Impact investing firm CoPeace is launching CoPeace Sport, a division that seeks to expand environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts among athletes and in sports businesses. The aim is to provide brand management and impact measurement for teams and players, identify sports investments on behalf of third-party ESG-minded investors and add sports businesses to the CoPeace portfolio.
“It’s a good business decision to care about the long-term future of our world,” said CEO Craig Jonas in a phone call. “Athletes are catching on… and young people and people with access to data are driving the future—it’s going to be a much more inclusive world, too.”
Jonas founded CoPeace in 2018 after serving as chief operating officer at events and media firm Basketball Travelers Inc. Meg Masten, who hails from BTI as well, is Chief Relationship Officer. Ed Tepper, formerly of the Wilpon family’s Sterling Ventures, joined CoPeace as COO at the start of this year. Jonas and Tepper previously worked together at Sportvision, a firm best known for developing the yellow first-down line, the strike zone box and the glow puck used on television broadcasts. The trio will officially announce the launch of CoPeace Sport later today.
The executives anticipate that CoPeace Sport will work with investors, including institutional investors such as non-profit foundations, to identify investments to make in companies and start-ups in the sports business that adhere to ESG principals. As an example, Masten said the company is evaluating a woman-led company that collects old collegiate team uniforms and gear, which ordinarily end up in landfills, and recycles and repurposes them as school spirit gear. “The sports world is a difficult one to access due to the trust factor, and we feel like we’re positioned well to navigate that challenge,” she said.
CoPeace Sport also intends to offer ways for individuals and teams to measure their positive impact through their actions and social media. “Incorporating impact helps enhance their brand value, because that is something people are willing to pay for when they are in a store choosing between one brand and another,” explained Jonas.
Lastly, CoPeace Sport will also invest directly into businesses, seeking to add them to the CoPeace portfolio. CoPeace has already made an investment in Uncharted Power, a female-founded and -led Poughkeepsie, N.Y., company that is developing microgrid technology to enhance electrical and internet reliability. Chris Paul is also an investor in Uncharted Power and Magic Johnson is on the company’s board.
CoPeace makes its investments using a combination of private investor funds as well as money raised from individuals through its WeFunder page. Impact investing has become mainstream in recent years, as investors are increasingly seeking to engender environmental and social benefits while making money. A recent study of 10-year returns of more than 750 ESG funds found that most outperformed conventional peers.
“Sports is just such a powerful thing,” said Tepper. “It taps into the emotions, and we have an incredible opportunity here to use that power and direct it in a positive way that goes far beyond anything philanthropy can do—to create self-sustaining opportunities for companies to do good, help others and make money at the same time.”