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David Chen ’84, founder and CEO of the Equilibrium Capital Group, delivered the keynote address at the San Francisco IMPACT event on May 11. The event drew 120 guests, including alumni and newly admitted students who will attend Kellogg in the fall.

David Chen ’84, founder and CEO of the Equilibrium Capital Group, delivered the keynote address at the San Francisco IMPACT event on May 11. The event drew 120 guests, including alumni and newly admitted students who will attend Kellogg in the fall.

Kellogg IMPACT Series — San Francisco

Equilibrium Capital CEO David Chen ’84 makes the case for impact investing

By Kristina Cowan

5/24/2011 - An investment strategy that improves society can also deliver financial gain.

That was the message May 11 from David Chen ’84, founder and chief executive officer of the Equilibrium Capital Group and a Kellogg School lecturer of social enterprise.

Chen discussed the impact-investing field during his keynote address at San Francisco IMPACT event at the City Club of San Francisco. As an example of this investment strategy, Chen pointed to a recent proposal by Kellogg students Sachpreet Chandhoke and Puneet Gupta, both ’11, to create an agriculture real estate investment trust (REIT) in India. The students, who won first place at the 2011 International Impact Investing Challenge, proposed the Grain Fund Depot, which would build grain-storage facilities and rent the space to small farmers in India.

“Agriculture is a dominant sector of the Indian economy (16 percent of GDP), so we started digging, looking for inefficiencies and sources of value creation,” Chandhoke said. “The more we learned, the more we realized that storage at the farm-level in India needed to be addressed not only to provide a short-term solution, but to create a platform to streamline the value chain, increase farmer incomes, lower consumer prices and help feed the poor.”

The San Francisco IMPACT event was the fifth in this year’s series and drew 120 guests, primarily Kellogg alumni, as well as some newly admitted students who will attend Kellogg in the fall. A cocktail reception preceded the event, and Kellogg Dean Sally Blount delivered opening remarks.

The Kellogg IMPACT Series is an ongoing forum on the future of business, innovation, leadership and society and is hosted in cities worldwide. The last event in this year’s series will take place in Hong Kong on June 3.