Alison Humphrey, Arna. Source: Ian Tuttle

Alison Humphrey, formerly a senior ESG and sustainability exec at TPG, has launched Arna, a capital advisory group focused on climate.

Humphrey spent over three years at TPG, where she was responsible for developing a “value centric” approach to ESG across the investment cycle, according to her LinkedIn page. She departed in 2021 to join boutique investment bank PJT partners, where she was an adviser on sustainable growth. She has also held sustainability roles at Effect Partners and Bank of America.

Humphrey launched Arna last month to help managers raising climate funds, as well as early-stage companies looking to secure funding.

“At the same time that funding for climate and sustainability is evolving and diversifying, capital markets are still incredibly challenging to navigate for founders, especially those primarily focused on critical climate technologies with varying stages of deployment and commercialisation,” Humphrey told New Private Markets. “On the other side of that coin, despite climate, impact and sustainability being a bright spot, we now see managers really struggling to differentiate and raise the capital that they need to effectively execute on these impact strategies.

“I feel strongly that to date support for entrepreneurs and these investors has been pretty templated and hands off. In capital raising, companies and funds really need people who are going to honestly, creatively and explicitly tell them what options are available to them and where the right pockets of capital are.”

A significant part of the firm’s focus will be supporting emerging managers. Humphrey said: “Unlike other placement agents, on the fund side we are willing and excited to represent first-, second- or third-time funds and also on the corporate side, work with those impactful technologies that are newer and need more complex scaling advice.

“We’re at this innovation and deployment phase in climate and impact. There are plenty of new or newish managers that have unique, intentional, impactful strategies, who are phenomenal investors and just really need that additional capacity and connectivity.”

Tailored approach

Given the slowdown in the market over recent months, Humphrey sees an opportunity to work with clients looking for more innovative, bespoke solutions to their fundraising difficulties. “Many of the clients that I’m working with now or that I’m talking about working with in the future are halfway through their fund raises and have exhausted their options and are also just physically exhausted,” she said. “Looking at it as glass half full, we’re able to take a much more creative and different view on the ways in which we’re scoping our strategies and raising capital. [But] it is a tough market and there’s no getting around that.”

This article has been updated to reflect that Alison Humphries was a senior ESG and sustainability executive at TPG, and that Arna is a capital advisory group, rather than a placement agent.