Episode 2 | The changing face of impact investment: Interview with John Kohler, co-founder of Toniic, a global syndication network of impact investors, and Senior Director of Impact Capital at Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
John is a highly experienced former business executive and venture capital investor now focussing on social innovation and impact investing. He is a co-founder of Toniic, a syndication network of impact investors, and Senior Director of Impact Capital at Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and he is also a mentor to Social Entrepreneurs at the Center’s accelerator programs. This is an in-depth and comprehensive picture of the state of impact investment today by a seasoned investment executive. In this interview, John talks about the origins of Toniic, and its investment activities. He discusses the changing face of impact investing and the growth of new financing vehicles such as structured exits and the demand dividend. John highlights the particular challenges facing social entrepreneurs “crossing the pioneer gap” –the valley of death–trying to raise capital in the $500k -$1 million range. John also provides clear advice for social entrepreneurs and innovators looking to finance a social business. In particular, he explains why social entrepreneurs need to do more to become “investment ready, emphasizes the crucial importance of understanding investors’ perspective, and the “justifiable ask.”