The Rise Fund, an impact fund founded by Irish singer-songwriter and venture capitalist Bono, the front man for rock band U2, alongside other high-profile investors including PayPal’s Jeff Skoll and TPG Growth’s Bill McGlashan, announced the close of its $2 billion hard cap in Oct 2017. In late April, the private equity fund announced that it would add another big-name to its roster, with the hiring off former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as a senior advisor to the social investing fund.
The fund, which is managed by TPG Growth, TPG’s global growth equity and middle market buyout platform, seeks to partner with entrepreneurs in order to build businesses that drive “meaningful, measurable and positive change.” The Rise Fund describes its mission as “committed to achieving social and environmental impact alongside competitive financial returns.”
“The private sector is the best bet we have to try to save us from the worst downsides of some of these social, environmental, political challenges we face on a global basis,” stated Kerry in an interview with Bloomberg and TPG Growth managing partner Bill McGlashan. “That is the bottom line reality that people need to really think about.”
At the Rise Fund, the Vietnam War veteran and former Democratic Massachusetts senator will help identify investments and advise portfolio companies across Rise’s various sectors, with a particular focus on renewable energy projects, according to the report. McGlashan said that Kerry’s experience with crafting agreements and building consensus, such as his role in negotiating the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, make him an ideal addition to the Rise’s efforts as the fund shoots for market-rate returns alongside generating a social good.
Kerry will be joined in TPG’s Growth Rise Fund by Arne Duncan, who served as Obama’s education secretary, as well as well-known Democrat Rich Kevin, an economist and former Yale University President.
The Rise Fund lists other advisors including Richard Branson and Lauren Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, among handfuls of others. It is the largest impact investing pool ever, and has backed 11 businesses so far. The fund aims to help grow companies in seven primary sectors including agriculture and food, education, energy, financial services, health care, technology and infrastructure.