That helped raise a larger tier of loans called subordinated Western Sahara Email List or junior debt from foundations and socially minded impact investors. And that, in turn, helped attract senior debt from big commercial lenders. The thing is, each stage helped reduce the financial risk of the next stage. So the commercial lenders were sitting on top of a fat layer of capital to protect them, in case the company defaulted or went bankrupt. With that protection, they could Western Sahara Email List eel comfortable committing much bigger sums of capital. Kola Masha 35:39 For every $1 they raised from social investors, they were able to then go out and raise an additional $3 from commercial investors. Jonathan Levine 35:49 Kola copied the scheme, and by 2018 raised an Western Sahara Email List additional $25 million—an extraordinary amount for smallholder farming in Africa.
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The commercial money was from investors like FMO, a big Dutch Western Sahara Email List Development Bank, and Nigeria’s own sovereign wealth fund—the kinds of institutions that never before invested in small-scale agriculture. Kola is now in the process of raising another round of capital, this time $90 million, from big players like Citibank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. That’s a UN agency that typically invests only in sovereign nations—never Western Sahara Email List before in a private company like Babban Gona, much less one in smallholder farming. Edward Diener 36:34 These are folks who don’t have high risk tolerance profiles, but they have very large sums of money to place. So it’s exciting that Babban Gona is getting to the place where Western Sahara Email List actors such as those names would really look at placing money in the senior debt.
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Jonathan Levine 36:54 Ed Diener of King Philanthropies played a Western Sahara Email List key role in making it happen. But it wasn’t easy. The hardest part of the scheme was persuading foundations to put up that middle layer of loans, that was crucial to securing the big commercial lenders. Not because they didn’t believe in Babban Gona’s mission. Edward Diener 37:13 You have to understand that extremely few foundations are wired to do anything other than make grants. For foundations to consider something as sophisticated as a subordinated loan, it’s a big headache! But they get Western Sahara Email List there when they confront opportunities such as Babban Gona that are hard for them to resist, but which require them to think differently. Jonathan Levine 37:37 Ed took up the Western Sahara Email List gauntlet when he was general counsel at the Skoll Foundation back in 2018, and provided some of the junior debt for that funding round.