NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It seems like ages ago that nascent start-ups like Facebook (FB) and LinkedIn (LNKD) were reinventing how billions of people around the globe would stay both socially and professionally connected.Fast forward to today and we're witnessing the progressive unfolding of one of the most democratic ways for individuals and start-ups to fund their ideas and enterprises. This is a revolutionary movement with remarkable possibilities. It's called "crowdfunding" and it now includes a company that has taken the concept to a new level. GATE Impact Investing is reaching out to socially conscious investors who want to participate in the financial success of companies that benefit humanity and the well-being of the world around us. I spoke with GATE CEO Vince Molinari, before his two-day summit at the United Nations in New York (more on that later), and learned that this is no typical crowdfunding venture. GATE has created both a system and a trading platform for "investors who want their investments to make a positive difference" as the CEO described it. Molinari says GATE Global Impact "is an impact-investing focused, electronic, regulatory-compliant marketplace that provides market infrastructure and related services for the emerging impact-investment industry." It's all about making a positive financial "impact" in the world's many markets. This new industry, he says, involves "public and private investments with a sustainable social and/or environmental component that also may generate a healthy rate of financial return. All securities are offered through GATE US LLC," a New York-based broker dealer. Having cut his teeth in the world of financial services and capital formation, Vince Molinari and his partners wanted to create a technology-based trading platform, that as he described it, "enables access to new funding sources from across society and enterprises that offer innovative solutions to global challenges, will be able to connect capital to social impact and environment-related projects." Molinari and GATE's approach to raising funds is "based on a new ecosystem and financial integrity. I asked him what he meant by "financial integrity."
"Integrity is tied to transparency," he responded without hesitation. "Transparency and sustainable investment capital based on a humanitarian model" is what separates GATE Impact Investing from the other players in the crowdfunding genre.
The Gateway Platform is a robust, end-to-end solution that supports evolving financial regulatory frameworks and provides information and data levels to facilitate strategic decision-making, regarding capital deployment. "We call this 'actionable knowledge' for buyers and sellers of Impact Investments -- investments that have the ability to generate a measurable social and/or environmental benefit alongside a potential for financial return," Molinari added. "A key advantage of the Gateway Platform lies in its technology suite, which is able to provide investors and project owners with the information and metrics they need to transact, settle and clear assets, while delivering exceptionally high standards of market transparency and security. All securities are offered through GATE US, a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)." This not only adds credence to the crowdfunding process, but it allows investors to both invest in good causes and experience the possibility of a positive return on their investment. It brings a new layer of meaning to that famous financial metric "Return on Investment," or ROI. In the weeks and months ahead, I intend to explore this promising new genre GATE is pioneering. Being an advocate for accountability and the velocity of money, I envision the birth of a new asset class that allows investors to invest in "securities" that benefit their consciences and their wallets. The UN Global Compact and GATE are highlighting their new partnership at the UN Global Compact Leadership Summit: Architects of a Better World" into Friday. Click here to read the press release and learn more of the exciting details. By the way, GATE has worked with publicly traded industry leaders such as Dow 30 company Microsoft ( MSFT) and one of the mavens of the insurance and financial industries Prudential Financial ( PRU), which have been supportive of GATE's mission and uniqueness. This may suggest that someday GATE Impact Investing may succeed in its mission to the point that it may become an investment security, just like the big social networking companies are today. Time will tell. In the meantime, I'll be investigating the potential. At the time of publication Courtenay was long MSFT. Follow @m8a2r1 This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.