Dr. Shannon Mudd is an economist and educator with a University of Chicago pedigree, specializing in microfinance and impact investment.
He currently runs the Microfinance and Impact Investing Initiative program (Mi3 for short), which he founded about 8 years ago. One of his hottest classes teaches students how to invest $50,000 of real money for maximum social impact. This might seem trivial in the investment world, but it’s powerful ‘homework’ for students testing the waters of impact investing for the first time.
When Haverford College first looked at creating microfinance programming at the college, Shannon was a visiting professor and offered a proposal that would get students involved. His eventual job description said “something about engaging students in sustainable and socially responsible investing.” Shannon says, “They left it up to me to figure out what that would be.”
Shannon has turned teaching economics into a meaningful and hands-on exercise. His students gain real world experience learning how to invest for more than a financial return. And they are taking that knowledge with them into the job market and passing it on. Impactful classes for impact investing.
Read the podcast transcript here
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Eve: [00:02:24] Today, I’m talking with Dr. Shannon Mudd, an economist with the University of Chicago pedigree specializing in microfinance and impact investment. He currently runs the Microfinance and Impact Investing Initiative program, MI3 for short, at Haverford College. One of his hardest classes teaches students how to invest 50 thousand dollars of real money for maximum social impact. This might seem trivial in the investment world, but it’s powerful homework for students testing the waters of impact investing for the first time. When Haverford first looked at creating microfinance programming at the college, Shannon was a visiting professor. He heard about the proposal and offered a plan that would get students involved. His eventual job description said something about engaging students in sustainable and socially responsible investing. Shannon says, They left it up to me to figure out what that would be. I’d like to be one of Shannon’s students. Shannon, thanks so much for joining me today.
Shannon Mudd: [00:02:38] It is a pleasure to be here and I think turnabout is fair play. It was great to have you come and talk to my class with Jonny Price and Topiltzin from Honeycomb Credit. So, yeah, this is great.
Eve: [00:02:50] Yeah. More and more of all of this, right?
Shannon: [00:02:53] Mm hmm.
Eve: [00:02:54] So I wanted to start by asking you, you’re an economics professor and you teach microfinance, and I wanted you to just tell us what exactly is microfinance?
Shannon: [00:03:06] Certainly. So, microfinance is basically about providing people in poverty with very small loans. And originally, it was designed to help entrepreneurs, people who have some kind of a small business that they are trying to earn additional income. It could be selling in a market. It could be making some kind of product that they are manufacturing by hand, something like that. And the loan is to be able to, basically just working capital to provide materials, maybe buy a sewing machine or something like that with a capital investment. But what’s key is that when you’re lending to that population, you can’t use the same kind of techniques that a bank uses because banks are looking for two things when you’re doing a loan assessment. They want to know there’s collateral and these are people in poverty and probably are not going to have access to collateral that banks is going to want. And then two, often there’s very, very little information about them for them to be able to for the bank to be able to really get a sense of if they were a good borrower or not. So there’s not necessarily a credit bureau, something like that. And then there are some other issues that the microfinance industry was able to work with to kind of come up with a different technology of lending. And so, for example, instead of collateral, to use what is often thought of as social capital. To provide the incentive for the borrower to use the loans like it was intended to be used. To pay back regularly so that the microfinance organizations that get its money back. So they often lend into not just an individual, but a group of individuals that come together to make their payments at the same time and actually have groups of, say, five or eight that will all come to weekly meetings. There will be a member of each of those groups that will pass the money forward for the whole group, which saves a lot of time, lowers the cost because it’s very labor intensive to go and collect very small loans from a lot of people, which makes the average cost very high. So, looking for anything they can do to try to lower those costs for those loans. And that’s, you know, one of the techniques they developed. They have groups that meet that all pay at the same time to reduce the time of the loan officer and then also using these groups as a way to reinforce payment discipline. But also, there’s a hope that when these groups form that they become socially cohesive. We can maybe give advice to each other about what they can do to make their businesses better.
Eve: [00:05:49] What are some recognizable microfinancing institutions in the U.S.?
