Meet the Impact 20: Greg Shell’s ‘obsession’ is helping create smiles

The managing director of Bain Capital Double Impact describes how a portfolio company is helping expand dental coverage to children in need.

For Greg Shell, joining Boston-based Bain Capital Double Impact in 2016 was about following an “obsession” to show how a fund manager can use private capital in society differently to previous generations.

“I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life trying to address all of the ways that capitalism fails us,” Shell told New Private Markets, adding that his work at BCDI has allowed him to show the positive ways “the power of private capital” can influence people’s lives.

“The canon of impact investing really does encompass lots of things that I hold dear,” he said. “It’s simultaneously true that there’s incredible investment activity to be executed on.”

BCDI, part of private equity firm Bain Capital, deploys its impact strategy with the view that dealmaking is the “purposeful act of using investment capital to find private sector business models that can help achieve a societal aim”, Shell said. The firm invests between $20 million-$80 million per deal in promising companies that can provide solutions to problems BCDI has chosen to address.

Across industries, Shell said the investment community is accepting a “broader recognition that driving impact is highly correlated with making an enterprise more commercially valuable and more commercially viable”. One of the firm’s main focuses has been on funding opportunities that help reform education and healthcare.

An example of this strategy and focus came in 2019, when BCDI partnered with Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics, a paediatric dentist business based in Fort Worth, Texas which manages 15 locations and seeks to offer more of its services to children lacking access to oral hygiene care. A portion of our conversation with Shell is highlighted in the video above and features him explaining how Rodeo Dental is an example of how BCDI seeks to make an impact.

BCDI listed at 10th in New Private Markets’ inaugural Impact 20 ranking which was released in June and catalogues the industry’s top fundraisers for impact capital. The ranking measured final or official interim fundraising closes held between January 2016 and March 2021. BCDI finished with $1.08 billion in total, including a $727 million final close held last year on its second impact vehicle.

The Impact 20 uses the GIIN’s definition of impact which considers investments that are made “with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”.

This article is part of our Meet the Impact 20 series profiling the managers featured in the ranking. View our previous post here to learn about what motivates Scott Barrington’s investment team at North Sky Capital to invest to make a positive difference.