Green Seeds

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An Deep Exploration of Sustainable Investing in an Urban Environment

GreenSeeds 3D Investment Process


GreenSeeds invests in creating a sustainable future by providing triple bottom-line (3D) businesses with the resources they need to be successful. It is a unique form of impact investing.

GreenSeeds forms close symbiotic relationships with it's participating businesses to grow their positive 3D impacts in a local our case the Detroit bioregion.

We believe that businesses that are designed at their core to yield improvements in the environment, community and economics just by doing their core activities, will be more sustainable....yielding a higher return to risk ratio. This is done by designing the core business activities (the seed) to work with the natural forces that are present in the ecosystem. Symbiotic relationships are designed so the businesses core activities and the other living parts of ecosystem are naturally incented to work together so the 3D yields of the entire ecosystem improve.

The outcome of our work is the success of sustainably-based businesses in the Detroit bioregion. Resulting in:

  • creation of deep, world-class sustainability skills that enable green jobs and more importantly sustainable careers
  • strengthening of our community relationships...we see and experience how we are dependent on one another.
  • reduced ecological footprint and deeper relationship with the earth

Investors in the funds of GreenSeeds get a fair return on their investment, a deep satisfaction that they have improved their community and the planet and relationships for a life time.

We believe this is the sustainable way for investors to make a real difference, while making a return.


  • Active Management: includes helping the business:
    • Grow their 3D yields:
      • Environmental Integrity: Reducing the ecological footprint of the business by working with and like the natural systems.
      • Regenerative Economics: Developing a business seed that grows it's capacity to be self refueling
      • Community Wellbeing: Builds community wealth and wellbeing with the core business activities.
    • Reduce 3D Risks: How to convert risks to opportunities to grow and strengthen the business.
    • Provide 3D Shared Services:
      • 3D Business Design
      • Accounting and selective legal services
      • Energy efficiency
      • Waste elimination
      • Water stewardship
      • Community engagement
  • Local: Invests and directs returns into the same local Detroit bioregion.
  • Financial Returns: expected to be 1% - 3% less than market rates for similar "1D" loans. This reflects the lower risk profile and yields a market advantage (lower capital costs) for 3D businesses.
  • Accountability: Establishes and transparently report using a 3D Chart of Accounts
  • Build Community: Businesses that receive resources commit to helping other GreenSeeds businesses succeed. They share "best 3D practices" and work together when challenges arise. This reduces everyone's risk.

Investor Strategy

Phase I (Jun-2011 to Jun-2012)

  • Build initial infrastructure
  • Start with one investor (T. Brennan)
  • Make three investments...continuously improve for 1 year

Phase II (Jan 2012 to Dec 2012)

  • Develop microlending capability
  • Become a Field Partner (or Fellow) for Kiva with focus on "Green" borrowers / lenders (see selection boxes) in Detroit.
  • Make ten investments...continuously improve for 1 year

Phase III (2013)

  • Multi-investor fund

Phase IV (2014)

  • SBIC certification


GreenSeeds Community

  • 3D Advisory Circle
    • 3D Experts: Community leaders, Environmental experts, investment experts
    • Business sponsors
    • Participating businesses

Background Information


  • "Impact" is a peculiar word choice, because it also means to strike
  • Clearly Green Seeds seeks to "Invest", but keep in mind not to walk through the Financial Door first.
    • A linear financial definition from The Free Dictionary: To commit (money or capital) in order to gain a financial return.
    • More holistic definitions from same source:
      • To spend or devote for future advantage or benefit
      • To devote morally or psychologically, as to a purpose; commit
    • Our mission is to hold all three definitions at the same time.
  • If we want to structure and originate the financing ourselves, then the type of investments is probably very limited. If we are banker/brokers, facilitating access to existing financing, then we can provide many solutions, but can we be "Active Managers" of someone else's money? I don't think so.