Shannon: [00:05:55] In the U.S., Grameen has a U.S. Presence in New York, and so Grameen was started in Bangladesh and they are often considered sort of to be the grandfather MFI institution. So they’ve been doing some group lending in New York. I’m not sure if they spread beyond that, but probably the most common sort of microfinancing in the U.S. is done through CDFIs, Community Development Financial Institutions. And so, these are institutions that are raising funds and then lending into very low-income areas. And they can do a lot of different things. Some of them are doing real estate development. Some of them are doing small business loans. But there are some that are actually doing microfinance.
Eve: [00:06:38] Interesting. So how did you get interested in microfinance?
Shannon: [00:06:42] I came by it honestly by having dinner conversations with my wife who was in the industry.
Eve: [00:06:48] Oh, interesting. And and what’s your background?
Shannon: [00:06:52] So I am an economist, and my original research orientation was toward issues of growth and development. International capital flows interested me for a while and then more about sort of small business finance and how crises might be affecting that. And then that sort of naturally led into more and more interest in the microfinance industry and what they were doing differently from small business in my conversations with my wife and other people that were her colleagues.
Eve: [00:07:21] Interesting. Interesting. So you teach at Haverford, right. And what do you teach at Haverford?
Shannon: [00:07:27] So I have a kind of a unique situation in that I was visiting Haverford for a year. There were rumors that an alum was interested in funding some programming in microfinance because he would have been interested in it. And so, I went and talked to the provost and said, OK, you know, I hear this is a possibility. What are you thinking? The provost at the time was thinking, well, they’ll use the money to bring in some marquee name person to sort of sit in residence for a couple of weeks a year. And I said, OK, if that’s what you think is the best use of of this opportunity, fine. I gave him a list of some names and contact information to follow up. And the year continued and there was nothing moving forward with that. And I’m looking around Haverford. I really am impressed with Haverford. I’m impressed with its educational sort of way of doing things, impressed with the students in the way that they seemed very engaged in their own education, more so than any other place I had taught. I was more of a instead of sort of spoon-feeding people, you sort of say, go look over there and see what you find. And that is a very fun place to teach. And I decided that maybe there could be another way to approach this opportunity. And so, I drew up an alternative plan, which was to hire somebody to teach a course in microfinance, to get students engaged in research and consulting opportunities to bring in speakers, maybe hosted a conference, etc., and took it to the provost. She said, this sounds great. And they hired me to stay on. And I basically wrote my own job description, which is kind of nice. But they did add this one little half of a sentence, which was and also get students engaged in socially responsible investing. And so that was something I had to figure out what that would mean. And doing my own due diligence, I wasn’t really interested in doing the stock portfolio. Publicly traded stocks, select-in select-out type of thing, that really interests me, I wasn’t sure would interest them. There were some shareholder activism that was already occurring on campus with a small portfolio, some portfolio that was a part of the endowment at that time. So that was going on. So it makes sense to go in that direction. And then I stumbled across this idea of impact investing, particularly angel impact investing. And that seemed to fit more with the ethos at Haverford. And we’re talking about, you know, engaging in sort of basically private equity deals, early-stage social enterprises. It fit with the social justice emphasis that Haverford has always maintained. And so I was able to launch a program on impact investing.
Eve: [00:10:12] So what happens in one of these impact investing classes? How does the year go?
