DBL Investors uses venture capital to accelerate innovation in a way that positively affects an organization’s social impact as well as its financial success. In fact, we believe the two–positive social change and a healthy financial performance–are inherently connected. DBL invests in and helps nurture outstanding entrepreneurs and companies in Cleantech, Information Technology, Health Care, and Sustainable Products and Services. 

Our Approach

DBL Investors assists its port­fo­lio com­pa­nies in achiev­ing a “dou­ble bot­tom line”: that is, strong long-​​term finan­cial suc­cess as well as pos­i­tive social, envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic impact in the local com­mu­nity. We have found that dou­ble bot­tom line prac­tices that com­pa­nies choose to adopt can be sig­nif­i­cantly ben­e­fi­cial to the fis­cal bot­tom line both via direct ben­e­fits of cost sav­ings and value cre­ation, and via indi­rect ben­e­fits of cre­at­ing good­will with their mar­ket, cus­tomers and com­mu­nity, and enhanc­ing employee morale and retention.

DBL Investors uti­lizes its staff, part­ners and resources to help its port­fo­lio com­pa­nies develop dou­ble bot­tom line prac­tices that are uniquely appro­pri­ate and effec­tive for their busi­ness. We encour­age com­pa­nies to imple­ment dou­ble bot­tom line pro­grams at a pace and scope that fol­lows each company’s finan­cial objec­tives and stage of growth. Some exam­ples of dou­ble bot­tom line practices:

  • Local hir­ing, par­tic­u­larly qual­i­fied res­i­dents of low and mod­er­ate income communities
  • Employee devel­op­ment, train­ing for advance­ment, and con­tin­u­ing education
  • Employee edu­ca­tion on top­ics includ­ing health­care, child­care, profit shar­ing, home own­er­ship, finan­cial lit­er­acy and   per­sonal finance management
  • Under­stand­ing and apply­ing local and nearby live­able wage ordinances
  • Host­ing edu­ca­tional ses­sions for the com­mu­nity on top­ics includ­ing health­care, child­care, profit shar­ing, home own­er­ship, finan­cial lit­er­acy and per­sonal finance management
  • Con­tract­ing with qual­i­fied local, women, and minor­ity sup­pli­ers and con­trac­tors, in areas such as line-​​of busi­ness and/​or build­ing and prop­erty main­te­nance services
  • Pol­lu­tion and waste reduc­tion: encour­ag­ing car­pool­ing and pub­lic tran­sit, waste min­i­miza­tion, and recycling
  • Energy con­ser­va­tion and resource effi­ciency: “green” build­ing design, con­struc­tion and operation
  • Pos­i­tive rela­tions with the local com­mu­nity, includ­ing facil­i­tat­ing employee vol­un­teer­ing and char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tion, and work­ing with local orga­ni­za­tions and non-​​profits
  • Assist­ing local schools by par­tic­i­pat­ing in career days, tutor­ing, men­tor­ing and intern­ship programs
  • Main­tain­ing pos­i­tive rela­tions with local, regional, state, and fed­eral agen­cies in rela­tion to reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance, per­mit­ting, and access­ing resources and finan­cial incentives
  • Encour­ag­ing employ­ees to patron­ize busi­nesses in the local community
  • Other pro­grams spe­cific to the company’s line of busi­ness and col­lec­tive interest

DBL Investors: Double Bottom Line Venture Capital Investing

DBL Investors is a venture capital firm created from the spin-out of the Bay Area Equity Fund I from JPMorgan in January of 2008.  Our “Double Bottom Line” investment strategy is to invest in companies that can deliver top-tier venture capital returns while working with our companies to enable social, environmental and economic improvement in the regions in which they operate.  We accomplish this two-fold return by adhering to a strict investment discipline honed over 40 years of collective venture capital experience while at the same time implementing a proprietary approach to leveraging public sector, university and not-for-profit resources to the benefit of our fund’s portfolio companies and to regional environmental and economic development goals.

Our first fund, the Bay Area Equity Fund I, has successfully implemented this double bottom line investment model in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our second fund, the DBL Equity Fund – BAEF II is implementing this investing approach with a larger size and an expanded geographic focus of the Western U.S.  At the same time that our portfolio companies deliver tangible benefits to the community, such as job creation in low-income neighborhoods and corporate community engagement, their businesses are global in scope and many are international leaders in their fields.

Our funds make investments in private growth companies with a strong emphasis on investments in Clean Tech as well as investments in Health Care, Information Technology, and Sustainability-Oriented Products and Services.