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 at the same time.​


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.


Investments to date

  • 31 deals executed
  • 29 enterprises supported
  • US$ 12.5 million invested by Conservation International
  • US$ 700 million catalyzed finance (partner co-financing and follow on investments)
  • US$ 19 million capital raised to date


By 2028: 100 deals for nature and people

$US 200M
total invested with co-financing partners
livelihoods supported
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



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


Our Portfolio

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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