Shannon: [00:10:18] It’s it’s really kind of an interesting set up. And as far as I know, there’s not other examples similar to this. So, first of all, I have to see if there is interest among the students at Haverford. And so, I actually paired up with the investment analyst with the endowment to teach a class just an evening, non-credit class, six evenings over six weeks on impact investing to see if there was interest. And so, we just sort of set up a basic class at first talked about investing and what does the financial sector actually look like? Because there are business classes at Haverford and there is now a corporate finance class that I teach which has been taught off and on, but now I’m teaching every other year. So, there wasn’t any really background on this to any great extent. And so, it became a very practical class to talk about, you know, the different types of investment vehicles. But what does it mean to invest not only for the potential to earn a financial return, but also to generate some kind of a positive social or environmental benefit? So we talked about how do you actually assess impact, what are the different type of impact measurements, et cetera. And so once we did that class and saw their success, I decided to launch the class and then the person that had been sponsoring the work that I was doing in the microfinance when you heard about it, he thought this is an interesting direction to go also. And basically he said OK, would 50 thousand dollars a year to invest, be helpful? I said, yes, it would be great. I sort of had this idea that we might want to eventually collaborate and do some co-investments with an existing impact investing fund. And now that there was some money that we could actually commit to that, okay, I can actually go talk to people who are going to take me seriously. And it was about this time that I met somebody from what was then called Investor Circle, now Social Venture Circle. And she told me that in Philadelphia and we’re just outside of Philadelphia, that there was a group of angel impact investors, that was a local chapter of Investor Circle and now Social Venture Circle, that was really strong and sort of being in the vanguard for the type of investing that this group was doing. And so I went and talked to them. It’s great. What happens is once a month, the members meet, and they invite two firms to pitch. And as they listen to the entrepreneurs, they ask questions. And eventually the entrepreneur leaves. They talk among themselves to see if there’s interest in doing a deeper dive. Do a real due diligence on this firm, report back to the group a month later and then two months later, sort of say, okay, this is what we found. We’re investing, we’re not investing anybody interested in joining that investment. And so it’s a great group. And even though this seems way more risky than anything I imagined doing, this kind of early stage equity investing, the opportunity to actually be able to bring students with me to these meetings where they could be in the room where it happens. They could observe the types of questions that investors were asking. What is it they thought was important? What is it they were concerned about? It was just too good of an educational opportunity to pass up. And when I first told the the foundation of the alumni, this is what I was thinking about doing about had a heart attack. But they also recognize that this is just a very, very unique educational opportunity. And so what happens is, you know, the class we talk about what is impact investing. We talk about how the financial sector works in different types of securities that are available. Then we talk about impact and then we start talking about how do you actually do diligence on an early stage firm. And then the last five weeks, we go through a screening process. We source firms from Social Venture Circle. Also, we have a relationship with Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund also with beneficial returns, and we find live deals that are open usually between November and December that we can do due diligence on. And then the students we narrowed down to four firms, the students are split into four groups and they go into due diligence for about three to four weeks. And then they present their due diligence to an investment advisory council, which is made up of alums and some staff. And there are questions posed to them during their presentations and afterwards. And we break and have a nice dinner and then we come back together and sort of plenary and say, OK, students, step back from all that work you’ve done, these individual firms, because I know that you can become very much a cheerleader for the firm that you work on. But now we need to step back and say, OK, we had this opportunity to actually invest 50 thousand dollars. Are these firms investable? If they are, should we invest 15 thousand or 25 thousand? If they are not investable, are there any guideposts that make us consider going in, looking at them again? And what would those guideposts be or are they not investable? And so we try to come up with consensus and then with that consensus recommendation, we set that off to the foundation that works with us and they make the investment.
Eve: [00:15:39] Wow. So, when the students do the due diligence, I mean, how do they go about evaluating these companies?
Shannon: [00:15:47] So I think it’s, sort of, a standard way of looking at due diligence. Of course, we’re coming in with very, very little experience to be able to make judgments very critically. I mean, we’re still new at this, and every year is a new set of students. But we are often trying to co-invest with other investors, for example, from Investors Circle. And so, if we are coordinating due diligence, we can participate on the same investor calls and so we can hear the questions they are asking, or we can be adding questions to the list of questions that are sent to the entrepreneurs. And so ideally, that’s how it works, that we’re actually collaborating with social venture circles, sometimes another angel group that we are involved in the process together. Sometimes it’s just us alone, but often, and it works best, we have the opportunity to work with others. We’re usually able to have direct contact with the entrepreneur. To ask them a set of questions and get their answers. Sometimes we follow up with other people in the sector or academics who follow in a sector, for example. And so that’s what we do, very much like a standard due diligence process that an angel group would do, except that we have a lot less experience going into it.
