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“Double-Bottom-Line” companies looking to make social impact get capital for launch, growth

Tesla, Solar City and Pandora Media are among companies benefiting from venture capital.

DBL Investors (i.e., Double Bottom Line Investors) is the venture capital firm championing the idea that a company must make money — the first bottom line — and also make a positive social impact (second bottom line). The firm flips the usual “impact investor” priorities which normally put social mission first. DBL Investors  managing director Nancy Fund is refreshingly blunt about it: “We always start with the first bottom line. If a company is not [financially] successful, there can be no impact.”

Even in this hierarchy of objectives, companies that get DBL Investors’ capital must coordinate with the fund in identifying social impact goals and report on them twice a year. Needless to say, successful companies such as Tesla and Solar City also achieve what might be called a “third bottom line” creation of thousands of jobs.

The DBL Investors business philosophy is yet another example of the variety of creative approaches within the growing and evolving form of capitalism called corporate social responsibility/sustainable development/”shared value.”