Business Irish

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Impact investment fund to link with Irish fintech firms

Irishman's investor platform to open 'key' Dublin office, writes John Reynolds

Stock image
Stock image

John Reynolds

Blueprints, an impact investment platform co-founded by social entrepreneur Declan Murphy, is to open a Dublin office and partner with Irish fintech firms as it seeks to boost the incomes that farmers and foresters in undeveloped countries retain from their crop production.

The Irish fintech firms collaborating with Blueprints have not been named, but it is understood they will announce their partnership next January during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Dublin office, which opens in July, will be a key part of the operation, and is likely to be headed by Peter O'Neill, a director of Blueprints Ireland who currently works as the head of asset management at the Sustainable Irish Forestry Fund.

Cornerstone investors in the platform include one investment firm with $5bn under management, although smaller investors are also participating through another partner, Crowdcube.

Blueprints' co-founder is Tamara Lakomy, an indigenous Berber archaeologist, author and social entrepreneur who grew disillusioned as aid organisations struggled to improve economic development opportunities in Africa.

She and Murphy have teamed up with the fund's UK-based CEO, David Solomon, a former banker with Citigroup and Salomon Brothers who has Sudanese heritage.

Solomon is also a founder of the Financial Times Global Impact Summit, and previously advised heads of state, royals and wealthy investors and CEOs on their strategy in Africa.

Murphy, who hails from Limerick but is based in Dubai, is a co-founder and COO of Blueprints.

He has 25 years' experience in social entrepreneurship, was a director of Misys Financial Systems and previously ran green business organisation The Ecology Foundation here.

Advisers to Blueprints include Michael Hastings, KPMG International's global head of corporate citizenship; Natalia Olson-Urtrecho, who oversaw $34bn worth of federal government contracts at the US Small Business Administration; philanthropist and investor George Weiss, CEO of a firm with $1.7bn under management; and Josphat Mwaura, CEO of KPMG East Africa.

The platform's first investment, in a community of 5,000 residents in the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, will see $6.5m invested in agriculture and forestry businesses there within two years, aiming to attract $70m of investment in enterprises there over a decade, the firm claims. Other countries to benefit will be Peru, Colombia and Cuba.

Half of the profits are reinvested, aiming to scale businesses sustainably, and transparently, keeping more income generated in the locality.

"People are increasingly aware of all the inequalities around them in many areas of life," Solomon said. "We need to invest in projects that establish economic justice and reduce inequality, while protecting the environment in the face of inequitable global development."

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business