How we invest
Our approach gives us the ability to make a wide range of non-profit and for-profit investments.
Our investment process
We make different types and sizes of investment and funding, depending on the opportunity. This has helped us build an exciting and diverse portfolio of organisations and companies from around the world. You can read more about our portfolio here.
We always aim to be transparent about how we invest, so we’ve outlined the six stages we typically follow below. These may be subject to change as we're constantly looking for ways to improve our process.
Initial documentation requested
First meeting arranged
Strategic alignment assessed
First round review
Initial internal memo drafted
Opportunity discussed internally
First round approval
Deeper assessment of the opportunity
Additional documentation requested
Assessment memo drafted
IC meeting held
Presentation by prospective investee or grantee may be required
Luminate finance and legal teams consulted
Final structuring and reporting discussions
Documentation drafted by our legal team
Documentation sent for review and signature
Partnership can begin
Stage 1: Introductory discussions
We identify potential grantees and investees through our own research and diligence, plus our extensive global network. We do not, currently, accept unsolicited applications. That said, we are always on the lookout for new ideas and eager to learn about developments in our impact areas.
Once we have identified an opportunity, we will request initial documentation and arrange a meeting to better understand the organisation, company or project, and assess strategic alignment with our impact areas. If there is alignment, we move on to Stage 2.
Stage 2: First round review
We draft an initial internal memo providing an overview of the opportunity. This will include details of the organisation, company, or project we are assessing, what success would look like, how the opportunity fits our strategy, what funding would be needed, and our early views on merits and risks.
This memo will be evaluated by our broader team and, if approved, we move on to Stage 3. While we try to put forward only those proposals which align strongly with our strategy, approval at this stage is not guaranteed.
Stage 3: Due diligence
We conduct a deeper assessment of the opportunity – including speaking to partners, other investors or funders, staff, and any other relevant third parties. We will also request additional documentation for due diligence purposes. The extent and timeline for diligence will depend on the size and type of investment or grant, plus our familiarity with the organisation and sector.
We will draft an Assessment Memo for internal review including further detail on the organisation’s theory of change, operational model, governance and team, as well as a sector landscape and financial analysis. It will also include proposed ways of measuring performance and impact.
Stage 4: Investment Committee meeting
Once we have completed our due diligence and finalised our assessment materials, we will hold an Investment Committee (IC) meeting, led by our Investment Management team. Here, senior Luminate staff and, occasionally, external expert advisers will discuss the opportunity. For large or complex transactions, we may ask for representation from the organisation or company being assessed, to present an overview of the opportunity and answer any questions.
The outcome of the IC meeting might be additional diligence or meetings, and we would then work with the organisation to resolve outstanding issues. If the IC gives approval, we move on to Stage 5.
Stage 5: Final approvals
Before finalising approval, we will consult our finance and legal teams, as well as any other relevant experts. For-profit investments often require more extensive structuring discussions at this stage, which may be an iterative process
Stage 6: Legal documentation
Once we have finalised approvals and the terms of the investment or grant, including agreeing structure and reporting requirements with the organisation, documentation will be drafted by our legal team and, if necessary, external counsel. It will then be sent for review and signature – and the partnership can begin.
Just a quick note: Approval is not guaranteed at any stage of the process. If the opportunity is not approved, we will always try to explain why and provide clear and constructive feedback.
What happens after approval?
Once a partnership begins, we look forward to working closely with the organisation, company, or project and providing ongoing support. To understand how best we can help, we encourage open communication and schedule regular catch-ups with our portfolio. During the investment process, we may have already agreed certain areas where we can be of assistance.
The Luminate team has experience and expertise across all our impact areas and regions, and has access to a range of trusted third-party experts. Our partners will also be able to tap into our global portfolio and network – we are always looking for ways to connect our partner organisations through networking and other events.