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Commons Capital was founded to realize competitive rates of return by investing in promising young companies whose products, services and corporate cultures promote a sustainable economy and deliver market solutions to major social and environmental problems. We believe that business can be a powerful force for good in the world and that early stage companies – due to their creativity, flexibility and energy - have a unique capacity, disproportionate to their size, to generate positive solutions.

Our investment strategy is built around proven venture capital techniques and an assessment of the social and environmental impact of portfolio companies.

We look for companies that exhibit:

  • Superior management, with a proven track record;
  • Proprietary technology, brand equity or other competitive advantage;
  • A large market with substantial growth prospects and relatively low capital needs;
  • Attractive gross margin potential.

The criteria we use to evaluate the social and environmental impact of an investment are based in part on the work of a number of established national organizations at the forefront of socially responsible investing, including Investors’ Circle, Domini Social Investments, CERES, Business for Social Responsibility and the Social Venture Network.

We are interested in companies when their product or service addresses a major social or environmental challenge by:

  • Reducing adverse environmental impacts;
  • Improving efficient utilization of natural resources;
  • Expanding access to information and education;
  • Expanding access to or improving healthcare;
  • Supporting new enterprise creation in economically disadvantaged communities;
  • Promoting sustainable agriculture, organic food and improved nutrition.

We will not consider companies involved in producing unsafe products or services such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, weapons, or nuclear power.

We are also interested in companies whose corporate cultures contribute to a sustainable economy by:

  • Supporting access to capital by women and minority entrepreneurs;
  • Addressing inequities in corporate governance, including management compensation and Board diversity;
  • Promoting corporate philanthropy and active involvement in the community;
  • Promoting corporate accountability and full disclosure, including regular social and environmental audits and accountability to all stakeholders (shareholders, employees, customers and community members); or
  • Promoting, through brand recognition, consumer awareness of social and environmental issues.

In evaluating investments in other venture capital funds, we seek funds that exhibit:

  • Investment strategies consistent with our social and environmental criteria;
  • Superior management with a proven track record and the willingness to collaborate with us on deal flow and co-investment;
  • Well-defined investment niches and established deal flow relationships, providing a clear competitive advantage.

We review our investments periodically with an Advisory Board of leading practitioners of sustainability investing to determine how well we are meeting our social and environmental objectives.

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320 Washington Street, 4th floor, Brookline, Massachusetts 02445  |  (617) 739-3500