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About Us

Renewal Funds is a mission venture capital firm investing in early growth stage companies in Canada and the United States. We add value for entrepreneurs through capital, networks, and expertise. We deliver above market returns for our partners while catalyzing positive social and environmental change.

Carol Newell

Co-Founder

 

Carol Newell

Carol Newell is the Founding Investor and Principal of Renewal Partners. Through this organization, she has established a life’s work as a social entrepreneur and philanthropist, placing over $60 million in organizations and businesses working toward sustainability in BC.

Carol is also the co-creator of Play BIG, an initiative to encourage others with wealth to activate their resources for social change.

In 2007, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2008 she was honoured by her Alma Mater, St Lawrence University with a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Paul Richardson

Managing + Founding Partner

 

Paul Richardson

Prior to launching Renewal Funds, Paul co-managed the Renewal Partners’ venture portfolio from 2003-2009. In that time, Renewal was active in over 20 significant transactions with companies in its portfolio.  From 2004 to 2006, Paul also led an international consortium of philanthropic foundations and private investors in successful negotiations with the Federal and Provincial governments and the Coastal First Nations to structure a financing deal that supported the conservation of the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact, coastal temperate rain-forest left in the world.

Paul brings both legal and business experience to Renewal Funds. He practiced law at Fasken Martineau in Toronto for four years before leaving to become a senior partner at Strathy & Richardson, a leading Canadian litigation firm in Toronto, where he continued his legal practice for eight years. Paul is a graduate of Queen’s University (Biology) and the University of Toronto (Law). Paul is a Board Director for Mama Earth Organics, Prana, and past Board Chair for Alter Eco. He is also an Observer on the Miovision and Rustic Crust boards. Paul has considerable not-for-profit board experience, having served as Vice Chair of the Coast Opportunities Funds and is the past President of Ecojustice Canada. In 2013 Paul was named as one of Canada’s Clean50.

To connect with Paul, please send your message to elyse@renewalfunds.com.

Joel Solomon

Founding Partner

 

Joel Solomon

Prior to the founding of Renewal Funds, Joel spent 14 years with founder + funder Carol Newell implementing a “whole portfolio activation to mission” strategy, as leader of her activist Family Office. As Executive Director of the Endswell Foundation, he guided the spend down of a $20m endowment, leaving Tides Canada Foundation and Hollyhock as legacy charities, while supporting the success of the renowned BC environmental community. As President and CEO of Renewal Partners’ seed capital fund, he placed over $10m into dozens of values driven companies in BC and beyond.

Joel is a Senior Advisor with RSF Social Finance and is now co-leading their ‘Integrated Capital Fellowship Program,’ a 2012 TEDxVancouver Speaker, a Founding Member of Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility, and Tides Canada Foundation. He serves on the University of British Columbia Board of Governors, and as Chair of Hollyhock.

Joel is Co-Author of The Clean Money Revolution, a call to action to move trillions of dollars from damaging to regenerative use.

To connect with Joel, please send your message to katie@renewalfunds.com.

Nicole Bradbury

Operations Partner

 

Nicole Bradbury

Nicole joined Renewal Funds in 2008 as a member of the investment team from Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management Ltd. (PH&N), where she managed private client portfolios. Nicole brings over 15 years experience as a portfolio manager for institutional and private clients with Merrill Lynch in London and Geneva, AllianceBernstein in New York, and PH&N in Vancouver. Nicole is a CFA charterholder, holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, and a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University. Nicole has volunteered as a Board Director of the Canadian Memorial United Church, the Pacific Parklands Foundation, and Family Services of Greater Vancouver. Nicole is a Board Observer for Elevation Brands (Ian’s Natural Foods).

Mike Cormack

Venture Partner

 

Mike Cormack

Mike is a key member of the investment team and brings with him significant U.S. deal experience. Prior to joining Renewal Funds in 2008, Mike oversaw planning and acquisitions for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). He was the President of Archipelago Holdings, an electronic trading company, which in 2006 executed a historic merger enabling the NYSE to become a public company. At Archipelago, Mike was responsible for sales and operations, successfully executed several mergers, and took the firm into the public markets in 2004. He graduated from the Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Mike has volunteered as a Board Member for Recovery Point Systems and Ecojustice Canada and currently sits on the Board of Renewal Funds investee Cascadia Windows  and is a Board Observer for Opti.

