NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Open Road Alliance (Open Road), the market leader in impact sector bridge financing, celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month by reflecting on achievements of the past decade and announcing a vision for the next one, including a shift in leadership to help make that vision a reality.
Since its founding in 2012 by philanthropist Laurie Michaels, Ph.D., Open Road has disbursed more than $70 million in loans and grants to 300+ impact-first companies worldwide, keeping over $800 million of impact on track. It now aims to scale 10x in the next ten years. Towards that end, Caroline Bressan, currently Managing Director and a veteran of impact investing with a specialty in debt financing, is being promoted to CEO of Open Road, effective June 1st. Maya Winkelstein, who has been with the organization since its founding, will transition from her current role as CEO to Chair of the Open Road Impact Fund Advisory Board.
“I am proud of the support that Open Road has been able to provide over the past decade to impact-first companies around the world. From solar mini-grid providers in Sub-Saharan Africa, to human rights programs in the Middle East, and income equality efforts here in the U.S., Open Road has grown to become a critical provider of the fast, flexible capital too often needed by these companies to accelerate their growth and keep impact on track,” commented Dr. Michaels.
“Now, on our 10th anniversary, we aim to dramatically expand our loan portfolio in our second decade, and I can think of no one more qualified to help us achieve this than Caroline Bressan, given her valuable contributions to Open Road thus far, as well as her deep background in innovative finance and impact investment.”
Ms. Bressan has served with Open Road since 2015, most recently as Managing Director of the Open Road Impact Fund. Currently open to outside investors, Open Road Impact Fund is the only investment fund focused on providing short-term bridge loans to impact-first companies. Ms. Bressan was the architect of the Impact Fund’s model and currently leads Open Road’s investment team and loan portfolios.
“I could not be more honored or excited to shift Open Road’s portfolio into high gear in this new role,” said Ms. Bressan. “In the next 10 years, there will be no shortage of impact-first companies needing Open Road’s accelerating finance. In fact, the larger trends shaping climate finance and other efforts to address inequality suggest the need for our product will only grow. I am grateful to Maya for building an incredibly strong foundation for Open Road over the past decade and positioning the organization to make an even greater difference in the years ahead.”
Prior to Open Road, Ms. Bressan was an Investment Principal at Dalberg, where she built a pipeline of opportunities in energy and agriculture in Africa. Before that, she was an Investment Officer at Calvert Foundation, where she managed its $20 million Latin America-focused portfolio and helped launch the international component of its Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN). Ms. Bressan serves on the boards of Accountability Counsel and Upaya Social Ventures. She holds a BBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth.
“Building and leading Open Road as CEO over the past decade has been a thrill, a passion, and an honor,” said Ms. Winkelstein. “I am proud of what our team has created together and look forward to supporting Open Road’s future in my new role as Chair. The next decade presents an exciting opportunity to further scale our impact and growth at a time the world increasingly needs it. There is no doubt in mind that Caroline is the best leader for this next phase of Open Road’s growth.”
About Open Road Alliance
Open Road Alliance eliminates funding delays and accelerates growth for impact-first companies. Open Road offers fast, flexible, and affordable financing in the form of short-term bridge loans to companies across geographies and sectors facing discrete, unforeseen financing gaps that threaten to derail their work. From installing mini-grids in West Africa to addressing the challenges of financial inclusion in Colombia, Open Road’s loans are designed to ensure that companies addressing the world’s greatest challenges like climate change and inequality can continue to scale.
Since its founding in 2012, Open Road has provided more than $70 million in loans and grants to 300+ social impact organizations, keeping $800M+ of impact on track.