In this episode, Capital Insight co-hosts and securities attorneys Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch talk with Kevin Bayuk of LIFT Economy, an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a racially just, regenerative, and locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. Kevin shares about his journey from young tech start up founder in Silicon Valley to permaculture designer to social enterprise advisor and expert and what he learned along the way about how finance can be in service of the greater good.
“The cultural and structural mandates around capital…reinforce these patterns of extraction, the expectations that finance should generate a certain amount of return depending on which asset class it is and anything that doesn’t perform according to some culturally or structurally enforced market rate standard is therefore not going to receive funding. …I observe many projects that are intended to take care of humanity in ways that benefit nature and the rest of life, projects around food and water security, there are projects that exist that need resourcing. There is a tremendous amount of wealth, trillions of dollars of wealth globally…but the mismatch comes in the question of what is the potential of return in those projects.”
“I think there are people who have discretion in the world of finance around choosing investments…angel investors who are able to and have a pattern of investing in early-stage companies. Where is it written in some law that that investor must expect liquidity in five-to-seven years? Where is it written in law that that investor has to expect 20% IRR? Culturally, that’s what’s normal to want or target, but that individual should have discretion to make different types of investment. But there’s this norm around early-stage venture private equity that says we should expect something different. There’s a whole set of contrivances that dictate behavior. I think it would be healthy for us all to admit that our notion of risk, in terms of the problems of our time, is different from the way that we thought about it 30-40 years ago.”
Kevin Bayuk’s roots are in entrepreneurship, having spent nearly a decade starting and growing technology companies, and activating projects and organizations that regenerate healthy ecosystems and socially just and joyful environments. After immersing himself in all aspects of starting and growing companies, Kevin focused his attention on learning about and teaching eco-systemic design. Now Kevin is merging his experience in business with his experience in permaculture to help businesses care for people while enhancing the earth. Kevin also serves as the Senior Financial Fellow at Project Drawdown, developing the business case to address climate change through existing practices and technologies. He frequently teaches classes, workshops, does public speaking, facilitates meetings, plans events and provides one on one mentoring as a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute San Francisco. Kevin has helped design and start food security gardens and public learning experiences intent on reminding people that we,too, are nature. Kevin has raised millions of dollars to capitalize business operations, led teams of more than 30 employees, and can speak well to the benefits and pitfalls of raising capital and the many paths of growing a business.
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Intro and outro are voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org