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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 Coordinator

 

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 holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Environmental Geography, with a minor in Mandarin. Elyse is also 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 welcomes requests for commentary, interviews, and invitations to speak.

 

 

 

We are pioneer early adopters of values-based business success. We were early participants and are active in B Corp, GIIRS, 1% for the Planet, and other sustainability initiatives.

Our Founders and team have broad expertise in mission venture capital investing, due diligence, board service, fund creation, and general business. Please reach out to Elyse Crowston at elyse@renewalfunds.com to be connected with the ideal team member.

Model

We build ten year limited partnership portfolios as a general partner management company. We operate Canadian and US entities with investors from both countries, international partners come to us through our US LP. A trust instrument in Canada makes it easier for Canadian charitable foundations to participate.

Paul Richardson and Joel Solomon make final decisions collaboratively with a stellar team of mission motivated professionals in an ongoing search for outstanding entrepreneur partners.

Strategy

Renewal Funds portfolio companies have strong values, exceptional ideas, products and services aligned with our core values.

Companies generally have a minimum $1 million in annual revenues and a compelling pathway to strong growth. We target $1 million initial investment.

Our sectors are traditionally under-served and are now building momentum. We agree on a shared exit strategy. We reserve capital for follow on investment to support the growth of our companies.

We usually serve on Boards and otherwise hold Observer rights. We bring our expertise and networks to add ongoing value.

History

Renewal Funds grew out of a partnership between Carol Newell and Joel Solomon. They met through a network of people using wealth for the common good and saw business as a unique opportunity to create change.

In 1994, Carol and Joel assembled a team, joined by Paul Richardson in 2003, to operate the investment and philanthropic sister entities Renewal Partners and the Endswell Foundation. The model was a whole portfolio activation to mission by one woman’s family office. With a 50-year strategic outlook inspired by a 500-year vision, their central focus was on their home region of Vancouver and British Columbia, Canada. While investing strategically through their larger networks across Canada and the USA, their aim was to model an integrated use of capital for long term change.

Renewal Partners has a 20+ year track record of aligning mission and purpose with successful debt and equity investments with entrepreneurs in an early triple bottom line model. Many successful exits were completed, from pioneers like Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation.

In 2008, Renewal2 was launched to welcome outside investors into the mission venture capital concept. With Paul Richardson in the lead, Renewal2 closed with $35 million in committed capital. The fund has had eleven investments, five exits, and one debt repayment. The Renewal Funds team is actively pursuing successful exits from the remaining Renewal2 portfolio.

Renewal3 closed in 2014 with $63 million in committed capital. The selection of the portfolio companies for this Fund is now complete, 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.