A tree nursery in Madagascar

CI Ventures, LLC

Investing in businesses that contribute to healthy ecosystems

 

Providing sustainable economic opportunities must be at the core of successful conservation strategies.​

CI Ventures is an investment fund that provides loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises that operate in the forests, oceans and grasslands where Conservation International works​. Whether in sustainable agriculture or forestry, ecotourism or wild fisheries, these businesses share one thing in common: a commitment to practices that benefit ecosystems and human well-being.​

 

Our plan

Fill the financing gap

Many conservation-conscious enterprises describe challenges in raising risk-tolerant capital and securing technical and other resources needed to demonstrate performance and meet investor expectations. CI Ventures provides capital and other resources to enhance “investment readiness” and enable larger additional investment.

Focus on impact first

Designed to leverage scarce public and philanthropic resources, CI Ventures’ investments will emphasize projects that have the potential for greatest impact in critical landscapes and seascapes in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, South Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines. CI Ventures uses proprietary impact screening and monitoring and evaluation tools that assess impact throughout the investment lifecycle.

 

Our Portfolio

Investments to date

  • 34 deals executed
  • 30 enterprises supported
  • US$ 12.5 million invested by Conservation International
  • US$ 86 million mobilized finance (co-financing and follow-on investments)
  • US$ 30 million of near-term eligible pipeline
  • US$ 19 million capital raised to date

By the numbers

Almost 90,000 hectares — an area larger than Luxembourg — have been protected or restored by our investees.

Conservation impacts

100,567 ha

protected, conserved or restored

210,719 ha

under sustainable production

142

protected species

1,513,437 tCO2

avoided/reduced

115 t

of reduction in bycatch

8,362 t

waste diverted

Livelihoods

2,553

full-time jobs

57,153

livelihoods improved

30%

of the portfolio has women founders or in C-suite

11,691

individuals trained

 

CI Ventures Impact Report 2022

In its first five years, CI Ventures has been able to deliver a successful portfolio of more than US$ 12 million, with companies mobilizing seven times that funding in additional capital. The fund has produced its first impact report, highlighting the progress toward our goals.

Read the full report

 

OUR GOALS

US$ 50 million
philanthropic capital raised 
3,000 jobs
created in nature-based businesses
200 deals
for people and nature
150,000
livelihoods supported
US$ 700 million
of co-financing and follow-on invested
500,000 hectares
of natural habitat protected or restored

 

How CI Ventures financing works

CI Ventures’ capital supports enterprises that will generate profit, which helps to pay off the loans — returning principal and interest to the fund that can be used to make future investments. Over time, this revolving fund will grow and have additional capital to continuously reinvest in conservation efforts.

Typical investment: US$ 200,000-500,000
Typical investment duration: Up to 5 years

 

Types of investments

CI Ventures invests in startup and growth-stage enterprises seeking financing to support:

  • Investment readiness: Targeted, relatively short-term interventions and investment to improve readiness to mobilize larger follow-on financing (e.g., improved financial control systems, export and/or market certification, third-party audit of impacts)
  • Growth capital: Investments in companies with mature business models that seek capital to expand or restructure operations or enter new markets (e.g, working capital lines, capital expenditures)
  • Novel approaches: Innovative technologies, proof-of-concept and market-based approaches that disrupt or replace existing unsustainable production models

 

Eligibility

To be eligible for financing from CI Ventures, enterprises must demonstrate:

  • A viable business model
  • Potential for significant, measurable environmental and social impacts (e.g., biodiversity conservation, restoration of natural resources, jobs created, etc.)
  • Potential to unlock future additional investment at scale
  • Strong management capacity
  • Alignment with Conservation International’s mission and values

 

African Conservancies Fund

© Charlie Shoemaker

In 2020, Conservation International launched the African Conservancies Fund as a rescue package for the critically important Maasai Mara landscape in Kenya. When the pandemic impacted the tourism industry, the loss of revenues created a devastating threat to biodiversity and people as pristine wilderness was at risk of being sold or farmed. CI Ventures' US$ 500,000 investment into the Fund leveraged $1.5 million in impact capital from partners; to date, $2 million has been disbursed to four conservancies across the Mara to support the ecosystem and its people through an economic crisis. 

After demonstrating success with this pilot, CI Ventures aims to expand the model across Africa and invest $50 million in additional conservancies over five years to achieve the following impact by 2030: 

  • 1 million community members living near wildlife derive benefits from wildlife conservation
  • Populations of indicator species within Conservation International priority areas are stable or increasing
  • Ecosystems covering 2 million hectares within Conservation International priority areas benefit from increased biodiversity
  • 1 million tons of CO2e/year (carbon dioxide equivalent) in climate co-benefits from rangeland restoration activities implemented by conservancies

 

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