Our group of investment funds are directed toward Canadian local and social ventures (also known as Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs)) that generate a positive measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.
Our latest investment offering is the Coast Venture Root Three (CVR3) Impact Fund.
Also recently released is the latest iteration of the Impactful Term Deposit, developed by the Sunshine Coast Credit Union. An investment in this Term Deposit empowers Impactful Lending at the Credit Union. It’s an innovative way to make the most of your money, generating both a financial and social return on your funds. A few of the financial benefits include:
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires large scale business and infrastructure solutions, which in turn require an equal magnitude of financing from mainstream commercial and fiduciary institutions.
Rhiza Capital is a financial intermediary acting in direct response to the challenge of financing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We build Positive Impact (PI) financial products, programs and partnerships that localize the SDGs and connect community to opportunity. Rhiza supports the adoption of a positive impact approach, so Canadians can step up their positive contribution to the economy, society and the environment, and actively participate in bridging the financing gap for sustainable development.
The Positive Impact Initiative (PI) works with banks, investors, corporations and the public sector to foster a new set of private-sector, impact-based solutions to the SDGs.
Rhiza Capital is adopting the PI framework, tools and strategies to localize this global initiative, in Canada.
*Rhiza, Greek in origin, refers to a root structure. Rhiza Capital is a Certified B Corporation intent on growing local economies and healthy communities by connecting root capital to impact ventures.
Impact investments are those made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.
None of the information on this website is intended as a general solicitation or advertising for offers or sales of securities of Rhiza Capital or its subsidiaries. All prospective investors should consult with their investment advisers or brokers in considering any investment.
Ethelo Decisions has developed a cloud-based software solution that significantly reduces the cost of stakeholder engagement, while also improving the outcomes, by allowing each participant to variably weigh the value of each variable in the consideration process. Then, Ethelo’s proprietary algorithm calculates both the sum total of all possible variants and the most successful possible outcomes given the participant’s feedback. The revenue model layers a consultation fee to cover the fixed costs of set up and a software as a service subscription fee for the length of the engagement.
At Salish Soils, we believe in the renewable spirit of nature. We honour the earth by empowering people, while healing lands – collecting, receiving and composting waste resources into high quality organics. We provide natural landscape materials and premium organic soils from a state-of-the-art processing facility and mine reclamation site in Sechelt, BC.
Our tool have powered some of the largest online campaigns in the world, forced governments to change course, and reimagined how people can effect change. We call it Full-Spectrum Engagement, and our new engagement tools make it easy to target decision makers, activate grassroots power, and help you win campaigns.
Mesh is an online food share marketplace and logistics platform. We match safe and nutritious unsold food to secondary markets in an automated and intelligent way.SAVE MONEY. REDUCE WASTE. FEED MORE.
ChatterHigh addresses the the knowledge and communication gap between the post-secondary institutions, trade associations and corporations that need to convey the opportunities available once school-age children (Gr. 6-12) graduate, and the school-age children that need to be informed in order to make effective and empowered choices leading up to graduation. What ChatterHigh has done is built a platform that gamifies the process of researching the options for the future. The revenue model is based on a fee-per-click, charged to the post-secondary institution, when a child clicks on a link to research the answer to a quiz question provided by the same institution.
nonprofit software, simplified.
Donor engagement, project management, and communication tools for your organization.
For too long, robust technology has only been available to nonprofits that can afford it. We think powerful, integrated solutions should be accessible for all organizations and initiatives — big or small.
Vidigami is described as the “home for your school memories”. It provides a single portal where all photos taken by faculty, staff and parents of a given school can be uploaded, and through advanced facial recognition processes, sorted per student. The service is currently targeted towards private and chartered schools, with the revenue model split between a subscription paid by the school and various photo products made available to families.
SHM Controls has developed a technology that allows owners and managers of small to mid-sized apartment buildings to reduce the natural gas costs associated with their boiler-based heating systems by 25-40%. The system utilizes a small control box that is easily installed on any boiler, small wireless sensors throughout the building and a proprietary algorithm to modulate the boiler to achieve maximum efficiency and tenant comfort. The revenue model is subscription-based software as a service, with no cost of equipment for the client.
