMS:Medic collects donated phones, leverages hundreds of volunteers, and provides innovative technologies, such as mobile diagnosis tools, to provide much needed healthcare across Africa. The organization was founded by recent Stanford grad, Josh Nesbit. (check out his blog: http://www.jopsa.org/).
This is the first of the Roadmap to SoCap series of posts highlighting key themes, trends, and innovators in the social capital marketplace. Future topics may include:
* XS Project designs products from waste in Indonesia
* “Capital cohabitation” deals that combine grant, equity and debt financing
* Non-profits create for-profit spinoffs
* nComputing disrupts market for cheap laptops
* Acumen and IDEO team up on Ripple Effect to provide safe drinking water in India and East Africa
Socap09 will run from September 1-3 in San Francisco with 2 days of deep content dives, 40+ breakout sessions, keynote from Sonal Shah and culminating in a full unconference day. Video and coverage of the event will be available shortly thereafter. Register here. TriplePundit, SoCap media sponsor, will feature a Roadmap to Socap series leading up to the event – check back often for more coverage.