Research & Learning

Search for catalytic capital data, analysis, case studies and market development tools that can help investors identify opportunities for impact around the world.

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Drawn from C3 Learning Labs on “scaling,” this guidance note considers how catalytic capital helps funds, managers, and strategies grow beyond their initial success to eventually become commercially investable.

Alfanar is a venture philanthropy organization working in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan to advance the work of high-impact organizations. In a 2023 case study, EVPA looks at Alfanar’s support for FabricAid, a social enteprise focused on the apparel industry, which has been able to scale its operations thanks to catalytic capital and management support.

This joint effort from the Initiative for Blended Finance at the University of Zurich, the Bertha Centre at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, and Roots of Impact analyzes catalytic capital and blended finance from the perspective of the entrepreneur. C3 funded the research as part of our Strengthening the Evidence Base workstream.

This is the first in a series of guidance notes emerging from C3 Learning Labs with seasoned catalytic capital investors. It identifies some of the challenges investors may face when deploying catalytic capital in a “seeding” role and details best practices for the field. The Learning Labs and guidance note is part of C3’s Advancing Practice workstream.

Still wondering about the how, when, and why of catalytic capital? You’re not alone. C3 addresses some of the key questions about the sector and why it is so critical to achieving social and environmental impact.

Convergence, the blended finance network, analyzed the Government of Uruguay’s 200MW tender program, launched in 2013, to attract private sector participation in the development of solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants and increase the share of renewable energy in Uruguay’s energy matrix. IDB Invest and the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas (C2F) addressed the primary market barriers to institutional investor investment in Uruguay’s nascent solar market. Their joint participation reduced counterparty risk and improved project bankability.

In a new research brief, Convergence considers how DFIs have made catalytic capital investments to create new commercial markets, leverage additional investors, and achieve other goals, with a particular focus on blended finance transactions. The brief analyzes deployment of capital, provides an overview of DFI co-investors, and reflects on opportunities to invest more catalytic capital going forward.

Omidyar Network, a C3 strategic partner, reports on the strategies and perspectives of leading impact investors who have moved beyond polarized debates about “trade-offs” to invest across the returns continuum, including deploying catalytic capital.

Banner Photo: Sustainable forestry, Rwanda/courtesy of Total Impact Capital.

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