ViewsIQ has developed advanced digitization technology specific to the work of pathologists and their microscopic analysis of slide-based samples. Largely a software solution, ViewsIQ allows the pathologist to analyze a sample as they would from their own microscope, with the ability to manage magnification, depth of field and focal point, all from their computer at a distance. This allows for potentially lifesaving access to time-sensitive consultations, while also stripping away onerous costs of physical shipping for live samples. The revenue model is split between system sales and the software made available as a subscription service.
Barter is a community of people sharing knowledge to make things better for the home. Our products tell a story of the West Coast. They speak of the natural beauty of our materials, the breadth of our craftspeople, and the laid-back, nature-inspired lifestyles we live. We believe that a well-designed object is something that you use, cherish and keep for a long, long time. We take inspiration from the natural resources that surround us, and insist on using them respectfully. We believe in community, and create objects designed to bring us together. #BCMADE
Welcome to The Hangar Climbing Lounge! A fresh new gathering place here on the SUNSHINE COAST. We have designed this gym to be your home away from home. This is a BOULDERING ONLY gym which allows us to provide members with 24/7 access, letting you choose the music and help yourself to the self serve honour system snack and beverage bar. We believe in building community, being fit and having as much fun as possible in the process. No matter your skill level from absolute newbie to seasoned climber you will find a community of friendly and helpful people gathered at The Hangar having loads of fun and pushing themselves as far as their personal limits allow.
Cognilab has created an online platform for the development and execution of academic-calibre psychological experimentation. This allows for a significant reduction in costs and execution time, reducing both by 50-90%. Additional benefits of the system include the ability to make a primary research tool broadly available to undergrad students for the first time, access to remote populations and commercial applications in the arenas of market and political research. Cognilab will own much of the data that is generated using its platform, positioning it to be the single largest repository of date on human cognition…ever. The revenue model is a hybrid of a subscription-based software as a service approach and a per-participant commission for those participants sourced through Cognilab.
Popul8 is a leading edge asset management technology company disrupting the way you currently manage your infrastructure. Our solutions provide asset management tools using the latest in digital technologies, such as VR (virtual reality), 360 cameras, and the IoT (Internet of Things). Our digital technology provides you with the convergence of virtual tours and dashboard information that will revolutionize your enterprise. Whether you are in heavy industry, government, HR/education, property management or utilities, we can help you do your job faster, safer, more accurately and more proactively.
We manage three types of impact investment portfolios from which to choose. Each is designed to meet a range of investors expectations for Return, Risk and Impact.
Rhiza Capital’s Coastal Venture Root One (CRV1), formally incorporated as Sunshine Coast Venture Partners VCC, is a corporation registered for the sole purpose of investing funds in a number of start-up, emerging and expanding eligible small (impact) businesses. This portfolio closed in 2015.
CVR1 invests in companies that can offer its investors a 30% fully refundable tax credit. CVR1 is primarily invested in health tech, education tech and social tech companies. See our Portfolios page for the list of companies included in CVR1.
Rhiza Capital’s Coastal Venture Root Two (CVR2), is, similar to CVR1, a corporation registered for the sole purpose of investing funds in a number of start-up, emerging and expanding eligible small (impact) businesses. CVR2 is comprised of companies that can offer its investors a 30% fully refundable tax credit and is an RRSP eligible investment. This portfolio closed in 2018.
VCC1 is primarily invested in health tech, education tech and social tech companies. See our Portfolios page for the list of companies included in CVR2.
Rhiza Capital’s Coastal Venture Root Three (CVR3), is a corporation registered for the sole purpose of investing funds in a number of start-up, emerging and expanding eligible small (impact) businesses. This is our third portfolio launched in early 2019. CVR3 will be comprised of companies that can offer its investors a 30% fully refundable tax credit.
An appropriately investable company is an Eligible Business Corporation (EBC). To whit, an EBC is a business that is resident in BC, primarily employs BC residents (75%+) and falls into one of six sectors: manufacturing, tourism, R&D of tech, digital media, diversification of rural economies, clean tech. All of our investments with our impact thesis found here.
Rhiza Capital’s Coastal Community Investment Corporation (CIC) is a for-profit corporation, regulated by BC securities laws.
The CIC uses the Private Issuers exemption, limiting its potential investors to 50 or fewer friends, family, close business associates and Accredited Investors.
The key advantage to CIC is that ownership can be multiple or singular, and with various types of share classes, raising as much (or as little) investment capital as it sees fit.