Elyse Crowston

Communications + Technology

Elyse Crowston

Elyse came to Renewal Funds after working with our environmental allies, Ecojustice. In addition to her years of fundraising and marketing experience, Elyse also has a strong background in client relations and event management, with an emphasis on sustainability. Elyse is the architect of all things digital, produces communications content and opportunities, and is the point of contact for the Renewal Funds senior management team. Elyse is a Founding Board Member of Vancouver B Local, the Western Canada chapter of B Corps and is the Chair of Events and Co-Chair of Communications committees. Elyse holds a Interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Environmental Science and Policy, with a minor in Mandarin. Elyse is a Certified Salesforce Admin.

elyse@renewalfunds.com

Emily Danaher

Senior Operations Associate + Sustainability Coordinator

 

Emily Danaher

Emily joined the Renewal team in June of 2015, bringing with her a strong belief that environmental sustainability and financial success are complimentary objectives. She has a background in general and administrative roles, along with extensive volunteer and work experience in values-based organizations, including the United Way. Emily supports the operational side of Renewal Funds, with focus in investor relations and communication, sustainability and B Corp involvement, and internal administrative finances. Emily holds an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University, with a focus in accounting, and continues to study sustainable development and investment through elective coursework. Emily is a Board Director for the non-profit Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC).

emily@renewalfunds.com

Bernadette Feist

Operations + Administration Manager

 

Bernadette Feist

Bernadette joined the Renewal team in November, 2014. Her extensive legal and business experience includes over 15 years as a paralegal, 10 years of senior management experience in a renewable energy corporation in British Columbia, five years as joint owner and operator of a health, wellness and yoga studio, and more recently on-the-ground experience in the organic food production industry in Cawston, B.C., in the Similkameen Valley, the “organic capital of Canada”.  Bernadette is originally from Saskatchewan and grew up on an organic farm.

bernadette@renewalfunds.com

Geordan Hankinson

Principal

 

Geordan Hankinson

Geordan assists Renewal Funds with company research, due diligence and financial analysis. Prior to joining Renewal, Geordan worked at Ecotrust Canada where he helped to develop its sustainable business initiatives and provided financial advisory services to a variety of First Nations clients. Geordan has worked on a range of social and economic impact measurement projects, leading evaluations of investments in social housing and support programs for at-risk populations. Geordan has a BA in Sociology and an MBA from Simon Fraser University, where he was co-president of the school’s Net Impact chapter. Geordan currently represents Renewal Funds on the Board of Lotek and is an Observer for FoodLogiQ.

geordan@renewalfunds.com

Genevieve Pinto

Partner

 

Genevieve Pinto

Genevieve brings her experience as a corporate and securities lawyer to the Renewal Funds investment team. Prior to joining Renewal Funds, Genevieve was a Partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, where her expertise included start-up formation, venture capital financing, M&A transactions, public capital markets financing, executive compensation and corporate governance. Genevieve holds a BA and LL.B from the University of British Columbia and was called to the British Columbia bar in 2006. Genevieve currently serves on the Board of Directors of the YWCA Metro Vancouver as the Chair of its Governance and Nominating Committee and is also a founding member of the Raise Collective, an organization dedicated to the development and support of women investors and entrepreneurs. Genevieve represents Renewal on the Board of Sensible Organics.

genevieve@renewalfunds.com

Jerrod Shin

Associate

 

Jerrod Shin

Jerrod joined the investment team at Renewal Funds in 2017. Jerrod helps with due diligence, financial analysis, and deal sourcing. Jerrod holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia (Honors, Co-op) during which he worked for PwC and Deloitte M&A, assisting with valuations and sell-side advisory. In addition, Jerrod was involved with the Arc Initiative program during his undergraduate studies, spending time working with entrepreneurs in rural South Africa and Rwanda through organizing workshops and consulting engagements.

jerrod@renewalfunds.com

Catherine (Kate) Storey

Partner

 

Catherine (Kate) Storey

Kate joined the Renewal Funds investment team from CIBC World Markets, where she worked in both the equity and debt capital markets and originated public market financings for corporate and government clients. Kate is responsible for assisting with Renewal Funds’ investment screening and analysis, deal sourcing, due diligence, and deal execution. Kate sits on the Board of the Georgia Strait Alliance and on an advisory board for the Aboriginal Mother Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. She holds an MBA (Finance) from Dalhousie University, a B.Sc. (Honours, Biology) from Mount Allison University and a Certificate in Carbon Finance from the University of Toronto. Kate currently sits on the Boards of  Farmhouse Culture and Goddess Garden, is a Board Observer for Elevation Brands (Ian’s Natural Foods).

kate@renewalfunds.com

Michael Detlefsen

Entrepreneur in Residence

 

Michael Detlefsen

Michael became an Entrepreneur in Residence with Renewal Funds in 2017.  He serves as Chair of the Boards of Renewal investee companies Elevation Brands and Sensible Organics.  Michael is a Managing Director of Pomegranate Capital Advisors (www.pomcap.com), an active investor advisory firm and also serves on the boards of two public companies and the Royal Ontario Museum Governors.  Michael has held senior leadership positions with Ceres Global Ag Corp (2008–2014); Maple Leaf Foods (1999–2007); Bell Canada and Bell Canada International (1996–1999) and Air Canada (1989–1993), with a focus on strategy development and execution, mergers and acquisitions, and operational turnarounds.  In addition, he has provided strategic and operating consulting and implementation services on behalf of Muir Detlefsen and Associates (2007-2017), Monitor Company (1993-1996) and Price Waterhouse (1988-1989).  He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.

