The winners of the impact fund management categories in the New Private Markets Awards 2023 are as follows:

Impact firm of the Year (Climate and Nature): Ara Partners

In one of the most hotly contested categories in our awards, Ara Partners, a firm founded just six years ago, has been crowned impact firm of the year in climate and nature. Founded by Charles Cherington and Troy Thacker, the industrial decarbonisation-focused firm closed its third private equity fund on $2.8 billion in December, blasting through its $2 billion target. It has also started raising and investing its first infrastructure fund.

Runner up: TPG Rise

Impact firm of the Year (Financial Inclusion): LeapFrog Investments

LeapFrog Investments is a fitting winner in an impact investing category it helped define, having raised its first financial inclusion-focused fund back in 2009. While the firm has expanded its remit into healthcare and more recently climate investments, it remains active in financial services provision. In 2023 it exited Indian microfinance platform Finacare, and made investments in two insurance technology businesses: Bolttech and InsuranceDekho. The firm also announced it had raised “a significant share” of its latest $1 billion healthcare and financial services fund.

Runner up: BlueOrchard

Impact Firm of the Year (Circular Economy): Closed Loop Partners

The work of Closed Loop Partners, one of a small number of firms dedicated entirely to furthering the circular economy, goes beyond just private fund management. Alongside its private equity and private credit business, its platform includes a thought leadership and industry collaboration division, as well as Circular Services, a developer of circular economy infrastructure created in 2022 with a $700 million commitment from Brookfield Renewable. In 2023 the firm conducted a number of investments and thought leadership projects and attracted nearly $1 billion in commitments from Brookfield Asset Management, Microsoft, PepsiCo and others to Circular Services.

  • Runner up: Ambienta

Impact Firm of the Year (Education): The Vistria Group

Founded a decade ago with the dual goals of significant financial returns and positive social change, The Vistria Group has since invested $1.7 billion across 13 investments in its Knowledge and Learning Solutions vertical. During 2023 it put around $559 million to work in the space, which included an investment in MGT Solutions, a provider of tech solutions to education institutions and government organisations.

  • Runner up: TPG Rise

Impact Firm of the Year (Real Estate): Nuveen

A big name in impact, Nuveen inked a deal in May 2023 to buy Omni Holding Company’s real estate book and in doing so doubled its affordable housing portfolio to $6.2 billion*, according to the firm. In September it launched a US housing impact fund and received $250 million from its parent company TIAA’s general account.

Runner up: Bridges Fund Management

Impact Firm of the Year (Food System): Paine Schwartz Partners

Paine Schwartz has been investing in the food and agriculture sector since before the invention of the term “impact investing”. The firm was founded more than 20 years ago and manages around $6 billion in assets. “We believe food and ag is not only an attractive and underserved market within private equity, but one that aligns synergistically with key sustainability objectives,” the firm states. The specialist raised $1.7 billion for its sixth agribusiness-focused fund, holding a final close in September above its original $1.5 billion target.

Runner up: Ocean 14 Capital

Impact Firm of the Year (Healthcare): TPG Rise

Arguably the first private markets “heavyweight” firm to move into impact investing, TPG has been investing in healthcare through both its Life Sciences and its Rise impact platforms across developed and emerging markets. In 2023 it sealed six healthcare investments and agreed multiple realisations in the sector, including the sale of Indian business CARE Hospitals to Blackstone. Companies in the TPG Rise portfolio have, since inception, conducted more than 13.9 million episodes of care, the firm reports.

Runner up: LeapFrog Investments

*This article has been corrected, changing the reported size of Nuveen’s affordable housing portfolio from $4.6 billion to $6.2 billion.