A unique opportunity afforded by the flexible share class structure of CIC is to mitigate risk for investor-shareholders by creating a preferred share class(es) where capital preservation and a preferential dividend (i.e. 3% or 5%) can be offered. The other investor-shareholders and/or the sponsor of the fund [Rhiza Capital] take on any excess risk through preferred shares of a more junior class, or vis a vis the common share class.
See our Ventures page for the list of companies included in the CIC portfolio.
The Coast Community Investment Co-op was formed to secure capital through the sale of shares in the co-operative, and invest it onward in local social venture.
The Co-op, registered with the provincial government as a for-profit co-operative, identifies, or is approached by, local entrepreneurs with a business opportunity in need of investment.
Members/Shareholders of the Co-op review the business plan and often provide advice about it. They then agree on the best way to assist the business with debt financing (a loan) or equity financing (land, equipment or as co-owners).
Here is a graphic showing our workflow process.
The practice of impact investing is defined by the following four core characteristics:
An investor’s intention to have a positive social or environmental impact through investments is essential to impact investing.
Impact investments are expected to generate a financial return on capital or, at minimum, a return of capital.
Impact investments target financial returns that range from below market (sometimes called concessionary) to risk-adjusted market rate, and can be made across asset classes, including but not limited to cash equivalents, fixed income, venture capital, and private equity.
A hallmark of impact investing is the commitment of the investor to measure and report the social and environmental performance and progress of underlying investments, ensuring transparency and accountability while informing the practice of impact investing and building the field.
Our investments are directed toward Canadian local and social ventures that have a demonstrable intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.
Rhiza is, generally, using the B Corp approach and Assessment Tools as our guide and methodology for indicating the impact of our investing activities. Additionally, we ask our portfolio companies to self-identify specific, quantifiable metrics they track and report on as well as with which of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals they most closely associate.
What Measurement System we use:
“We manage what we measure. This is one of the most basic truths in business. It follows that we ought to measure what matters most: the ability of a business to not only generate returns, but also to create value for its customers, employees, community, and the environment.” – B Impact Assessment
Rhiza is committed to keeping track of our portfolio companies’ performance using the B Corp Assessment Tools. We’ll employ this impact measurement methodology in two stages.
Community Futures of the Sunshine Coast has been studying, developing and now piloting a Community Impact (CI) Tool. We developed the measures based on the B Corp assessment framework yet more accurately applied to the context of our region and mandates. These are the major sections of the CI Tool.
Community Impact Metrics
Total CI points [max. possible 24 points]
The CF Community Impact (CI) Tool is included in the intake process for all application packages going to our Investment Committee. The CI Tool provides an opinion of how aware a business is of its impact and how much effort they have already put forward to manage that impact. This Tool provides a maximum score of 24 points, however, the assessment and tool itself is as much about beginning a conversation as it is scoring their performance. For many start-up, small and medium-sized ventures this will be the first introduction to responsible business practices let alone the B Corp Certification. We believe that business leaders need to be supported, mentored, and coached into the impact mentality as opposed to subjected to it.
Once Rhiza staff have that score in hand it is considered in both the due diligence process and included in the report to the Investment Committee. In some cases this will be merely an introductory step of learning for the investee yet in other cases the investee may already have an advanced understanding of sustainability and responsible business practices. In the latter case, Rhiza staff may employ a second, higher stage of the B Corp Assessment to both incentivize improvements and further entrench our commitment to having a positive impact.
Should the investee/applicant already exhibit progressive, responsible practices or orientation, Rhiza staff will encourage them to take the full B Corp Assessment, if they haven’t already done so. The full assessment is a bit longer process (2-3 hours plus some follow-up with the B Lab staff) requiring a greater commitment level of resources, attention and intention. That said, Rhiza believes the intrinsic alignment between our mandate, company, investees and the B Corp Certification both makes explicit our dedication to using “business as a force for good” and moves our portfolio forward along the path to a positive impact.
Once the full B Corp assessment has been completed Rhiza staff will consider the score achieved. If the B Corp score is greater than 60 points, Rhiza staff will recommend multiple investments in the investee company. Recognizing that B Corp certification requires a score of 80, we feel that 60 points indicates a positive impact, and perhaps more importantly, an intent to manage the harmful impacts if not improve their operations for positive impact. Should a company achieve B Corp Certification Rhiza will go even further in considering our investment, either through follow-on tranches of capital, investment terms or both.
