Malte, Jalal & Leopold: Impact X Partners


A new generation of ethical investors are kickstarting ventures with social and environmental benefits and transforming citizens’ lives. Malte Susen (centre), Jalal Koubaiti (left) and Leopold Oettingen-Wallerstein (right) co-founded Impact X Partners, an investment platform that focuses on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Malte, Jalal & Leopold: Impact X Partners

What do you do?

Impact X Partners drives capital to businesses and projects that address some of the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. We are developing a discovery platform to source, structure and place fixed-income products for companies supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We allow qualified and institutional investors to invest confidently in fixed-income products covering measurable Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impact as well as offering attractive risk-adjusted returns.

How did you get where you are today?

Most established financial players had a rather passive approach to sustainability and focused on avoiding negative PR rather than taking a proactive approach. Start-ups and impact initiatives are mostly focusing on equities, while ignoring fixed income, which is a huge pool of funding that the general public doesn’t necessarily know about. Impact X bridges both gaps.

What’s your business model?

We help businesses become sustainable. This requires significant changes to their operations, and a need for capital to do that. We outline a business plan with key milestones for their sustainability goals. Then we partner with an investor that buys into this vision and wants to finance it.

What do you look for in an investment pitch?

The situations we cover can be as diverse as the profound challenges our planet is facing. We look at the usual financial fundamentals to ensure companies are able to repay the money investors lend them while benefiting from it. But most importantly, we look for people that share the same vision as us.

How would you describe your attitude to risk?

We believe the best-performing companies in the medium to long term are also those aiming at the highest ESG standards. But finding investment opportunities with that balance requires a lot of work and expertise. We use a proprietary taxonomy combined with rigorous, in-depth financial analysis. We are risk managers with a deep understanding of SDG impact frameworks.

What lessons have you learnt?

Being an early player in a new field is exciting, but comes at a price: you have limited resources and the market is not always ready to embrace change. Stay focused when you face a setback, be patient as it takes time to unsettle old habits, in business as in other fields in life. Use your dynamic resilience to carry on your mission as intended while adapting to an ever-changing context.

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