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Emerald Peak Appoints Lauren Burnhill as Managing Partner and Launches US$150m LatAm Fund

6 December 2020

Emerald Peak Private Equity appointed Lauren Burnhill as a Managing Partner and launched its US$150m flagship 
America Impact Fund I, targeting opportunities in sectors that can best impact specific United Nations SDGs: agribusiness, clean energy/cleantech, healthcare/healthtech, and fintech. The geographic focus will be Central America and other disadvantaged and vulnerable regions in Mexico, the Andean countries, and the Caribbean.

(Press Release) Emerald Peak Private Equity today announces that Lauren Burnhill has joined the firm as managing partner. Lauren is a recognized global leader in “Access to Finance” – bankable and sustainable financing programs for businesses (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises “MSME”). As Chief Investment Officer of Accion International, she transformed the organization’s portfolio, launching and anchoring new funds to support microfinance infrastructure, the expansion of microfinance to new geographies (India, Lok Capital, now on its third social investment fund) and to new products such as microinsurance (Paralife Group SA). Lauren left Accion to focus on financing “Access to Life” – the health, food security, housing, education, clean water, clean energy and basic infrastructure (economic and social) that people need to truly move out of poverty and into better & more sustainable quality of life.

“I was attracted to Emerald Peak because of the quality of its team (most of whom I have worked with for many years) and the exceptional drive to create something unique that adds both value and positive impact to the world we live in. I saw an opportunity to take a new approach to investing growth capital to help under-served SMEs & SGBs create financial value and also contribute to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The deep and complementary combination of skills on our team is shaping a new niche in the alternative investment ecosystem — impact private equity ”, says Lauren.

Lauren Burnhill and Pol Thielen will jointly manage the day-to-day operations of the firm, making it one of the few private equity firms with a gender-balanced management team. During current pandemic conditions, the Managing Partners are working primarily out of Washington DC and Managua, while the firm’s investment and support teams operate from 5 cities on 2 continents, with a field hub in Costa Rica. As the pandemic eases, the firm will move to a hybrid model, with a central office space in the region and virtual investment teams in key geographic locations.

“I am looking forward to working with Lauren on this important project for Latin America. Her experience and expertise in this field make Emerald Peak a market leader in the region for impact private equity investments, as we work to further strengthen this niche asset class for other institutional investors to join. The fact that she has already worked with our current partners on previous projects makes our team even stronger. ” says Pol Thielen, managing partner at Emerald Peak.

Emerald Peak Private Equity has identified seven of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that represent core values applicable across pipeline and portfolio: No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work & Economic Growth, Innovation, Reduced Inequalities, Responsible Production & Consumption, and Climate Action. An eighth – Partnerships to Achieve the Goals – is also fundamental to the firm’s strategic approach. The firm is launching its 150m USD flagship Latin America Impact Fund I targeting opportunities in those sectors within which it can best impact specific SDGs: agribusiness (no poverty, decent work & economic growth, innovation), clean energy/cleantech (innovation infrastructure & industry), healthcare & healthtech (gender balance, innovation, good health, no poverty), fintech (gender balance, financial inclusion, innovation, no poverty, economic development). The geographic focus of the fund is Central America and other disadvantaged and vulnerable regions in Mexico, the Andean countries and the Caribbean.