New Delhi, India, September 19, 2014: PRISM, an impact assessment and reporting tool, has till date on boarded impact investors with over US$ 250M in assets under management and 80+ social enterprises in India. Impact investing involves the pursuit of financial returns from investments along with significant social impact. Aavishkaar, Omnivore Partners, Unitus Seed Fund, IntelleGrow, which are among the largest early stage investors in various social sectors in the country that have partnered in PRISM’s development.
PRISM was unveiled in April this year as a Beta platform at Sankalp Forum, one of the world’s largest social enterprise focused forums. Since then, PRISM has been showcased at the annual ANDE (Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs) Metrics Conference in Washington DC, and SOCAP in San Francisco. It has aligned with international standards on social, environmental and financial reporting such as the IRIS framework used by impact investors globally.
PRISM measures in quantified as well as qualitative terms, the performance of impact investments. With a rigorous framework that covers both fund manager inputs and enterprise outputs to impact investments, PRISM offers the unique contextual view of impact performance taking into account the specifics of investments, that include geographical spread of investments (district level), type of entrepreneur supported and stage of enterprise . This context enables greater transparency in understanding and evaluating the impact potential and impact results. PRISM offers flexible weights across assessment categories- which further enable peer benchmarking and assessment. PRISM’s reporting feature, that automatically generates a customized report for a fund, captures the abstraction as well as disambiguation of investments, leading to the goal of improved clarity, accountability and transparency in the impact investing industry.
PRISM was conceptualised by Intellecap in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, and the GIZ-SIDBI Responsible Enterprise Finance Programme on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). PRISM has been developed with the goal of bringing greater transparency and accountability in reporting on impact, which in turn might help channel greater capital flows to impact sectors.
According to Anil Sinha, Regional Head, South Asia Inclusive Business Models, “The Impact Investing industry needs to have a transparent and credible measurement system reporting on impact, sustainability and governance in order to thrive”. Achieving this goal requires the industry to work in collaboration to develop common standards for reporting and measurement. Stefanie Bauer, Deputy Programme Director – Private Sector Development at GIZ, says “PRISM is an effort towards driving greater standardisation in impact measurement globally while ensuring that it also remains locally relevant”.
PRISM helps impact investors, grant makers and corporate CSR articulate the impact story of their investments and programs in a holistic manner while providing the appropriate local context in which this impact can be evaluated. Nisha Dutt, Executive Director – Consulting and Research at Intellecap says, “As impact investing achieves greater prominence, PRISM enables investors and other stakeholders to view the impact of their investments in the appropriate local context. For e.g. an affordable education venture in rural Odisha may reach fewer children but achieves this in a far more challenging local context vis-à-vis a comparable venture in a large city like Mumbai which has a more developed infrastructure.”