The Ananda Impact Ventures Manifesto

We invest in outstanding impact entrepreneurs and businesses building stuff that matters with a European reach and the scope and potential for global impact.

Ananda Impact Ventures
Nov 16 · 9 min read
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The global economy and our society have reached a decisive moment in time. We have an unprecedented opportunity to redress the balance as societal and environmental challenges increasingly universalise and make the world feel more connected than ever.

Problems that were once the problems of „others“ due to distance or cultural differences are now starting to affect everyone and they feel more pressing than ever. Through the global pandemic we have seen rapid change in every aspect of our lives and with that what really matters to us has become clearer.

Reducing the negative effects of climate change and globalization, improving our exhausted healthcare systems, providing access to quality education and fostering equitable humanity.

These challenges and the demand for sustainable solutions will not change with economic cycles but become even more ubiquitous. They will be addressed because as a society, we have renewed appetite to find solutions for them. This sets the stage for impact companies to thrive.

There are strong demographic and societal trends that create trillion-euro market opportunities:

We are an ageing population. As demographic statistics from the European Commission demonstrate, people aged 80 years or older will increase by more than 120% of the EU population by 2070. They will all require effective support and care. [1]

The corona pandemic has bluntly shown that most healthcare and educational systems in Europe are exhausted and urgently need better answers to evolving demand. Consumer behaviour is also shifting towards more sustainable choices. More than 90% of consumers are likely to switch brands to one that aligns with their values and has sustainability at its core, creating billion-euro market opportunities for companies addressing these needs.

Governments are increasingly aware of the economic and societal challenges we face and go to great lengths in solving these problems through both incentives and regulation creating a fruitful infrastructure for impact businesses.

Thus, we see impact companies as the greatest value-creation opportunities over the next few decades. When we speak of „value“ we mean not just economic value but also societal value at scale.

As pioneers of impact investing and former entrepreneurs and operators, we are well positioned in our belief that the most valuable companies will be the ones addressing the world’s greatest challenges. We also believe that Europe is underserved in capital allocation at the all-important seed to series A and home to world class tech talent who want to work with purpose. Combined with our entrepreneurial and investor network, Ananda are a perfect partner to help these companies drive impact at scale.

What we look for — examples in action

These are just a small sample of the companies we have invested in to give you a flavour of the breadth and depth of impact across the portfolio.

Auticon

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Auticon is an award-winning multi-national IT and compliance consulting business. All Auticon Consultants are on the autism spectrum, meaning these individuals receive the opportunity to contribute their skills to the IT sector and to independently fund their lives. By supporting and implementing the specific abilities of those on the autistic spectrum, these individuals enjoy the possibility of earning their own living within the IT sector; self-confidence and societal integration are also improved.

Open Bionics

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Open Bionics creates award winning affordable 3D printed bionic arms for amputees. They have created a global brand via high profile partnerships with Disney (including Star Wars) and Marvel and pioneered a new category in bionic prosthetics. Watch this video to see their creations in action!

IESO

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Ieso Digital Health is the UK’s leading provider of clinically validated and digitally-enabled mental health care and is redefining the way that mental health care is delivered by making high-quality cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) accessible, accountable and affordable for the first time. The company recently announced it is the first provider in the world to augment one to one therapy in real-time with advanced analytics, machine learning, and natural language processing technologies.

Company Bike Solutions

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Company Bike Solutions partners with corporate clients to offer employees affordable bike and electric bikes leasing. Commuting is shifted to bikes, emissions and urban congestion reduced while employee health is promoted. Company Bike Solutions have enabled access to healthy and carbon neutral commuting for over 250,000 employees with a 4.800t total reduction in CO2 emissions.

Impact companies see great opportunities in societal challenges and address them intentionally with interdependent business models aiming for both scalable impact and financial growth

We believe in the power of impact entrepreneurship.

To us there is nothing stronger than a founder’s unshakeable intention to address a pressing and sizeable societal challenge and the persistence to work towards that goal until it is solved. Our target companies tackle the following four themes:

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Purpose is at the core of the impact businesses that we invest in. They address major societal challenges with innovative technological solutions and act as signposts and role models towards a more sustainable future.

With impact inherently “baked” into the core of our target companies’ business models there is no trade-off between revenue and impact. The formula is simple: More revenue equals more impact. This is enshrined in the DNA of an outstanding impact business.

A fundamental reshaping of finance is taking place with impact investment funds being at the forefront

Great ideas with outstanding teams willing to execute them will always attract capital. In most traditional VC fund portfolios, there will be one or two companies that would also match our criteria.

However, our approach is to proactively search and select the most outstanding impact businesses tackling large issues.

Entrepreneurs choose us because we bring deep sector knowledge and relevant, specific networks to the table. We actively create synergies within our portfolio of like-minded companies, cross-fertilizing each other.

