B Lab 2017 Best for the World Funds Are Featured on the Network Map

As the momentum for Impact Investing grows, we continue to see organizations raise the bar around standards and benchmarks that begin to measure social and financial performance. This week, we celebrate the release of the 2017 Best for the World Funds list. Utilizing the GIIRS Impact Rating system developed by B Lab, funds can evaluate their impact performance against others in the field. Twenty-eight funds are being  honored as 2017 Best for the World Funds for their deep commitment to having this rigorous and transparent third-party review of their impact. By sharing and comparing fund performance that includes social and environmental metrics, these featured funds help empower the companies that aim to do good in the world.

The Case Foundation is proud to partner with B Lab to showcase the profiles of these 28 leading funds on our Impact Investing Network Map as the two efforts are working towards the same goal: accelerating the Impact Investing movement through transparency and open data.  

Check out the BLab press release here, and feel free to explore the Network Map here.

The Best Newsletters for Impact Investing News

There’s a lot happening in the world Impact Investing, and with the movement gaining traction and accelerating more and more every day, it can be hard to keep up with everything being talked about in these fields.

As the field hurdles towards its next phase, many are grappling with issues of measurement and data and ways we can solve the problems holding the industry back. We debuted our Impact Investing Network Map and kicked of a campaign to invite investors to share their data. The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance launched at the end of July to further catalyze the Impact Investing Movement. Momentum is building and the field is changing rapidly.

With all that’s going on in the movement, we get asked how we stay up-to-date on news from the sector. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of newsletters that fill our inboxes and will fill you in on all things Impact Investing.

  1. The Brief from Impact Alpha talks about trends, deals and long term plans in the world of Impact Investing. Sign up here.
  2. On Impact by Cathy Clark is a weekly roundup of global Impact Investing and social innovation news. Sign up here.
  3. Mission Throttle pulls news from around the web on social impact and Impact Investing initiatives. Sign up here.
  4. Green Money Journal has a monthly online journal that news in sustainable business helps people interested in Impact Investing get started. Sign up here.
  5. B The Change shares the top news in B Corps, Benefit Corporations and business for good. Sign up here.
  6. Impact Investing Monthly from SOCAP is a monthly digest of global Impact Investing news from investors, thought leaders and more. Sign up here.
  7. Breaking Good by the Case Foundation is our weekly curation of the top stories in Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing and social good. Sign up here.

Make your inbox do the work for you. With these great email newsletter options, you’ll be an Impact Investing expert in no time.

You’re Ready to #ShareYourData…. Now What?

Over the past six weeks, we have been sharing an initial look at the Beta version of the Impact Investing Network Map that the Case Foundation has been building. This started with a call to action that many of you heeded, leading to wonderful excitement and feedback about the Impact Investing Network Map and its potential to better understand the Impact Investing landscape. We are thrilled with the feedback we have received from investors, entrepreneurs and others in the space who share the Case Foundation’s belief that standardized data and publicly accessible information are vital for driving Impact Investing to scale. But there’s still more you can do.

So what is the next step? Many of you have asked important questions around submitting your data for inclusion on the Network Map, like:

  • What data should you share?
  • Where can you share that information?
  • And how can you make sure that your impact organization and investments show up accurately on the Impact Investing Network Map?

With two critical weeks left in our Data Campaign, we want to equip you with all of the information you need to turn your intention into action. 

So what data should you be sharing?

For the Beta version of the Impact Investing Network Map, all of our data is pulled in from our partners —ImpactSpace and Crunchbase. ImpactSpace hosts the largest public Impact Investing dataset and have been a longstanding supporter of data transparency to propel the Impact Investing movement to tipping point. We’re pulling data directly from ImpactSpace through their API, which updates the Network Map on a weekly basis.

The data that we pull in features two types of information on investors and companies—biographical and transactional.

  • Biographical data includes basic details like the intended social, environmental and operational impact (Impact Objectives); geographic focus of that intended impact (Impact Geography); headquarter location; organizational structure and Impact Investing relevant certifications.
  • Transactional data relates to capital raised at the company level. Specifically, this includes the different fundraising rounds from Seed to Series C+; the overall size of each round; investors that participated in the individual round and the basic structure of the investments.

If you’re interested in being included on the Network Map, you can share any or all of the data mentioned above, whatever your organization is comfortable with. At this early stage, we’re not yet capturing performance information, but we are working with partners and experts in the field to understand the most responsible way to include this type of reporting. In the meantime, we hope you’ll look at what level of biographical and transactional data you might be willing to share.