With a minimum score of 60 points on the full B Corp assessment, Rhiza staff may recommend to the Investment Committee at least a second tranche of investment. For example, if Staff would be recommending a $30,000 investment without the full B Corp assessment, we may now recommend a second tranche of $30,000, doubling our investment in the company and support of the B Corp movement.
In addition to the above method of assessing and articulating our impact, we ask our portfolio companies to self-identify the impact metrics that they regularly and diligently track and report. For example, one of our food-based companies tracks both ‘lbs of food kept out of the landfill’ and ‘lbs of food going to the underprivileged.’
As well, we ask our portfolio companies to self-identify which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals they most closely associate. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
21% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
16% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
16% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
10.5% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
10.5% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
10.5% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
10.5% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
5% of our portfolio companies are working on Goal #2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon the circumstances. The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world’s most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, clean technology, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.
Impact investing has attracted increasing interest among investors who are allocating more capital to impact investments year-over-year. What does this mean for the social and environmental good that might be funded by impact investing now and in the future?
Rhiza Capital and Community Futures provide portfolio management services to ensure that the Coast Investment Co-op operations are efficient, effective, meeting members expectations and well run.
The purpose of the Co-op is to finance projects that create social and environmental impacts in our community, while also providing a modest financial return to our members. We do this by raising capital through the sale of membership shares. This capital is then invested in local projects and organizations that improve our community.
We have four strategic investment focus areas:
• Food security
• Meaningful work
• Environmental sustainability
• Affordable housing
Our Board of Directors:
All investments are placed into ventures on the Sunshine Coast. You do not have to be a resident of the Sunshine Coast to become a member.
The Co-op is owned and governed by its members. Members, who can be individuals or organizations, join the Co-op by purchasing either 25 Member Shares ($2,500) or 50 Member Shares ($5,000). Members benefits include: attending meetings and special events, running for election to the co-op board, and support our investees. We anticipate 1% to 3% financial return on investment, over a minimum of five years.
The co-op carefully vets all potential investments. Applications for investment are initially reviewed by the by the Community Futures/Rhiza Investment Committee. The Co-op Directors, who have been elected by the membership, make the final investment decision. In addition to providing financing, the Co-op also offers additional project development support to investees.
Please email us: CoastInvestmentCoop at gmail.com.
We are delighted by the work of our colleagues who are creating other BC investment cooperatives: Knives and Forks (Vancouver) and Creston & District Community Investment Co-op.
Brian is an accomplished entrepreneur, investor and creative organizer for sustainable business and impactful economic development. He has led and helped deploy private equity placements and institutional investments that have derived impressive returns and demonstrable impact. He is a co-founding partner in Rhiza Capital mandated to grow the ecosystem of investments that can support social ventures and apply the principles of business for positive social and environmental impact. Having founded and led successful non-profits, for-profits, and co-ops, Brian is uniquely skillful in a variety of models that have a positive impact.
Brian co-founded and is the Chair of the Board of Persephone Brewing Company – “The Beer Farm”. Persephone is renowned for both award winning beer, the early adoption of ecologically positive systems and community impact, and is the only Certified B Corp brewery in Western Canada. Brian holds a BA in Economics from Simon Fraser University, an MA in Planning from the University of British Columbia (UBC), and a Professional Certificate from the UBC Sauder School of Business. Brian and his social ventures have received a number of awards including: Top 100 Impact Companies in North America (2019), Canadian Social Enterprise of the Year (2017), Widening our World Award (2016), Land Award (2016), Celebration of Excellence Award (2014), and Top 40 Under 40 Business People in Vancouver (2009).
Sean is a meticulous asset manager and experienced financial professional. Sean leads Rhiza’s investment strategy and portfolio management. He has a robust and multi-disciplinary knowledge base, with a proven track record in angel and institutional investing, scaling ventures and delivering strong returns for shareholders.Sean has over 20 years’ experience in private equity and venture capital, governance and administrative law, financial engineering and portfolio management. He was an early proponent of values-based investing, working with HNW families to integrate purpose into their portfolios in his early career. He later founded BC’s first Community Investment Corporation, engineering an innovative and risk-managed approach to place-based investment in the process. This set the stage for the formation of Rhiza Capital, where Sean has curated and managed Rhiza’s fund family since inception, active as a board member and advisor for several Rhiza portfolio companies.
