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The Best Impact Story You’ve Never Heard: Investing in Water

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Water infrastructure in the US alone requires at least $1 trillion in investment before 2030 in order to remain fit for purpose. It is currently rated “D” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Globally, 2.1 billion people do not have access to adequate water and sanitation, including 1.2 million people in California’s Central Valley. Water presents both a daunting challenge and a dizzying opportunity.

So where is the money going to come from to solve this problem? Whether it is venture funding, venture philanthropy, PRIs/MRIs, real asset investment, project finance – the tools exist to deploy capital, allowing more people access to the fundamental substance they need for survival.

This panel will demystify the pitfalls, opportunities and impact of investing in water, from private equity & real assets to venture funding and philanthropy. With a panel of four renowned sector experts we will look at all elements of the capital stack, and where impact investors can lend a hand. The great thing about investing in water is that every water investment is an impact investment. Let’s dig in to the story you haven’t heard…

The panel will consist of Jeff Green (Founder & Managing Partner – Rusheen Capital), Nicole Neeman Brady (Principal & COO – Renewable Resources Group), Emily Landsburg (Director – Ultra Capital) and Peter Gross (Water Skipper – Emerson Collective). It will moderated by Kelly Trott (Senior Director, Imagine H2O).

Confirmed Panelists

Jeff Green – Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Rusheen Capital Management

Rusheen is a Santa Monica-based private equity firm investing in energy, environment and sustainability. Prior to forming RCM, Mr. Green founded and ran NanoH2O, a global provider of reverse osmosis membranes that leverage nanotechnology to lower the cost of desalination. As an investor and entrepreneur, Mr. Green has started, run and invested in 5 companies. Examples include: Stamps.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: STMP), NanoH2O, Inc. (acquired by LG Chem) and Moleaer, Inc.

Nicole Neeman Brady – Principal & COO at Renewable Resources Group

Renewable Resources Group (RRG) is an LA-based investment firm that owns, manages, and develops agriculture, water, and renewable energy assets in the US and internationally. As a member of the Investment Committee, Nicole is responsible for all energy and water treatment investment and development opportunities. Nicole joined RRG following the firm’s acquisition of Edison Water Resources, a subsidiary of Edison International where she was President and Founder, that pursued water purification and recycling opportunities on a distributed basis.

Emily Landsburg – Director, Ultra Capital

Emily Bockian Landsburg is a Director at Ultra Capital, a private equity firm making investments in distributed (<$100million) infrastructure projects in waste, energy, water, and agriculture sectors in North America. Ms. Landsburg has a 15-year track record building infrastructure projects and companies at the intersection of waste, water, and energy. Prior to Ultra Capital, Ms. Landsburg developed projects in deep energy-efficiency retrofits, biofuels, and biochemicals in the US and Caribbean. She was the co-founder and CEO of a venture-backed firm that developed, built, and operated facilities recovering biofuels from wastewater streams. She has worked in fuel distribution, the marine industry, and wind and retail green power industries. Ms. Landsburg has a BA in Applied Mathematics from Columbia University.

Peter Gross – Water Skipper, Emerson Collective

Peter has spent more than 30 years in the water and wastewater industry, successfully launching new technologies globally. In 1987, Peter founded Aeromix, building the company as a leader in wastewater aeration and decentralized wastewater treatment plants and later sold to a private equity group. Peter was appointed CEO at RWL Water USA (2010-2016), a company with operations, sales offices and thousands of installations around the world.

Peter is with Emerson Collective, a family office in California leading their water strategy while serving on multiple boards of companies in the water and energy space. He is the inventor on record on 10 patents relating to water and wastewater technology, holds an MBA Marketing from the University of Minnesota, and an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering.

Kelly Trott – Senior Director, Imagine H2O (Moderator)

Kelly leads Imagine H2O’s Central Valley programming as well as the organization’s outreach to investors and strategic partners. Prior to joining IH2O, Kelly worked at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation where she focused on strategy and business development. Kelly began her career in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch before moving to the American Museum of Natural History as the Assistant Director of Corporate Relations. Kelly graduated from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in 2017 and holds a BS from Vanderbilt University. While at Tuck, she interned with The Nature Conservancy and volunteered with NatureVest and Radicle Impact.

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12 comments

  1. As a person involved with water daily, I see this upcoming crisis that no one really talks about. We are running out of water. No one really notices till the tap runs dry (South Africa last year, India this year)

    Investments in water related technology for alternative sources and large projects that are also carbon natural is a interesting subject.

  2. This is an extremely vital topic in unlocking the capital markets and how we can put a true value on water in the era of climate change.

  3. The challenges of investment around water, esp early stage technology, is not trivial because so many efforts don’t have the simple saas economics that investors are after. But great opportunities exist! Ih2o is great at navigating the landscape.

  4. Investing on impact ventures is critically getting important these days.we need to Respond on the ture reason of what technologies made for

  5. I am interested to see the evolution of the water industry in the years to come. Given that water is such a critical resource I am shock to see that there is no leverage of current technology developments to improve our consumption.

  6. This session idea deserves favorable consideration. It will provide valuable insights into the investment ecosystem.

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