Eve: [00:17:05] And the younger angels. So, I don’t know, can you share what investment picks they’ve made and how many years have you been doing this?
Shannon: [00:17:16] So I believe this is our eighth year. We’ve made 11 investments.
Eve: [00:17:22] Okay.
Shannon: [00:17:23] And we’ve had two exits.
Eve: [00:17:26] Wow.
Shannon: [00:17:26] One was a firm that unfortunately did not survive, but the other firm actually returned a more than 2x return in less than two years.
Eve: [00:17:37] That’s pretty good.
Shannon: [00:17:37] Not a bad track record so far. But of course, the average time for liquidity that for an exit is about seven years. So we’re still on the, sort of, the cusp of when we’re hoping some more exits will come through. Although with this last year, I feel like everything’s been pushed back a year or so, almost like a lost year in some ways.
Eve: [00:17:57] Yes. So what sort of investments did they decide on? And the second part of that question is, would you have made the same decision on your own, the unusual decisions?
Shannon: [00:18:08] Well, okay, let’s see. So, one of the first companies we invested in is a company called Wash Cycle Laundry. And they are a Philadelphia company. What the entrepreneur CEO Gabriel was really interested in doing was actually he had worked in manpower development, worked with formerly incarcerated people with recovering addiction, sort of this hard to hire population. And he was kind of frustrated with the limitations he faced in working with an NGO. And so, he decided to open his own company, had a very interesting business plan, which was to do delivery laundry services in downtown Philadelphia. But instead of having an offsite laundry facility where everything is laundered offsite and then taken in a van into the city and distributed, because that leaves a pretty high carbon footprint, the original idea was instead to work with local laundromats to get them to use, you know, best in class, you know, highly efficient, low water usage, washing machines. Contracted with them on their downtime to do the laundry and then deliver everything by bicycle.
Eve: [00:19:19] Interesting.
Shannon: [00:19:20] And so had some really good success in Philadelphia. A lot of small businesses like spas and gyms and but also had some bigger contracts, too, and they have since pivoted a bit. And now they’re actually working with hotels and working with hotels in Philadelphia, with hotels in Boston. And so that’s been an interesting company to work with over the years. It’s had its ups and downs, but really have great respect for the CEO and the way that he’s been able to take what is really a pretty low margin kind of industry, but be able to fulfill the important mission that they’re trying to do.
Eve: [00:19:59] Interesting. What about the company that exited successfully?
Shannon: [00:20:03] Yeah. Successfully. So that’s a company that is called CodeMonkey and it’s actually, was an Israeli company that was coming into the U.S., which is how we became aware of them. What they do is they have a very gamified way of teaching how to do coding. Sort of a low bar kind of Java language. But it’s all through programming to get a monkey to be able to get some bananas. And they had launched in Israel and had great success in Israel. It actually really had success in the Israeli school systems. And so, they’re coming to the U.S. And what we really liked was the fact that you had a freemium model, and you had a very, very low price level, which meant that even under-resourced schools had opportunities to be able to deploy this. And so, we were looking forward to working with them when to try to get them to make sure they were measuring sort of what kind of schools they are working with. It wasn’t just the high resourced schools. Then they got bought out. They got bought out by a Chinese company, which was also interested in getting into the U.S. educational space. And so we did well.
Eve: [00:21:13] Interesting. And what about real estate? Any real estate investments? They are difficult.
Shannon: [00:21:18] There have not been any. And I think that you have to understand, we’ve got one semester to really kind of cover a lot of ground.
Eve: [00:21:25] Yeah, yeah.
Shannon: [00:21:25] It’s hard enough just to figure out how to work with analysts and entrepreneur. You know, real estate, sort of a whole different way of approaching due diligence. And so, there was one time actually it was a deal that you guys were involved in. The class did screen, but they were scared.
Eve: [00:21:43] Maybe next time I can help somehow, not on my own deals, but just thinking through real estate or perhaps something simple, like a fix and flip. Although, you know, one wonders what the impact is there. Right?
