Root Capital

United States of America

Last updated 12 May 2020, by Impactyield.

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Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses (SGBs).

We accept both senior and subordinated debt investments from institutional and accredited individual investors. We on-lend these investments to rural SGBs that, in addition to providing stable incomes to their small-holder producers, also generate positive social and environmental benefits for their communities.

Providing capital to SGBs, especially those not reached by commercial lenders, we address market failures through an innovative lending model, applying value chain finance tools in new areas of the supply chain. Leveraging global market demand for sustainable products, we provide credit to SGBs that is secured against assignment of payment for their future sales to buyers in North America and Europe.

Over the past 10 years, we have been uniquely positioned to meet the needs of rural SGBs through:

• An effective lending model & systematized risk management system

• Regional office structure & streamlined loan evaluation system, enabling us to respond to clients efficiently

• Local field staff with experience working as managers of rural SGBs and who understand the markets in which we operate

Asset class


Fund style

Not listed

Financial description

Root Capital provides loans ranging from $50,000 to $3,000,000 to cooperatives, associations, and private enterprises comprised of small-scale producers. Annual interest rates, which typically range from 9% to 14%, are designed to be competitive with local bank rates. That is, we aim to extend finance to businesses not currently reached by commercial lenders without distorting the market. In turn, we pay our debt investors rates of 0 - 2.5%.
To our clients we offer:
• Short-term trade credit loans that are oriented around a harvest or production cycle.
• Long-term fixed-asset loans of up to five years for investment in processing equipment, infrastructure, and general operations.
The majority of our loans employ a form of value chain finance, whereby the main security is future sales contracts from Western buyers. The purchase agreement decreases or replaces the need for traditional collateral as it represents a discrete, future revenue stream pledged to repay our loan.
Over the past 10 years, we have maintained a 98% repayment rate from our borrowers and a 100% repayment rate to our investors.

24 years

of track record


the year funded



Asset manager

SDG goals

SDG targets

Equal rights to ownership basic services technology and economic resources

Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and sustainability reporting

Universal access to safe and nutritious food

Sustainable food production and resilient agricultural practices

Promote policies to support job creation and growing enterprises

Increase access to financial services and markets

Key performance indicators

Fund overview

Asset manager: Root Capital

Product track record: Fund has 24 years of track record

Target IRR: n.a.

Committed Capital: n.a.

Target return category: Below risk-adjusted market-rate of return

Fund domicile:

Product status:


Inception year: 1999

Vintage year: n.a.

Target region: , ,

Target close date: n.a.

Product term: 1 - 5 years

Assets under management: n.a.

Investment size: Min: 25,000; Max: 0; Avg: 450,000

Co-investment policy:

Currency of investments:

Currency for fund / product figures:

Fund investments to date: 1

Fund investments to date exited or repaid: 1

Management fee: n.a.

Carried interest: n.a.

Hurdle rate: n.a.

GIIN Investors' Council Investment: Yes

Limited Partners / Investors: Root Capital's top investors include: Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) (, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (, the Ford Foundation (, the International Finance Corporation (, the Inter-American Development Bank (, and Starbucks Coffee Company (

Limited Partner / Investor Type: Development Finance Institution (DFI), Endowments/Foundations, Family Office, Pension Funds, Other Institutional Investors


E-mail: n.a.


Phone number: (617) 661-5792

If you wish to have your details removed from this database please email

Catherine Gill

Vice President of Investor Relations

Darcy Salinger

Chief Credit Officer

Rachel Serotta

Director of Investor Relations

Impact Performance


Impact thesis

Root Capital provides capital and financial training to small and growing businesses (SGBs) operating in poor, environmentally vulnerable places. Our theory of change is to enable SGBs to expand their operations, generating higher and more stable household incomes for small-scale producers and supporting sustainable rural communities. Over time, we aim to demonstrate the financial viability of rural SGBs and catalyze dynamic capital markets to serve them at scale.
As part of our investment process for each loan, we conduct detailed environmental and social due diligence, as outlined by our environmental and social scorecards. Any SGBs that do not meet threshold criteria in these areas would not be considered for financing.
Since 1999, we have made more than 1300 loans, disbursing more than $500M to more than 425 small and growing businesses (SGBs), generating nearly $470M in payments to producers managing 1.2M hectares under sustainable cultivation. These SGBs provide market access, employment opportunities, and enhanced incomes and quality of life to nearly 600,000 smallholder producers directly. In turn, we have reached over 3 million household members. In addition, we have reached 93,000 female farmers and artisans (as of June 30, 2013).
Over the past 5 years, our disbursements in dollar terms grew at a compound annual rate of 32%, disbursing a total of $111M in 2011.

Impact Management


Financial benchmark

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