Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Welcome back! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Justin Schwartz, managing partner at IMPAQTO Capital.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Justin! Tell me, what challenge is IMPAQTO Capital addressing?
Justin: It’s great to be here, Spiffy! IMPAQTO Capital's mission is to support entrepreneurs in the Andean region of Latin America who are solving social or environmental problems with their startups. We provide these entrepreneurs with capital, support, and connections that allow their businesses to scale and allow them to generate a deeper positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: That’s great! What motivated you to do it?
Justin: I am passionate about the power of entrepreneurship to solve the world's most pressing social and environmental problems, and in Latin America, there is a large opportunity for this kind of innovation. I love working with entrepreneurs and helping them in any way I can, particularly being able to invest in their startups and see their passion come through.
Spiffy: How is your organization working towards a more equitable world?
Justin: The startups we invest in are using innovation to create a better world. One of our portfolio companies, Fibrazo, provides home internet service to families in poor urban communities in Colombia and Argentina, which otherwise have to pay much more to access the internet. Bridging this connectivity gap has a significant positive impact as it allows children to do their homework assignments, adults to work remotely, and families to be better connected across distances.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience or community?
Justin: In addition to our impact investing fund, our organization works to build the social entrepreneurship and impact investing ecosystem throughout Latin America. One of the ways that we make these connections is through an impact investing conference called CLIIQ. In September we held the sixth edition of the conference, where we brought together over 200 entrepreneurs, investors, and other people supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem. These spaces where people can meet others who share the same purpose and mission, as well as explore opportunities to collaborate, are enriching and spark new ideas, initiatives, and investments.
Spiffy: Amazing! Tell me about an inspiring startup that you have helped to advance its impact.
Justin: We recently invested in Sinba, a circular economy startup that is working to promote a world without trash. The company collects and processes organic waste from hotels and restaurants, as well as recyclable materials from low-income informal waste pickers. By educating and encouraging companies and individuals to sort their waste and take advantage of the parts that can be reused, they help to minimize the amount of trash that goes to the dump. This effort is important not only for the environmental health of a city but also reduces carbon dioxide emissions and contributes to climate change mitigation. We are happy to be able to support Sinba in its mission and in growing its business and impact.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Justin—it’s been an honor!
Justin Schwartz is the managing partner of IMPAQTO Capital, an impact investing fund that invests in early-stage startups in the Andean region. He has nine years of experience working in investment and entrepreneurship on three continents. Justin is also the president of ECUACAP, the Ecuadorian Association of Venture Capital and Private Equity. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino of Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on February 9, 2024.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.