What kind of companies are you most likely to invest in?
Our investment philosophy is to back businesses with four values that we call the ‘4 Is’: Investible, Innovative, Impactful and Inclusive.
We focus on technology-driven, early-stage startups that tackle social and environmental problems in four categories: sustainable cities and communities; climate change and clean energy; high-quality education; and inclusive welfare, employment and economic growth.
What do you look for in a management team?
Tenacity and resilience, especially for early-stage startups.
Building a business is a process, not an event. It is full of mundane tasks and operations which are essential to growth.
Tenacity helps the team maintain the business mission. Resilience helps the team maintain velocity, by recovering from difficulties.
Startup experience – working in small teams, and building from the ground up – is an important value-add.
We also support entrepreneurs who have a strong focus on growing themselves and their colleagues. A strong team shares common values and tries to live by them, both in business surroundings and their personal lives.
What level of financial information is essential in a pitch deck?
There are differences between a concept pitch and a data pitch.
For many early-stage startups, the concept pitch will have bold goals yet oftentimes the logic and assumptions are weak. That’s understandable, but teams need to understand that financial information indicates how they view and define the market.
Target numbers should be audacious but the journey should be reasonable and feasible when conditions are met.
The data pitch should include financial forecasting, backed with clear data. The ability to provide evidence for financial forecasts shows how comfortable a team is with numbers, and whether they have the capability to scale.
What criteria do you use to assess impact and sustainability?
We use UN SDGs for goals, IMP for an impact measurement framework, and IRIS+ for impact indicators. These are common tools.
It is important to invest in businesses that have a well-defined impact. However, managing impact can be difficult for startups so we try to help.
In the screening process, we assess impact in three categories: financial; employment; and social and environmental. We also ask the teams to provide their own assessments for each category.
Once we make an investment, we monitor this impact on a yearly basis.
Where do most applications and pitch decks fall down?
We try to be open minded and not turn down applications that don’t have the information we are looking for. However, it’s difficult to review pitch decks that do not have a clear business model explaining how the business creates value.
It is critical to be clear about the value the business creates in the market, and how it differs from existing solutions.
When constituting a pitch deck, especially for a presentation, try keeping the main deck to a minimum and include the rest in the appendix.
This will increase confidence by having back-ups to predicted questions while making a better delivery of the business core.
If you could say one thing to every startup, what would it be?
Set clear missions and goals, focus on the team’s growth, and have the heart for the world.
Our mission is: ‘Awaken Your Potential To Impact The World’. We believe all entrepreneurs have the potential to do something great for the world, and we are there to support them.