Step 7: Cultivating Lessons for Impact Investing
Reflecting on practices and developing lessons from experienced practitioners should not be confined to formal assessments like this one. Toniic members are constantly experimenting with new models, developing norms, and pushing through boundaries, all of which positions them to provide consistent, invaluable feedback to each other and the field. Investors should understand the value of these experiences and communicate with each other frequently to magnify the impact of their work.
The network is still young, but as it grows, it will be increasingly important to review, assess, and share the expertise it develops. For example, while now there is a small number of members who have deep early-stage impact investment portfolios, as investors develop experience with more mature portfolios with proven impact, clean exits, and demonstrated return, it will be important for others to understand the evolution of their process and the methods they have employed to generate their success. And, of course, it will be just as important to discuss their failures and mistakes – and what lessons they learned from those experiences. Impact investing—particularly in early, high-risk stages—is relatively new and unproven.
As Toniic and other angel networks develop as impact seed-stage investors, it is important to remember that the knowledge and experience that they gain can and should be used to build the field. “The 7-Step Framework” outlined above is synthesized from the collective experience of over 40 impact investors. Below, we continue by sharing specific stories that show this process, with its many nuances, in action.