Impact Platform Eyes an AI Future

Net Purpose expands capabilities, views AI as essential to handle proliferation of sustainability data. 

Net Purpose, a data analytics platform for impact investors, is expanding its team and capabilities, while looking at new technologies to help align investments to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

CEO Sam Duncan said new tech capabilities, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are needed to address the proliferation of sustainability data which is creating confusion for users of ESG ratings giving rise to accusations of greenwashing. 

The global impact investing market was valued at US$1.164 trillion by a Global Impact Investing Network report released last year. According to Net Purpose, approximately US$120 trillion is committed globally to invest sustainably, with allocations growing at 22% year-on-year.  

Net Purpose describes itself as the “first dedicated platform for this growing community of investors seeking profit and purpose” with the company looking to mobilise trillions of dollars to achieve the UN SDGs.  

The company has recently used part of its US$11 million Series A funding round to make two strategic hires with experience in the tech sector. The funding will additionally be used to further automate the platform through the use of AI and the development of new tools to “help more investors mobilise billions and become sustainability leaders”.

Its platform is aimed at giving asset owners, high-net worth individuals, consultants, and asset managers more information on companies’ impact across a broad range of ESG-related themes.  

“We provide facts on the social and environmental performance of companies and investment portfolios to investors,” said Duncan. “Those investors are typically managing or trying to manage sustainable or impact funds.” 

Net Purpose’s platform analyses five years of company performance data against 12 SDGs and more than 200 related key performance indicators (KPIs). It currently covers approximately 4,500 companies, up from under 3,000 in April last year, with the company aiming to cover 5,000 by the end 2023.  

Duncan underlined the importance of the database covering “99%” global indices, including the S&P 500 and MSCI World indexes”. This allows Net Purpose to help responsible investors screen all indices and help them construct portfolios with sustainable strategies, she said. 

Net Purpose said its platform provides investors with “objective facts, not subjective scores or ratings” with analysis derived from the latest scientific research and literature. 

Increasing tech expertise 

The sustainable and impact investor platform has recently bolstered its tech expertise with two strategic hires, which were facilitated by a US$11 million Series A funding round led by private equity firm ETF Partners. 

The injection of capital has enabled the firm to invest in its product and customer success teams and enter “growth mode”, according to Duncan. 

Lauren Wright, former Director of EMEA Sales at Glassdoor, has been hired as VP of Sales at Net Purpose, alongside Christine Siu as its new VP of Product.  

“We’re excited to work together to continue enhancing the world’s leading platform for sustainable and impact investors,” said Duncan.  

“This represents a significant investment in our product and revenue teams, which will help us on our mission to make impact measurement effortless for all investors by 2025.” 

Duncan said that the additional tech expertise will assist in the development of Net Purpose’s platform to offer a fact base on what constitutes sustainability. 

“We’re going to be launching a host of new features for our clients so they can better measure and manage their impact,” added Duncan.  

“We’re also going to be trying to support more clients as we grow this year and mobilise trillions more for UN SDGs.”

Duncan said that Net Purpose combines AI and human intelligence in its platform, with technology trained by analysts and engineers to “deliver the speed of technology alongside the nuance and quality that an evolving, complex topic like sustainability requires”.

The practical information hub for asset owners looking to invest successfully and sustainably for the long term. As best practice evolves, we will share the news, insights and data to guide asset owners on their individual journey to ESG integration.

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