Where and how do you get your data into the Network Map?

The process of submitting your data to ImpactSpace is simple. Go directly to ImpactSpace with your biographical and/or transactional information in tow. Check out this simple upload guide for more information on how to upload your data. ImpactSpace has a 48-hour review period for new data to be approved and included on their website, and the Network Map draws updated information from ImpactSpace on Sunday evenings.

How can I edit or update my existing data so it’s accurate on the Network Map?

If some or all of your information is already in the Network Map, but is slightly out of date or you’d like to add additional levels of detail, you can click edit on your Network Map profile, which will take you to your page on ImpactSpace. You can also go directly to ImpactSpace to update your profile information. Once you’ve arrived at your ImpactSpace profile select Edit under each appropriate section. There is a 48-hour waiting period for entries to be approved, and you’ll receive a confirmation email upon approval.

Get started TODAY!

More than 1,000 impact investors, entrepreneurs, field builders and others interested in learning more have visited the Network Map since our campaign launched a little over a month ago. Our Network Map Champions have taken the early step to join us in the call to action to #ShareYourData, and you can too. We hope that you will join leaders in the Impact Investing field to commit to some level of transparency as a way to serve the development of a more robust and powerful Impact Investing movement. Head over to ImpactSpace and #ShareYourData, then become an active Network Map tester and let us know how we can improve the platform to build a stronger tool to support your work!

Is your data on the Network Map?
Let us know using #ShareYourData

Adventures in Data: Recap of our Webinar with MIE and CASE

As Impact Investing continues to scale, data is becoming even more critical to meet the rising demand for better measurements and frameworks. That’s why I was excited to join Cathy Clark, Faculty Director of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University to discuss the Impact Investing Network Map. Together, we discussed the challenges and opportunities involved in aggregating and visualizing data.

The webinar also covered:

  • How impact investors can use data to meet their goals
  • The importance—and nuance—of transparency and disclosure across the impact investing ecosystem
  • How data and impact investing expertise helped create the Network Map

You can find a recording of the conversation here or watch it below.

If you’re ready to share your Impact Investing data for inclusion on the Impact Investing Network Map, you can do so by going directly to ImpactSpace and uploading your data. There, you can find a simple to use Upload Guide that will help you aggregate and submit your data directly to ImpactSpace, where it will be automatically pulled into the Network Map on a weekly basis.

The Technology Powering the Impact Investing Network Map

The Case Foundation has worked over the last two years with data partners ImpactSpace and Crunchbase to develop the Impact Investing Network Map, an interactive tool showcasing the publicly available transactions between companies and investors within Impact Investing. We believe that by bringing the connections between actors to life—looking specifically at the investments that connect them—we can foster a better understanding of the size, breadth, depth, and, importantly, the enormous potential of this field.

Data visualization, the process of using graphics to express a dataset in an easily digestible format, drove the development of the Network Map. But not all data visualizations are created equally. From the beginning, we were cognizant that visualizing that much data in a helpful, easy to use way would be a large technological undertaking. When considering ways to showcase the relationships that make up the Impact Investing ecosystem, we pretty quickly determined that the functionality and design of a network graph—a type of visualization that illustrates points of data and their connections—would provide the best solution to conveying the incredibly complex relationship data we were working with. In our case, the points of data are companies and investors, and the connections are transactions. Choosing the right tools to help us visualize this data would be fundamental to the end product’s success. Tapping the knowledge of the team at Creative Science Labs, we decided that using Sigma.js, a JavaScript library dedicated to graph drawing, to display the map would give us the greatest level of performance. It would allow us to draw the many thousands of companies and investors in our dataset simultaneously without need for paging or artificial limiting of users’ search results.

But choosing the visualization library to build the Network Map in wasn’t our only technological roadblock. We know that we’re living in an increasingly mobile world, and in order to create a tool that would truly meet the needs of users, we needed to ensure it was mobile-first. To address the complications of a data visualization map on a mobile device, we chose to go with a table format to display relationships without sacrificing the richness of the data. This permits mobile users to explore the data of the map in a way best suited to the mobile experience where there is no mouse to provide the fine-point selection ability required by a network graph visualization.

Over two years of designing, coding, tweaking, testing and debugging, these technological bones have allowed us to build not only a beautiful tool, but one with incredible functionality and scalability that will allow it to grow with the Impact Investing sector as it advances. We have partnered with ImpactSpace and CrunchBase to utilize their API to pull in the data that we visualize, and in June of this year, launched the Beta version of the Impact Investing Network Map.

