Innovator

Catherine Berman

CEO and Co-founder, CNote

Fixed income hasn’t received as much attention or innovation over the years as public equity, said Catherine Berman, CEO and co— founder of CNote, an investment platform that not only focuses on fixed income and cash, but also on social impact.

“I realized there was a huge opportunity here. Let’s unlock this whole asset class,” she said. “We are challenging the assumption that impact investing is not an investible opportunity.”

CNote products include a fixed-income fund that returns 4% and invests in entrepreneurs who are women of color, and a cash alternative that returns 2.75% and is invested in low-income communities. Fixed-income products can also be customized to meet the interests of foundations as well as individual investors.

How has the firm been able to succeed in this investing space?

“It’s the underwriting technology and expertise we bring to areas such as affordable housing,” Ms. Berman said. “We understand the significance of nontraditional inputs such as the availability of certain housing support services.”

CNote’s specialized technology allows it to assess and price risk, scale up to allow for billions in investment, and offer hyperlocal investment opportunities.

Always enamored with business and finance, Ms. Berman has also harbored a deep passion for creating a better future through social justice, inspired by seeing the struggles faced by her family who fled Argentina to begin a new life in the U.S.

“I know the immigrant experience is not a level playing field. My family made it here by entrepreneurship,” she said.

— Deborah Nason