Shannon: [00:21:59] Right.
Eve: [00:21:59] Anyway. Oh, that’s really interesting. So how many students have you taught in this class so far?
Shannon: [00:22:05] So when I started off, I was limiting it to 12. So because the idea was I could find three live deals and I had some success with that. I was able to get three live deals pretty regularly. And but I had these huge waitlists. There were more people in the waitlist then I was letting in the class. But I always told students that if they stayed for the first two weeks of class, that I would allow them to get first pick to come into class the next year I taught it. And then one year I realized that I had 12 people that had stayed for two weeks, which means I would have already filled next year’s class.
Eve: [00:22:43] Wow.
Shannon: [00:22:43] I said, OK, I’m going to try to bump it up to 16. And so that meant I had to find four live deals and I did that. It was, we were successful in finding the four live deals. And so I’ve been doing it with 16 ever since then. So I guess that makes, let’s see, six times twelve plus another, another thirty two.
Eve: [00:23:04] Oh wow. That’s a lot of people. That’s over a hundred. So, I have to ask, what are these students go on to do? Do you track them? What sort of impact does this have on their lives? Because they, you know, if they really want to get into this class. Clearly they must be really interested in this.
Shannon: [00:23:20] Well, they are, but my attitude, one of the things I do also is that the only prerequisite I have for the course is introductory economics, and the reason is because I want to make this available to English students, science students, because I think that part of what the course is about is for us to think more intentionally about how we deploy our capital as individuals. And, you know, just like we take in to consider many different factors, we decide what jobs we take, and it’s not just about the one with the highest salary, that it could be just as important to have something that’s more aligned with our values, that might be important to us, that we can also think about how we invest our capital that way, too. And so, part of what I to do with the class is to make sure students recognize that this is possible. I think they hunger for that and show that at least one way they can do this. Now, when I first started, of course, this was only for people who were accredited investors to be able to do these kinds of private early-stage equity investments. But now with crowdfunding, you know, they actually had the opportunity to take the lessons from this class and start
Eve: [00:24:35] Start applying them.
Shannon: [00:24:37] Exactly. You know, build up a small early-stage equity portfolio of their own by using some of the crowdfunding platforms.
Eve: [00:24:44] And do you know if they have, like have any of them done that?
Shannon: [00:24:48] I don’t know that. I don’t know that. But I do know that one student has gone to work for Ashoka. Another student is actually working for a fairly large investment fund, I guess a medium sized investment fund who has become more interested in impact investing. And they have been asking them and one of the reasons they hired them is because they liked this person because they liked what they were doing in this class and they’re able to talk, a lot of them talk about how it’s so great for their interviews to be able to talk about what they learn from this class and what they were doing, what they learned from it, the skills they gained from it et cetera. But anyway, when a student is working for a medium sized investment fund who is just starting to go into impact investing and is really kind of calling on them to to engage in that, even though they’ve only been there for two years.
Eve: [00:25:40] That’s pretty fabulous. So out of all of this in your class, what excited the students the most do you think?
Shannon: [00:25:47] So I think that they really enjoy the opportunity to participate in the investor calls. That’s probably the biggest thing. To hear the investor, to be able to actually sometimes even have a relationship with the investor, with their own conversations with them, but also be able observe the kinds of questions that investors are asking and to hear, to pick up on what they think is important. You know, it’s clear and one of the biggest lessons from my own experience was the entrepreneur so important and understanding why and and recognizing and seeing the rapport between investors and the entrepreneur or the lack of rapport that happens as well.
Eve: [00:26:33] You talked about impact measurements earlier. So, when they evaluate, what are you using to measure impact and how does that play into the decision?
