First, TPG Growth tapped Bono to help launch The Rise Fund. Now, the firm has brought on former US Secretary of State John Kerry as a senior advisor for the $2 billion vehicle.
Kerry, the former Massachusetts senator and 2004 presidential nominee, becomes the latest politician to join the PE ranks. He will reportedly be responsible for helping find and advise the firm’s portfolio companies, with a specific focus on the renewable energy sector.
“We hope that we can write a new playbook and demonstrate that impact investing can be scalable, profitable and truly measurable,” Kerry wrote in a Medium post about his new role. “If we succeed, we can open the door for institutional investors to deploy capital toward investments that drive positive social and environmental change without compromising returns.”
TPG closed The Rise Fund on $2 billion this past October, surpassing a $1.5 billion target. Formed by TPG managing partner Bill McGlashan, Bono and billionaire film producer Jeff Skoll, the vehicle aims to promote social and environmental good by investing across several industries, which reportedly include the food & agriculture, education, energy, financial services, healthcare, technology and infrastructure sectors. With a star-laden board of directors that includes Richard Branson and Laurene Powell Jobs, the fund has made 11 investments so far, per PitchBook data.
Kerry likened TPG’s efforts to a privately funded version of the Marshall Plan, a $13 billion government initiative to help the European economy recover in the aftermath of World War II. “What do you do in an age that demands one hundred Marshall Plans but few constituencies anywhere stepping up to provide them? The answer is, you think differently — and you think creatively,” Kerry wrote in the Medium post.
TPG isn’t the only firm focused on impact investing. In 2017, PE and VC firms devoted about $4 billion to impact funds around the world, per the PitchBook Platform. The Rise Fund is among the largest: Of the 270 PE and VC vehicles included in a recent PitchBook analyst note, about 59% of the PE funds totaled less that $100 million in equity commitments.
The sector looks poised to grow, with Goldman Sachs, UBS and US Bank having already added impact investing divisions. Bain Capital, meanwhile, closed its Double Impact fund on a reported $390 million last year, with a focus on health & wellness, sustainability and community building. In a bit of a coincidence, the vehicle is led by Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor who’s been rumored as a possible 2020 presidential candidate.