Why we at daphni invest in companies that truly make sense?
Can you remember what daphni’s base line is? build da city. for. good. We didn’t come up with this by coincidence.
The digital wave has brought both strong innovation and value creation, but has, at the same time, also increased inequalities and dynamics of overconsumption. Digitalisation has brought tools to connect people but as a matter of fact, many people feel even more lonely - even if this loneliness is different from what we have been taught. Every transition brings back its share of contradictions, for the better and for the worst. And we all have responsibility to be cautious of this huge paradox.
As we are aware of all of this, having taken part in the last two decades of new technologies / services development, we are not considering opportunities in the same way. Not only do we ask for the vision of any given startup, which is key for founders and VCs wanting to back them, but we also consider the purpose of the business as a key component in the startup dynamics. This vision has to be put in coherence with the global dynamics of a non-negotiable better world, eg. a more sustainable world that helps to preserve nature, species, peace and freedom with an inclusive consideration of human beings as part of the global ecosystem.
In our view, the purpose is essential to make things happen for the long term, and for a few important reasons:
Purpose is key for our match making process and the community driven approach. We, as a management company, achieve our purpose through investing and onboarding our community to take part in the wonderful journey of founders wanting to build da city. for good. together with us. You know the African saying: it takes a village to raise a child. Our gut feeling is that people / companies with a strong purpose can only match other people / companies with a purpose — if they all want to build something great. This clearly impacts how we interact with our stakeholders (i) the startups we consider investing in, (ii) the investors of the funds we manage, and of course, (iii) the incredible team we are building. We are all part of the same village.
Having a purpose dramatically changes the pain of building a new venture. You know what? We all know that the pain of facing day to day hurdles is huge for entrepreneurs. We at daphni feel the same. But we are, meanwhile, convinced that everyone can more than surpass themselves if having a purpose they believe in: it makes it easier to consider that bad news is an opportunity to bounce back, to wake up in the morning even if the last days were exhausting… And it also helps recruiting the right people, whatever their age and background, to face all the challenges!
Purpose helps creating long term value. Having a purpose makes the entrepreneurial journey less dependent on the potential multiple cyclical trends that have to be faced, and thus makes it a bit more resilient, even if not predictable. It takes years to raise a child, the same for a startup, as headwinds are the norm and the long term objective should prevail against short term wins, which can just appear as bets.
Last, but not least- with our without a purpose — it is risky building a venture trying to make the world a better place. The main difference for us is that, in case of failure (yes, yes, not all ventures are going to succeed…), having had a purpose is the main driver to convince entrepreneurs that they have clearly not lost time throughout adventure.
This is not just theory. It is not by coincidence that we invested in companies like (just naming a few) BackMarket, Geev, Lunchr, Agricool, Lifen, Fretlink, Holberton School,… They are clearly all purpose driven, wanting to build da city. for. good.