Shannon: [00:26:44] So what we’ve been doing is we’ve been adapting a technique, I guess it was bridges that was doing this. And so what we do is instead of an exact measurement, what we have been doing, say, okay, let’s judge each of these firms on a couple of different criteria. In terms of impact, and this actually came from Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund. Let’s look at them in terms of depth, breadth and reach. So ,breadth is about how many people are going to be touched by this. The depth is how actually big of an impact each individual feels and then reach is, okay, is this a targeted population that we really care about that has been marginalized or under-resourced in some way? And so, basically, we have a matrix that we put up for those and rate them with a three, two or one and just come up a little radio diagram so that we can for each of the four investments we’re looking at, we can look at a similar graphic saying, yes, we think this has a strong reach, but it has very little doubt. Or another one has, you know, a very important throughout they’re going to touch a lot of people in climate change, could potentially touch a lot of people, but it could be very, very small depth. And then we also look at other ESG, in other words, is a company headed toward, for example, B Corp certification, are they really trying to align the way they run the company with the values that we would expect from a good company? Also, additionality, is there any way that we, as a college campus or students could actually add value beyond just the financial investment? Usually that’s a no. I mean, we’re a bunch of students, but we have actually had success. We invested in a company called Vega Coffee that is a company that recognizes the value chain of coffee, most of the added value comes in the packaging and the roasting, not down in the growing. So, the farmers get very, very little value from the whole coffee value chain. And so, what Vega coffee has done is working with farmers and farmer cooperatives down in Nicaragua and Colombia to get them to do the roasting and packaging and then through subscriptions provide the U.S.
Eve: [00:29:04] Oh, interesting.
Shannon: [00:29:04] And they had made a created a business line going into colleges and universities. And we were the fifth college to actually adopt them. After we invested in them, we introduced in the dining center and the dining center really liked what they were doing and so they contracted with them. So that was an additionality we could have. And then but most important is probably alignment. And alignment is really thinking about as this firm grows and becomes successful, as their potential for financial return gets higher and higher, does the impact also get higher and higher? And so, is there a connection? We always see these, when you’re looking at early-stage companies, they always say these projections of their revenues with the hockey stick going like this. Well, the question is, what’s going to happen to impact as you become more and more successful in terms of revenues, in terms of your profitability? Does this impact grow as well? And one of the other firms we invested initially as a company called Thread International.
Eve: [00:30:06] I know Thread. They were actually a tenant of mine.
Shannon: [00:30:09] Oh, really? And they were there in Pittsburgh.
Eve: [00:30:11] In one of my buildings. And there when they started in Pittsburgh, yeah.
Shannon: [00:30:16] That’s right. So, when we first looked at Thread, they were very intentional in that they first set up a supply chain of this recycled plastic from Haiti. And then they started taking that recycled plastic and turn it into thread polyester thread materials and then trying to market that to big brands and they achieved some success. They, for example, had a contract with Timberland et cetera. And then they actually have now created their own brand called Day Owl. And they have a great backpack. I’ve been using one for two years and so I’m a big fan of that. But we initially were concerned that they said they were never worried about running out of supply of recycled plastic. From Haiti, from their supply chain.
Eve: [00:31:00] Right. Right.
Shannon: [00:31:00] And that made me realize so as they get bigger and bigger. There’s not going to be a greater impact because that commodity production of the recycled plastic is not changing. You’re always producing more than we actually need. Mm hmm. And so that means that even though the company either financials go like that, the impact is kind of going like that. And so first we decided not to invest, but then what they recognized also is that they had a capability of actually starting a supply chain. And so they started working in Honduras and they’ve now spread to some other countries, too. And so, the impact is growing because they are establishing these supply chains in other countries.
Eve: [00:31:43] That make sense.
Shannon: [00:31:44] So that alignment. Does the impact grow with the company is also something we take very seriously.
Eve: [00:31:51] So you started off with microfinance and not really thinking about impact. Now, it’s a lot of impact. I want to know what next interesting class you’re cooking up.
Shannon: [00:32:05] Yeah, that’s a good that’s a really good question. Actually, the alumn that I work with, he is very interested in sort of the more, I’m not sure the terminology, I’m still researching this, but sort of understanding all of the environmental impacts of a supply chain and trying to really reduce waste in every single way you can. And he is in a production where a field where he’s been able to do this with his own production and because he’s been able to really track what he is doing with all, for example, the waste of the products and actually reduce waste and work with his suppliers to actually reduce waste that they’re in and can track all this. He is getting a lot of attention from big manufacturer, big brands who need to have that kind of information for their own internal ways of measuring sustainability and meeting their own sustainability goals. And so more about understanding sort of how to arrange supply chains, communicate, measure all that stuff.
