Impact Investing, Bill Murphy founder of Purpose Capital
Bill Murphy joins Purposely to share his founder story starting Purpose Capital.
Originally from Boston Massachusetts, he is an American that calls New Zealand home, having moved here in the 1980’s with his wife Rose, a New Zealander.
Based in the Bay of Plenty, on New Zealand’s North Island, Purpose Capital is an investment fund on a mission to drive social and environmental change. Having raised $22 million so far it is described as a collaboration between the New Zealand business, investment, and philanthropic sectors, bringing capital and expertise to find social and environmental solutions.
Bill talks about his determination to make a positive difference to Society and the Planet, formed by his diverse life journey. A range of experiences shaped him to go on and play an active leadership role in spreading and growing impact investing. Before he launched his own investment fund Bill started out as an accountant and also founded Enterprise Angels, helping start-up entrepreneurs.
He launched Purpose Capital in 2019 and has plans to grow the fund significantly and create a legacy for future generations. Bill shares details of the fund’s investment in renewable energy, as well as funding circular business models that embrace a sharing economy. Some interesting projects include, build to rent housing for long-term tenants, solar farms to provide renewable energy and iwi-led open ocean aquaculture.
Bill is a proponent of Degrowth, a recent phenomenon that provides an alternative approach to ‘growth at all costs’ capitalism. Bill explains its potential benefits to Society and the environment. The relentless search for growth comes at the expense of more important things. As economies grow, consumption grows, and the earth’s resources are depleted more rapidly than ever. Degrowth is the planned reduction of resource consumption and energy use until it reaches a point where our resources can sustain everyone.
In the podcast Bill looks back at his early years and explains how his background was never going to fully define him or limit his ambition.
‘I'm an Irish Catholic archetype from Boston, my father was a policeman and my father's two brothers were firemen so joining the civil service was strongly encouraged. But early on I knew that this path was not for me. For a start I went to University, I started doing yoga and meditating and I became a vegetarian when I was hitchhiking out to California.’
Inspired by the cultural revolution happening in the 1960’s Bill travelled from the Northeast of the United States to California. This period of his life had a profound effect on him and would lay the foundations of his approach to life and his desire to bring about change.
‘Seeing the failure of the 60s protest movements to affect real change informed me. A realisation that we weren't going to be able to achieve change through purely political protest means, we needed to change hearts and minds.’
This led him to want to use finance to make significant change.
Bill is excited about the future of Purpose Capital and the part they will play in a more sustainable future. While he clearly loves doing what he does he is looking for someone to succeed him ‘eventually’, someone with the right skills and experience and strong sense of purpose.