Investors have the power to help grow new technologies and trends that will shape our future. And impact investors — like myself — focus their dollars on fighting climate change and social injustice. Those are big goals. So it’s critical that we expand our knowledge about the world’s challenges. The list is long: food, water, energy, carbon, education, affordable housing, gender and racial gaps, and more. The more we know about the opportunities and challenges of these industries, the more sharper our edge when judging startup investment opportunities. As part of my effort to stay sharp, I recently attended SOCAP22, a San Francisco impact investing conference aimed at accelerating impactful ideas. Attendees went to discussions and learned about what entrepreneurs and investors are doing in the impact investing space. Many entrepreneurs also looks for funding opportunities at the conference. I had a great time at SOCAP, and I wanted to share a little about the things I learned there. 

One of the most interesting events I joined was a discussion about blockchain. (Learn the lingo: the blockchain is a shared digital ledger that makes it easy and secure to track transactions and assets online.) It’s most often used for cryptocurrency mining, which is extremely energy intensive. I didn’t know much about using blockchain from an environmental perspective until I heard about its potential to boost carbon credits. Because it’s a digital log, it can reliably track companies’ carbon emissions and fluidify the sale of carbon credits. A strong and secure carbon credit market is good news for the environment — it can help companies offset their carbon emissions while incentivizing carbon sequestration. I’ve never come across any company using blockchain that way on crowdfunding platforms,but investors interested in investing in companies providing carbon sequestration solutions can review Biodel AG, currently raising on Wefunder.

Many of the other talks I attended at SOCAP were on topics that we’ve recently covered at KingsCrowd: fashion, world inequalities, and climate finance. Crowdfunding has good opportunities for impact investors, but some industries come back more often than others. I feel that we find more startups with high-tech solutions than low-tech when it comes to fighting climate change and inequalities. Startups that are offering affordable and simple solutions to emerging countries — such as water filters and regenerative agriculture — seem to raise less often online than energy or transportation companies. And investors have a tendency to overlook companies that protect natural resources and biodiversity. I hope to see some of these trends begin to change soon.

Like all startup investors, impact investors must look to the future. Startups that reach profitability can create long-lasting and sustainable change in the world. And I’m proud that KingsCrowd makes it easier for retail investors to find impactful startups that are raising capital online. 

Keep an eye out for my continuing coverage of impact investing and the solutions that investors should be watching for! I’ll be writing more about natural resources, emerging countries, and low-tech (but high impact) solutions.