With the platform up and running, we’re excited to see how this technology is able to help the Impact Investing ecosystem come to life. However, we know that the network visualization needs more data to paint a more complete picture of the true scale of the Impact Investing ecosystem. That’s why we launched our #ShareYourData campaign, to encourage more actors to submit their data and join us in this effort. This presented us with the opportunity to learn about our potential users, how they interact with the Network Map, and what features they need for the Network Map to suit their needs.

As we embark on this data campaign, we are taking advantage of these early interactions with the Network Map to poll users and perform targeted analysis to better understand users’ experiences interacting with the Network Map. Through targeted questions, our goal is to understand with whom this tool primarily resonates and what additional features or changes they do—or do not—value. Our team actively gathers data on a weekly basis about engagement and session activities to identify pain points, and the team uses that data to guide the discussion on how to improve the tool. We’re learning an incredible amount from this and hoping that this early interaction with the Network Map helps actors in the Impact Investing sector to see the value of sharing their data publicly.

But we’re not done refining the tool yet. Like with any technology product, we know that learning from our users and improving functionality will be critical to the Network Map’s ultimate success.

Our next step is to engage in active user testing: we will work with a select group of individuals to perform a set of actions in the Network Map and provide specific feedback on their experiences performing those tasks and what could improve those experiences. Our team will use that information to build a potential roadmap for future iterations of the Network Map.

Does that sound like something you’d like to be involved with?

Great! We need your help.

If you are interested in becoming a Network Map tester, sign up at casefoundation.org//networkmap. You will be contacted in the coming weeks with further details on the testing program.

A Video Demo of the Impact Investing Network Map

As those of you who follow the Case Foundation’s work know, we have been hard at work building the Impact Investing Network Map for the past two years. The map demonstrates the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within impact investing. We believe that by bringing the connections between actors to life—looking specifically at the investments that connect them—we can foster a better understanding of the size, breadth, depth, and, importantly, the enormous potential of this field.

To provide a first look at what the Network Map is capable of, I led a live webinar demonstration last week of the Beta version. By walking through its many features, here’s what we covered:

  • The type of data used in the Network Map, including how it’s sourced and managed through our data partners;
  • The Map’s searching and filtering capabilities, including company, investor, impact objective, industry, and more;
  • Profile and Financial details about the companies and investors included; and
  • The Insights page, which provides high-level insights into the data included in the Network Map.



We also issued a call for those in the Impact Investing field to #ShareYourData. A map is only as good as the data used to create it and we need accurate data to show the true potential of the Impact Investing movement. More data will ensure we can capture the range of connections taking place in the Impact Investing space.

We hope this demonstration provides the foundation necessary for folks to jump in and explore all the Network Map has to offer. If you’d like to explore the map, you can sign up to be a Beta tester by visiting casefoundation.org//networkmap. You can also submit your data directly to ImpactSpace, by visiting https://www.impactspace.com/ to see it included on the Network Map.

Looking to Build Momentum: A First Glimpse at the Impact Investing Network Map

Our CEO Jean Case wrote in SSIR last week, “the most common question we hear when we are out speaking about Impact Investing is a simple one—‘who has done what in this space?’”

That’s why, over the last two years, the Case Foundation has worked hard to develop the Impact Investing Network Map.

Our vision is to build a tool that will answer these questions by showcasing the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within Impact Investing. We believe that by bringing the connections between actors to life—looking specifically at the investments that connect them—we can foster a better understanding of the size, breadth, depth and, importantly, the enormous potential of this field.

But that vision is part of a deeper desire to change behavior. We hope that the Network Map will spur investors to publicly share investment data and make transparency a hallmark of the Impact Investing sector. We firmly believe increased sharing of data and better mapping of the ecosystem will result in more robust activity from investors and entrepreneurs. Only with data that is both in-depth and accurate will a wider cross section of actors engage, and that is key to propelling the Impact Investing movement to tipping point.

To realize this vision, we need you.

Here are three ways you can join the movement:

  1. #ShareYourData—visit our data partner, ImpactSpace, to submit your data today.
  2. Be a part of early testing—stay informed by signing up for updates and to receive a link directly to the Network Map so you can explore it and give us your feedback.
  3. Spread the word—share this Call to Action with your network and encourage others to join the movement.

Want a guided tour of the Network Map? Join our webinar on July 12, 2017 at 2:30 PM EST for a demonstration of all this tool has to offer. Register for the webinar today