 

Angela Galbraith

Executive Assistant

 

Angela Galbraith

Angela joined the Renewal team in 2018, bringing with her over 15 years of customer/client service experience. Angela is the go-to support person for the Renewal investment and operations team. She is also an advocate for children’s issues and has volunteered with the Kidney Foundation and The United Way. When she’s not working her magic organizing very busy calendars or with her three kids, she can be found competing in obstacle based races like the Tough Mudder.

angela@renewalfunds.com

Our work is dedicated to a better, more resilient future.

Read our Impact Report for our overall, strategic impact.

Renewal Funds is proud to be a Founding Canadian B Corp, having achieved certification in 2010. We are a four time “Best for the World (Overall)” honoree, for scoring in the top 10% of all B Corps. Renewal2 and Renewal3 were named “Best for the World Funds” in 2016, the first year the award was given. Renewal2 and Renewal3 are GIIRS Rated (Global Impact Investing Rating System), and Renewal2 was a Pioneer fund having certified in 2014.

Since 2014, we have donated 1% of our annual management fees through 1% For the Planet to a variety of environmental organizations and causes.

 

Renewal Funds is a mission venture capital firm investing in early-growth stage companies in Canada and the U.S. that deliver meaningful environmental or social impact. We aim to deliver above market returns for our partners at a lower risk profile than traditional venture capital funds.

The Funds’ core sectors are organics and environmental tech where our experience meets rapidly emerging trends. We look for strategic investments that will help advance the sustainability of food, water, and climate — contributing to a safer and cleaner planet for future generations. Our team adds value for entrepreneurs through capital, networks, and expertise.

Strategy

Renewal Funds focuses on early-growth stage companies with at least $1 million dollars in annual revenue. Exceptional investment opportunities at the seed stage or later stage may also be considered. We look to support successful, values-aligned entrepreneurs and management teams with equity and debt investments at reasonable valuations. The Fund has a target return of at least 2.5x over a patient capital term of at least 10 years.

Mission Screening

Mission is our first screen on all potential investments. We will only consider businesses that we believe are designed to have an important environmental or social impact.  Assessing impact requires considerable knowledge about environmental and social issues and solid judgment backed by experience.

As early participants of certifying organizations, such as B Corp, Global Impact Investor Network (GIIN), Impact Assets 50, 1% for the Planet, and members and attendees of networks like TONIIC, SOCAP, Croatan Institute, Social Finance Forum, Northern Impact, and others, we are well known pioneers in the field of mission-led investing and apply our extensive experience and learnings from these leading partner organizations to our mission screening.

Process

For over 25 years, Renewal Funds team members have been cultivating relationships with investors and entrepreneurs in our sectors, creating a significant network that provides us with a very robust opportunity flow.

Companies are assessed on the following four key attributes:

  1. Environmental or social mission
  2. Potential for financial return
  3. Quality of management team (including skills, experience and values)
  4. Risk (factors include revenue base, market adoption risk, competition and reputation

 

 

History

The Renewal Funds team has significant and diverse experience in early mission-led investing. Our active Founding Partners, Paul Richardson and Joel Solomon have been investing together for nearly 15 years and our investment team brings a significant breadth and depth of expertise in finance, legal, sustainability and social impact.

Renewal Partners (the predecessor to Renewal Funds), a family office co-founded in 1994 by Carol Newell and Joel Solomon invested in over 40 mission-based businesses, including successful exits from pioneers in the space like Stonyfield Farm (organic yogurt) and Seventh Generation (plant based household and personal care products).

In 2008, we launched the raise for Renewal2, culminating in $35 million in committed capital at the close in 2010. Renewal2 has had eleven investments and five exits, including one debt repayment. The Renewal Funds team is actively pursuing successful new partnerships for the remaining Renewal2 portfolio companies.

Renewal3 closed in 2014 with $63 million in committed capital and is fully allocated, with the remaining capital retained for follow-on investment. Two early exits have already been secured and the Renewal Funds team is working closely with our remaining portfolio companies to help further their growth and expansion.

Accredited investors looking to join Renewal Funds contact Elyse@renewalfunds.com