One very long year ago we shared the beginnings of our thesis on Impact, Climate, ESG and Sustainable Finance — an area we believed would transform financial services in the decade ahead. We were wrong. This will not take a decade. Change is happening much faster than we anticipated and we are more bullish now than we have ever been. Here are some of our learnings two deals and one year in.

1. It’s hard to see you are on an exponential curve until you look backwards. This is happening faster than we anticipated.

One of the most frustrating things about enterprise cycles is that change can take a long time. Interests need to be aligned, stakeholders must get bought in and…

A fundamental change in the way we assess corporate performance is underway and there is a severe lack of data to enable this shift. We’re proud to announce that we are leading a $2.5m investment round into Net Purpose, the first data provider for Impact outcomes, investing with Revent Ventures, Lord Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and Kevin Gould, co-founder of IHS Markit.

There is so much more to a company than the top-line earnings that get reported

In our first meeting with Samantha Duncan, co-founder and CEO of Net Purpose, she shared an anecdote that struck a chord. …

Impact & ESG is a theme we have very strong conviction on at Illuminate. We have written about this in the past and have been actively looking for investments in the space given the substantial impact this will have on the way we judge and assess companies in society. We are thrilled to announce our latest investment in the space, leading YvesBlue’s $2m Seed round alongside SixThirty, Tribeca Early Stage Partners and other industry insiders.

What if you learnt that 90% of your pension’s value was ‘intangible’?

Well… this is exactly what a recent study of the underlying value of the S&P revealed. If you strip the value of tangible assets from…

In this ‘Interview with an expert’ we discuss the importance of Customer Success in SaaS and enterprise tech businesses with Leo Ryan.

Additional comment: This interview took place before COVID-19 but is even more relevant today. In a downturn, one of the first things that companies will cut are non-essential vendors as they try to control their costs. …

ESG or ‘environmental, social and corporate governance’ criteria refers to the set of most widely accepted factors that are considered when assessing the social impact of a business. With evidence mounting daily showing the catastrophic costs of inaction, there is an ever greater imperative for the financial sector to act.

It is hard to open a paper or watch the news without seeing a new eye-catching report on climate change or the social impact of certain businesses on society. …

In this ‘Interview with an expert’ we discuss the dos and don’ts of content marketing in B2B tech with Irene Triendl.

What is the context and background of what you do?

I help businesses sell to other businesses. My focus is content marketing strategy for tech companies — specifically helping them figure out the best message to put to their audience within their market and space.

In the B2B tech space this is a big challenge as it’s something that sits at the intersection of understanding product, the overall market, and the audience. Too often you see tech companies who are incredibly strong when it comes to building their product…

When companies adopt the right new technologies for their business, many exciting opportunities are presented, and new benefits surfaced. Whether this is improving the productivity and happiness of staff who are freed from repetitive manual work, allowing managers to sleep better knowing their operations are compliant, or discovering new possibilities to get ahead of the competition and offer a better service to their clients; the list goes on and it can be a win-win for all stakeholders.

We have written about our view on the core components of the wealth stack and how we think the more modern and modular…

It’s extremely challenging to describe what the team at d1g1t, the newest addition to the Illuminate portfolio, have built in a simple sentence.

An ‘end-to-end’ enterprise platform for the wealth industry? Too generic.

A next generation solution powered by advanced, institutional grade analytics? Too technical.

Ultimately, we have found the best way to communicate what the company does is by saying: Imagine the system you wish your wealth adviser was using to manage your money.

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The complex task of getting the simple things right

Anyone who has either worked in wealth, or had an adviser manage your personal finances, knows first-hand how frustrating it is when investments are all…

It is an exciting time to be working in the wealth management industry. There is a seismic change underway with new technologies that make it easier and more affordable for firms to both offer services to clients who historically would not have been able to access their advice, and to look after their clients’ interests better.

We think this presents a huge opportunity for forward thinking companies and individuals who are willing to embrace the change and challenge the way things have ‘always been done’ by validating and adopting best of breed emerging solutions in their firms.

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A sometimes-surprising reality of being a founder is that fundraising can become your full-time job. Although every process and business will have its differences, the more you can plan and prepare, the smoother it will inevitably be. Here are a few suggestions of how you could think about approaching a Seed/Series A fundraise.

Know the labels and metrics

According to Crunchbase, only 42% of Seed-funded startups go on to raise a Series A round. What a ‘Series A’ label means has also been changing, with more companies splitting early funding into multiple rounds (early seed, late seed, seed extension, pre-A, early A…).

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Katherine Wilson

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