What is an Impact Venture? 5 game-changers to look out for in the 20’s

March 5, 2020

GIIN (Global Impact Investment Network) calculates the global impact investment market to be worth $502bn based on their comprehensive market report released in 2019. In this blog, we report back on our day running a “Meet the Expert” stand at the Business Funding Show 2020 – more known for high growth than high impact. The variety of ambitious, game-changing businesses that we spoke to shows that there is a new generation of impact entrepreneurs seeking to be both financially successful and impactful.

What is the Business Funding Show?

Established in 2016, the Business Funding Show brings together entrepreneurs, funders and advisors in Canary Wharf for an intense day of expert talks, meet the experts events, pitches and networking. The 5th show held on 20th Feb 2020 was the biggest yet, attracting over 5000 visitors working in the start-up / scale-up (mainly tech) market.

Venturenomix was the first company specifically talk about “funding for impact projects” with explicit messages around “sustainability” and “values-driven innovation” – and the “meet the expert” sessions were busy from 9am to 5pm.

So which impact ventures should I know about?

Here is a short description of some of the great social impact ventures we spoke to, covering Renewable Energy, Smart Cities, Waste Reduction and Inclusion:

1. Lambda Energy – A Material Science university research spin-out developing an advanced coating for solar PV cells that have improved the performance of panels by 5-10%. Lambda Energy have an established research and commercial team – and commercial trials with leading renewable energy asset management companies. The company sees the potential for significant financial success and reducing carbon emissions – in parallel. Aligned with SDGs 7,8,9 & 13.

2. Benetalk – The world’s first wearable speech tracker that supports people that stutter. The technology uses data collected from the micro-wearable device to ‘coach’ wearers to overcome their speech challenges. The wearables sector is set to ship 238million devices in 2023 (report), so Benetalk are parallel tracking growth and impact. Alligned with SDGs 3,4,8 & 10.

3. Consumai – An early stage tech company developing an AI powered solution to waste in the food retail sector. The novel algorithm uses historic and live in-store data to accurately predicts demand and therefore improve the efficiency of food production. The founder sees the company as social impact with the potential to scale – both revenues and environmental impact.

4. Fuuel – Mechanical Engineering startup Fuuel have produced a waste-to-energy machine that uses most types of end-of-life plastics as a feed stock. The resulting energy is therefore reducing landfill and providing low carbon on-site power for manufacturers. The next challenge is to scale and trial the prototype with their secured commercial partner in 2020/21. Revenues from gate fees and energy production on the commercial side will support the reduction of waste and low carbon energy production on the impact side.

5. Ascendal Group – Operating in the cutting-edge Smart Cities sector, Ascendal have developed an advanced data and intelligence platform to change the way was think about transport. The group have completed live trails with city and commercial partners. With the potential improvement of mobility, improved air quality and reduced carbon emissions, this impact venture is ideally placed to succeed.

Is there funding for these businesses then?

We can confidently say that the funders we work with, spanning Grants, CSR, Tenders, Impact Investment, Debt – would be really interested in these impact ventures and others working on a similar basis. We have re-booked for the next Business Funding Show – hope to see you there!

Feedback and Questions

We would welcome any feedback from you and would be happy to answer general questions about this impact ventures blog. Please share this post with other members of your team or with your wider network. If you need any guidance on funding or positioning your impact project, then get in touch!

Here are some related articles and videos:
Find out more about the Business Funding Show
Find out more about Venturenomix