Hong Kong’s Social Impact Partners closes second fund


Social Impact Partners (SIP), a Hong Kong-based venture philanthropy organization supported by several private equity firms, has closed its second fund with $2 million in commitments.


All-Stars Investment and Baring Private Equity Asia both contributed capital through their foundations, while additional capital came from family foundations such as the Chen Yet-Sen Foundation and the Fu Tak Iam Foundation and high net worth individuals (HNWIs). Baring and CVC Capital Partners – along with some family foundations and HNWIs – seeded SIP’s debut fund, also of $2 million, in 2014.


The first fund was used to support five Hong Kong social purpose organizations (SPOs) addressing issues in social education, youth well-being, and the environment. Each group received an average of HK$2.5 million ($319,000) with a view to helping them achieve sustainability and scale.


SIP’s first commitment went to RunOurCity, which was co-founded by a former operating partner at Bain Capital. It organizes training programs for young people aged 13-20, mostly from difficult backgrounds. The empowerment that comes from reaching distance goals in running is intended to help participants overcome broader motivational and behavioral problems.


Much of the value-add comes through professional service providers – some of them recruited through SIP’s private equity backers – that are utilized according to the needs of portfolio enterprises. These strategic partners, which operate on a pro bono basis, include Bain & Company, Brunswick, Clifford Chance, Newgate Communications, and PwC.


For example, with RunOurCity, Bain & Company came up with a mechanism for tracking the behavioral change in participants in the program, thereby quantifying the social impact.


“We are gratified with the progress made by the five organizations in achieving both their social and business objectives so far. We are very excited to launch our second fund and ready to support more SPOs,” said Lindy Lek, executive director of SIP, in a statement.