In the community, Sean has held governance leadership roles with the United Way, Rotary International, Better Business Bureau, Edmonton’s Assessment Review Board and Inclusion Powell River (where he led this $10MM/annum organization in its first series of for-profit enterprise and investment acquisitions).
Sean holds a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Winnipeg.
Elyse is an enthusiastic convenor, connector and passionate advocate for solutions for a sustainable future. As Director of (Impact) Investor Relations, Elyse ensures that the Rhiza community of investors is growing, informed, and impactful. Elyse safeguards the critical relationship between fund and partner, and cultivates a culture of trust that is critical to our success.
For the past four years, Elyse worked with Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest and pioneer mission venture capital firm. As is the case for many in the impact space, Elyse wore many hats at Renewal – and was largely responsible for keeping a diverse and engaged group of investors connected to the fund mission, and amplifying their success in service of growing the impact investment sector. Before Renewal Funds, Elyse led the Donor Relations department of Ecojustice, Canada’s largest, non-profit environmental law firm. Elyse holds a BA in Environmental Geography and Policy from the University of British Columbia, with a minor in Mandarin. Elyse serves on the Board of Vancouver B Corps (B Local) as communications and events Chair, and is the Chair of Western Canada B Corp Leadership Development (BLD) conference.
Kim is leading our Toronto office including developing a series of ImpacTalks with partners in the GTA region. As well, she provides support with her graphic design, community organizing, analytical skills and more.
Kim is a lifelong learner currently with more than 5 years of experience seeking to grow and intensify in skillset and application. Investment management exposure includes portfolio and asset management, transactions (due diligence, acquisition/disposition), and investor relations. Skilled in Argus Enterprise, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Adobe InDesign.
As Senior Social Infrastructure Planner with the City of Vancouver, Vickie was responsible for negotiating or providing major capital contributions to new facilities for MOSAIC, Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, Marpole Family Place, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, AIDS Vancouver, Immigrant Services Society of BC, several non-profit housing projects, and over 300 new purpose-built childcare spaces in seven new facilities, as well as a host of smaller capital projects. Understanding that capital funding for purpose-built spaces supports economic and social development, Vickie continues her work as a volunteer and consultant in Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.
Leadership and management
Janice Iverson loves helping people and teams bring new ideas to life. Her career in both business and social sectors has mostly focused on advancing social and environmental responsibility, collaborative approaches, and innovation.
Governance and Policy Development
As CEO of Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Shelley is an avid supporter of leadership growth, local economic development and the co-operative business model.
As a CPA, Dawn is skilled in strategic planning, financial forecasting and sustainability. In her role as CFO of Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Dawn also has extensive experience with Boards in the financial service industry.
Here is a video introduction to our local, impact investing strategy:
A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change (a social venture).
The GIIN builds critical market infrastructure and supports activities,
education, and research that help accelerate the development of the
impact investing field. Be sure to check out the following resources:
CASE Smart Impact Capital: https://casesmartimpact.com/capital/
Social Innovation is both a destination — the resolution of complex social and environmental challenges — and a journey — devising new approaches that engage all stakeholders, leveraging their competencies and creativity to design novel solutions.
— Tim Broadhead
Disruptive innovators are inspired by love and motivated by necessity. They challenge the prevailing way of doing things and shake the lethargy off the status quo. They wrestle a big idea to the ground. And yet, even when they prove that the idea works, it does not easily become the new standard. It can be ignored or misunderstood and may even be perceived as a threat to the system. It is not easy to move from the margins to the mainstream. That’s why we need bridging innovators.
— Al Etmanski
Bridging innovators spot the big ideas surfaced by disruptive innovators. They leverage their connections, reputations and resources to make sure the potential is realized. They translate and interpret the value of a disruptive innovation to the system. Bridging innovators are the necessary link between disruptive innovators and receptive innovators.
— Al Etmanski
Receptive innovators are key to implementing big ideas and spreading solutions far and wide. They have an insider’s knowledge of the key levers to advance an issue within a system. They know the formal and informal channels inside bureaucracy and who the key players are. They are navigators, steering the innovation so that
it may flourish and become the new standard.
— Al Etmanski