ThisScreen Shot 2014-03-10 at 10.13.58 AM month, we are delighted to speak with Michael Van Patten, the founder and president of Mission Markets. Prior to this venture, Mike co-founded NYPPEX, a leading secondary transactions and data firm in New York. After several years of success with that firm, he took some time off and become more attuned to global issues. He wanted to find “better ways to think about social and environmental issues,” and apply his capital markets experience to the nascent field of impact investing. Since the firm’s founding in 2008, Mission Markets has become a ‘one stop shop’ for impact investors and practitioners: providing access to a capital market for impact investments through MMX, and up-to-date information on investment targets through community portals.

A lot of Mike’s work with Mission Markets is focused on developing infrastructure for impact investors and third party service providers. His current focus is creating an institutional portal to facilitate impact investing in different asset classes and industries, similar to:

  • A “social network that’s tied to an investment platform… providing access to share due diligence, co-investment groups, research and communication, partnerships about certain themes in sustainability.”
  • A quasi-private market exchange supported by a network of investors and service providers. Facilitated collaboration is especially important given the number of players from different sectors vying to get involved in impact investing.

Mission Markets’ work is informed by Mike’s recent publication on scaling impact investing, highlighting the need:

  • To integrate mainstream financial products and services to appeal to a wider range of investors.
  • Varied offerings that span asset classes and sectors, and provide extensive information to facilitate thorough due diligence.

Indeed, to expand investment capital with a social mission, we need this variety and information to enable investors to find the appropriate destination for their impact-seeking capital. Through its institutional portal, Mission Markets “wants to be able to give investors access to instruments that offer a range of investment structures” of varied deal sizes from private securities to fully registered non private placement enabling investors and their advisors to create total impact portfolios.

We are very excited to see the development of this platform. There is a lot of demand for impact investments to establish and grow social ventures. Mission Markets offering can simplify and expedite the process of placing capital for a lot of impact-minded investors. Mike is eager to support investors with both a finance-first perspective as well as impact first, where the former prioritizes the potential financial returns of a deal above its social impact. He sees this approach as the best way to maximize impact and help the impact investing industry reach scale.

At the end of the day, Mike highlights the importance of “being inclusive and not exclusive… and if we were able to help the industry reach scale, then I would say that we have been very successful." Inspiring approach indeed!

-Lorainne Lopez