Judging Criteria

The following criteria are applicable to both the first and final rounds of the competition:

Creativity & Financial Innovation (25%)

  • Has the team proposed an innovative investment vehicle that is designed to drive both returns and impact? We are looking for either:
    • An innovative financial structure or
    • A known investment approach applied creatively to a problem previously outside the scope or reach of a social or environmental challenge
  • What’s interesting about this project? Is it just like a dozen others or truly innovative?
  • Does the proposal have a unique capital structure, e.g., including different forms of capital, employing diverse types of institutional investors?
  • Does the proposal uncover new ways to drive returns, a new asset class, or a new cash flow or value stream?

Impact and scale (25%)

  • Does this provide a scalable solution that can mobilize sufficient capital and forge significant environmental or human impact?
  • Are there specific metrics for impact? Is the impact real and persistent?
  • Does the impact derived from the proposed approach stem from the financial levers rather than ancillary charitable remains?
  • Has the team demonstrated diligence in defining and projecting impact to be derived?

Feasibility (25%)

  • Does the investment thesis seem plausible?
  • Are there real sources of risk-adjusted market rate returns here? (even if considering a gestation period with concessionary returns)
  • Could you see institutional investors responding to and funding this?
  • Was the thesis thoroughly researched and is there strong evidence of financial depth that incorporates the overall economy?

Quality of due diligence and financials (20%)

  • How thorough and deep is the research on the thesis?
  • Do the returns and cash flow projections hold water? Has the team demonstrated strong financial logic and validity of key financial assumptions?
  • Have the key investment questions relating to returns, asset quality, underwriting, and risk management (both market-based and non-market) been identified and addressed?
  • Does the team have the skills needed to execute?  Have they defined the skills needed on the investment team?
  • Are the proposed fees and incentives reasonable?

Presentation (5%)

  • Has the team been clear, compelling, and concise with their proposal?
  • For the final event: Have all team members participated in either the original presentation or Q&A?