Impact Shakers
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Impact Shakers

Start to Impact Invest — Part 4 — Become a scout

Are your network and recognising talent your superpowers? Do you want to make sure that overlooked founders get noticed? Then joining a scouting programme can bring mutual benefits both to founders and you. As a scout, you usually get a certain sum to invest in startups you source. You could also get rewarded with a referral fee or a portion of the carry when the investment works out.

Investors are always (always!) looking for dealflow and keen to learn about the next undiscovered gem to invest in.

Check out these 8 programmes to put your scouting talent to work:

BLCK VC

San Francisco, US

The BLCK VC Scout Network trains, mentors, and connects current and aspiring Black scouts to ensure they have the knowledge, tools, and support they need to be successful.

Why BLCK VC?

The programme has been founded together with two top-tier VC firm partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners & Sequoia Capital.

BLCK VC in a nutshell

  • The ‘BLCK VC Scout Network Program’ is primarily for existing scouts with a few spots set aside in each cohort to prepare aspiring scouts. All candidates must identify as Black or African American.
  • The Scout Network is a 6-month programme with 3 phases focused on education, community, and deal flow. BLCK VC will implement two cohorts of 15–20 scouts each year.
  • Scouts will not be allocated funds through the programme to invest but will leave with the education and community they need to be strong scout investors.
  • After completing the training programme, Black scouts are invited and encouraged to participate in community convenings to connect with other scouts and further expand their networks.

Atomico

London, UK

The Atomico Angel Programme aims to empower the next generation of European angel investors to partner with outstanding early-stage founders from across the region. Atomico’s goal is to strengthen the ties between the grassroots tech community and established institutions across the ecosystem to empower new founders.

Why Atomico Angel Programme?

The programme’s goal is to mentor and back newcomer angel investors across various hubs in the European tech startup ecosystem. They also aim to build a strong community and network of participating angels in order to activate new clusters of European talent that have been underrepresented in the past.

The Atomico Angel Programme in a nutshell

  • Atomico’s Angels are selected on a 12-month rolling programme basis.
  • Angels get USD $100,000 to write early-stage cheques between $10k-50k per deal over a year with autonomy to invest in any founders they choose (so long as it does not violate Atomico’s overall ethical investment principles).
  • Angels get a share of the upside when the founders succeed.
  • Atomico has also allocated some carry per investment to an ‘Angel Pool’, from which all the angels share. In this way, one company’s success benefits all the Atomico Angels as a group, not just the Angel that partnered with that company.

Ada Ventures Scout Programme

London, UK

Ada currently has 90+ scouts, all of whom are involved in an underrepresented community. They help us to access diverse founders and are incentivised through a cash payment and longer-term carry-linked payment.

Why Ada Ventures?

Ada Ventures is a venture capital firm founded by entrepreneurs and a collection of mission-driven investors from around the world. The fund invests in undervalued entrepreneurs and undervalued markets.

Ada Ventures Scout Programme in a nutshell

  • Anyone can apply to be a scout. Ada has currently over 100 scouts in its network.
  • Ada looks for leaders of diverse communities, founders and activists for their programme, in particular, scouts with access to founders outside of London, those within the disabled entrepreneur community, LGBTQ+ founders and Gen Z founders.
  • If Ada invests in a startup recommended by a scout, they receive £5000 or has the opportunity to invest that capital alongside the fund.
  • Scouts also receive 10% of carried interest on the company they sourced (provided the investment returns are over 5x and the fund is paying carry).

Monk’s Hill Ventures

Singapore, SG

Monk’s Hill Ventures (MHV) is a venture capital firm investing in early-stage tech companies, primarily Series A, in Southeast Asia. Backed by institutional investors and family offices worldwide, MHV works with entrepreneurs to use technology to improve the lives of millions of people in the region.

Why MHV Scouts?

The MHV Venture Scouts community brings together exceptional founders, entrepreneurs, and operators with strong track records representing a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences.

MHV in a nutshell

  • Under the programme, over 20 venture scouts will invest in high-growth, pre-seed, and seed-stage firms in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, bringing together notable founders from the region.
  • Venture Scouts directly source and invest in high-growth pre-seed and seed startups across Southeast Asia across industries and make investments in verticals including consumer, B2B, fintech, and sustainability across Southeast Asia.
  • Interested pre-seed or seed startup founders should find a warm referral to get in touch with Venture Scouts.
  • Investment decisions are made solely by the individual Venture Scout after thorough reviewing of pitch decks and vetting startups accordingly.

BACKED VC

London, UK

BACKED VC, a community-driven seed-stage VC fund, based in London. They invest at the seed stage in Europe and the US.

Why BACKED VC?

Backed VC’s Sourcing Community has been deliberately designed to ensure significant representation of community leaders from underrepresented groups. As a result, it’s changing the breakdown of who gets referred into our pipeline (and broadening our perspective in due diligence to help counter bias for good measure).

BACKED VC scouting in a nutshell

  • Scouts are usually community leaders with access to a diverse dealflow, and they are approached by BACKED VC. The current breakdown of the Sourcing Community is published under their FAQs.
  • The programme works on a commission-based model: when the fund invests in a scout’s recommendation, the scout is paid up to £25k. This number is constantly under review based on the market and has changed over time. (source: Sifted)
  • Scouts also have access to BACKED VC’s network and other exclusive perks.

Calm Scouts

Miami, Florida

The Calm Company Fund believes that entrepreneurship is an inherent societal good and a powerful lever for progress and human achievement. Its mission is to maximize the number of successful internet entrepreneurs in the world through capital, mentorship, and community.

Why Calm Scouts?

The Calm Scouts focuses on making the scouting programme an explicit on-ramp to becoming an investor at Calm Company Fund.

Calm Scouts in a nutshell

  • Anyone can apply to become a scout through an application process.
  • Once selected and found potential investees, scouts have to ask the founder to fill out an application on the Calm Company website with their Scout ID code to add to their application.
  • Optionally, scouts can submit an investment memo for the company making the case for why they think the company is a good fit based on Calm Company’s investment thesis summarised in a document, Key Investment Questions.
  • If an investment is made, scouts get to choose either cash compensation or a share of the carry in the investment.

Landscape VC

London, UK

Landscape helps founders better navigate the fundraising ecosystem by increasing fairness, accessibility and transparency in startup funding.

Why Landscape scouting?

Landscape’s OpenScout programme helps scouts monetise their network and allows them to start earning cash & carry for the companies they source and support.

OpenScout in a nutshell

  • Anybody with access to dealflow can become a scout.
  • When the scout comes across an interesting startup, they will be able to invite them by email to fill out a form and go live on an OpenScout profile.
  • Investors who subscribe to the scout’s dealflow will be notified, and are able to request an intro or view the startup’s deck at the click of a button.
  • If an investor, who is subscribing to the scout’s dealflow, ends up making an investment in the company, the scout will earn a success fee randing from £5k to £50k.

This is not investment advice. The content of this article is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute an offer or recommendation to purchase or participate in any investment solutions.

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Yonca Braeckman

Yonca Braeckman

Impact ecosystem builder and misfit champion