For the socially conscious retail investor, buying stocks is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re growing your long-term wealth and securing your financial future, but on the other hand—uh-oh, you’re supporting the capitalist fat cats, and by extension, the Wall Street fat cats. Way to contribute to the problem of unequal wealth distribution in America, jerk.
In a unique “capitalism for good” move, Mission Markets has arrived on the scene as a happy alternative that allows investors to support the causes and campaigns they love while still growing their wealth. Mission Markets announced Thursday that it has raised an additional $1.5 million in a Series A2 round that brings their total raised to $3 million.
The round was led by social entrepreneur James Lee Sorenson, who will join the company’s board of directors. Other investors in the round include Bendigo Partners’ founder and former E-TRADE president and COO Jarrett Lilien, film producer Sarah Johnson Redlich, and Chairman of the Kantian Foundation Robert J. Caruso.
The service works by connecting accredited investors with sustainable capital and “impact investing” opportunities, such as companies and organizations working in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, environmental conservation, and more.
It seems similar to Motif, the investment platform that connects retail investors with general ideas they want to support, such as clean tech or social media. But Motif works with retail investors.
For now, Mission Markets only works with accredited investors since the companies it supports tend to be small and unable to afford a public offering. Mission Markets currently offers private placements under the Reg D exemption of the Securities Act of 1933, which limits investments to accredited investors only. Accredited investors currently represent about 3% of the population.
But the JOBS Act, which was passed last year, will soon allow non-accredited investors to participate, once the SEC has figured out how to regulate it. At that point, anyone will be able to invest via Mission Markets.
“Our investors have identified themselves as individuals or institutions interested in socially or environmentally responsible investments,” said Mission Markets CEO Ken Marienau. “These investors care about the impact of the investments that they make as much as the financials returns that they realize on their investments. Recently, we have seen a great deal of interest and investments in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and community development.”
Marienau likens Mission Markets to the CircleUp of socially responsible investors, in that it offers primary issues of private companies.
“We also offer PIPES, which are private investments in public equity companies, through our affiliated broker dealer Mission Capital,” said Marienau. “Mission Markets is focused upon impact investing, while others address the universe of private companies. We believe social and environmental impact entrepreneurs are more likely to attract investments from investors aligned with their mission on the Mission Markets platform.”
Marienau says that the company is preparing to go through a big growth phase, and the company is investing in its technology and infrastructure. It’s also working on new technology platforms to support community portals and more investment products.