Eve: [00:33:18] Interesting.
Shannon: [00:33:19] I think he’s been talking about teaching a class that’s more along those lines. So we’ll see. That’s going to take some work. But I’ve got a sabbatical coming up and so maybe that’ll come out of my sabbatical.
Eve: [00:33:29] Fun. So, some big questions for you. What do you think needs to be fixed in the world of finance?
Shannon: [00:33:38] Wow, that’s a big one. That is a big one. I feel like in the United States, in particular, that finance should be sort of like a lubrication for the machine. And shouldn’t be an end in itself, and I feel like it’s become too much of an end in itself and that this chasing of returns and this idea that we can come up with, you know, new securities that will somehow spread risk and therefore make it more efficient that oftentimes we’re making things so complicated that they are non-transparent and it’s not clear how to identify who is actually bearing the risk. I think we become very complicated and in ways that have not served us well.
Eve: [00:34:33] I think that, you know, the whole point of microfinance is that it’s sprung up to serve an obvious need that no one else is serving. So, we’ve got venture capitalists who want to make a lot of money and are not interested in anything that doesn’t make a lot of money. And we have banks that don’t want to take any risks at all. And in between, there are a whole sea of businesses that need to happen to serve us and create jobs and innovate and everything else. And they have such a hard time finding financing.
Shannon: [00:35:06] Yes, exactly, and we’re seeing some innovative ways to try to do this, we’ve certainly got information and in different ways and we’ve had in the past, but it’s not clear who’s benefit is. It’s is not clear that small business is benefiting from in these advances that we’ve got.
Eve: [00:35:25] Yeah, yeah. Okay, so one final question. Is there anything else you’re really excited about in your work?
Shannon: [00:35:31] I’m working with some students right now to develop a program that we hope will be ongoing. We are collaborating with ImpactPHL, which is a sort of an affinity group here in Philadelphia. It’s trying to really make Philadelphia a destination for social enterprise, develop the whole ecosystem around it. And so, one of the things we’re doing is we’re working with ImpactableX, which is a very specific way of measuring impact that I really like, because it tries to really tie impact to the growth of revenues in a way that makes it much more manageable and accessible for early stage companies that don’t have a long track record. And another company organization called Upped Impact that is trying to better identify sources of capital with the types of impact they’re interested in, the types of investing and securities that they are interested in. And the idea is to be able to take a few companies during the summer with some students to take them through this ImpactableX to better articulate and quantify their impacts and then identify good sources of capital for them for their next raise further down the road.
Eve: [00:36:41] Oh, that’s a great plan. That’s really interesting. I’d love to hear more about that. But with that, I’m going to end this interview and I actually would really love to hear more about that. So, when you’re ready, let’s do another one.
Shannon: [00:36:55] Well, call me at the end of the summer. We’ll tell you how we do and what the plans are for the next summer.
Eve: [00:36:59] Ok, thanks very much. Bye.
Shannon: [00:37:01] Bye bye, Eve.
Eve: [00:37:12] That was Shannon Mudd. Shannon has turned teaching economics into a meaningful and hands-on exercise. His students gain real world experience, learning how to invest for more than a financial return. And they are taking that knowledge with them into the job market and passing it on. Impactful classes for impact investing.
Eve: [00:37:44] You can find out more about this episode on the Show Notes page at EvePicker.com or you can find other episodes you might have missed, or you can show your support at Patreon.com/rethinkrealestate, where you can learn about special opportunities for my friends and followers. A special thanks to David Allardice for his excellent editing of this podcast and original music. And thanks to you for spending your time with me today. We’ll talk again soon. But for now, this is Eve Picker signing off to go make some change.
Images courtesy of Shannon Mudd, Patrick Montero and Haverford College.