It is not impact investing, if you do not measure it: Ananda adds a decade of impact measurement expertise to the equation. Moreover, our portfolio companies appreciate our strong interest in and alignment with their mission and our commitment to keep the company on this mission as active investors and reliable board members. We bring a different perspective to the table often complementing the perspective of traditional VC funds.

Technology plays a tremendously important role in driving meaningful societal change.

We have a strong affinity towards technology. In the last 10 years we have witnessed how tech-enabled companies and some deep tech companies have made irrevocable positive changes to our society and how tech has played an extremely important role in reaching these goals in a scalable and efficient manner.

However, our experience over the last 10 years is that many current societal issues cannot be solved by technology alone. There are issues that need solving now and where technology provides a bridge to a better future. We therefore also back hybrid business models relying on both technology and people as well as companies that work in very traditional areas that have not yet been sufficiently digitized (healthcare, childcare education etc.), that however have an affinity to applying some novel technology in order to offer state of the art services.

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Impact companies are benefitting from unique trends in career choice, academic and investor focus plus infrastructure support

Over the last decade we have witnessed that there is a growing new wave of entrepreneurs — first time and experienced — who chose to build stuff that matters (to them and society). Purpose has become a guiding force for personal as well as career decisions. This has helped our portfolio companies in building stable and diverse teams.

Many universities have created programs around impact entrepreneurship and impact investing, educating students and professionals to become catalysts for change.

Great private fortunes are being directed into a more meaningful way by the next generation of wealthy families searching for suitable investment opportunities.

In most European countries major institutions have brought impact entrepreneurship and impact investing to the agenda and have directed capital streams in this direction, creating an increasingly attractive environment for the impact economy.

The importance of positive societal and ecological impact is taking a centre stage position and opening ample opportunities for different parties to gradually build an effective ecosystem around this topic.

From entrepreneurs FOR entrepreneurs. Let’s build stuff that matters. Together

One thing that we believe makes us special is that most of us have been entrepreneurs prior to joining Ananda. Therefore, we understand the challenges our portfolio entrepreneurs must tackle day by day. If things get tough, we don’t become all academic about it, we know what it’s like to be in the trenches.

We also know that mental health is a crucial topic for founders and management to build a strong business and to succeed. We are focused on providing the best possible support in this area. This includes guidance on founder coaching as well as proactive identification of potential HR challenges and development opportunities. For us, people are at the core of our business and we believe in strengthening them in every possible way. We lived through the challenges of building a business ourselves and we always aim to help overcoming these in an empathetic way keeping an eye level relationship with the founders.

Creating outstanding businesses for societal change is not easy. Over the past decade we have learned that the one thing that makes or breaks a company are the dynamics of the founders and their team. It has always been our highest priority to work with people that are fully aligned with their great vision. This intrinsic motivation gives them the drive to go far beyond the point where others would stop until they have delivered upon it.

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We are life-long learners. Striving to become better in what we do. Every day.

Ananda Ventures is a pioneer of impact investing. Over the past decade we have witnessed and actively participated in the development of a vibrant impact investing scene. We have co-created national and international impact champions. We have set new standards with our Impact Termsheet supporting our portfolio companies in keeping their mission and pushing them to become category leaders in diversity and sustainability.

We have experienced, that we can add great value in certain industry sectors through the profound knowledge we have built. Most promising founders choose us over other investors as we have a deep understanding of their markets and can add a relevant network that can help them excel.

We believe in life-long-learning. Markets change extremely rapidly requiring us to adapt quickly. This will intensify. Therefore, we stay modest and keep our minds wide open. Learning from mistakes. Sharing what we have learned so others can thrive. A little reciprocity goes a long way for a healthy ecosystem.

Conclusion

Ten years into our journey as impact investors we understand that venture capital alone cannot solve these issues and that we are but one small part of an ecosystem for positive change. We invest to act as a catalyst to accelerate and support impact entrepreneurs and their companies.

Although there is much work to be done, we are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved to date in forging this new future of venture capital and crucial reshaping of the way the world looks at finance.

[1] https://www.age-platform.eu/special-briefing/first-eu-report-demographic-change-prompts-reflection-europes-ageing-population

Ananda Impact Ventures

Ananda Impact Ventures is a European venture capital…

Ananda Impact Ventures

Written by

Ananda Impact Ventures is a European venture capital investor focused on scaling impact-driven for-profit enterprises.

Ananda Impact Ventures

Ananda Impact Ventures is a European venture capital investor focused on scaling impact-driven for-profit enterprises. — Let’s build stuff that matters!

Ananda Impact Ventures

Written by

Ananda Impact Ventures is a European venture capital investor focused on scaling impact-driven for-profit enterprises.

Ananda Impact Ventures

Ananda Impact Ventures is a European venture capital investor focused on scaling impact-driven for-profit enterprises. — Let’s build stuff that matters!

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