Impact Investing Interview #1: Work For Good

What is Impact Investing?

Impact investing is when an investor backs a business which has a social and/or environmental mission at its core.

This is not the same as philanthropy where investors expect no returns on their investment other than the reputation boost; and an impactful business is not the same as a non-profit.

Impact investments are made, with financial returns in mind, into businesses targetting profitability alongside their social mission.

An impact investor is, therefore, someone who chooses to support great businesses aiming to do good and make money, rather than just turn a profit.

The decision to be an impact investor is an empowered choice which has already enabled many world-changing businesses to do great things. The rise in awareness of the key social and environmental issues of our time has started a shift in the way many investors view the desired outcome of their investments. More and more want their financial outlay to have an impact as well as generate returns.

What are we doing to help this movement?

Angel Investment Network recently launched Seedtribe to attract more of its investors into the impact investment space.

Seedtribe is an angel-led, crowdfunding platform when everyday investors can invest from as little as £1000 into opportunities backed by angel investors and curated by the Seedtribe team. Investments can be made directly through the platform so the process is as seamless as possible.

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We are confident that this new model will help impact businesses complete their funding rounds quickly so that they can focus on bringing their benefit to the world.

We are delighted to have Work For Good as one of the first impactful businesses on the Seedtribe platform.

Who are Work For Good?

UK annual charity income is around £20bn, but only 2% of this comes from businesses, as the process is complex, costly and lacks transparency with many legal and tax impediments. Work For Good’s platform removes these barriers and has created a market for corporate giving.

Work for Good makes it easy for businesses to give in a way that’s good for them and charities – by doing what they already do. By giving through the Work For Good platform, they can impress their clients, inspire their people, and be a force for good in the world.

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Liv Sibony recently took charge as the Head of Crowdfunding at Seedtribe and brought Work For Good onto the platform. (Liv previously founded and sold Grub Club, a platform aimed at helping chefs build a reputation and an income by hosting pop up dining experiences.)

She sat down with Danny Witter, CEO & Co-Founder of Work For Good, to get some insight into the problem of corporate giving and the Work For Good solution…

The Interview

What’s your vision for the company?

To make business giving the norm and to unleash the giving power of the business world. Business giving makes up only 2% of all charity income in the UK which is a disgraceful figure. We can not rely on the giants of the business world to do it for us, The FTSE 100 charitable donations are down 25% from 2013 to just £1.2 billion in 2016, so why not create a culture where the other 5.7 million businesses support causes just by doing the work they already do? If 5% of SMEs gave one day’s revenue, it would generate £208 million annually.

It also improves the bottom line for businesses (68% of SMEs believe their company’s donations to charity had a positive effect on their company’s profitability and 37% of SMEs claim that giving to charity helps to attract new clients) and improves employee morale while raising vital funds for charities.

For charities, especially the smaller, local ones who have less capacity to market themselves and seek donations, we will create greater visibility and support for them to grow their efforts and allow businesses to match with charities that are local or relevant to them.

We don’t think this vision should be limited to the UK either, we strive to see people working for good across the globe, and are delighted that we’ve now received trademark protection across the US and EU.

Can you tell us more about the meta-trend of purpose in business, as you see it?

Investing in good causes grows your business too. In fact, many companies are using it as a major part of their business strategy – TOMS’ ‘One for One’, Warby Parker’s ‘Buy a Pair, Give a Pair’, and Bombas socks ‘One pair purchased = One pair donated’ are just a few using ‘giving back’ as part of their marketing strategy. Cause-related marketing is not just a fad, it’s the response to consumers buying with their own values and in mind.

Consumers increasingly care about where their products come from and how businesses behave, and we see lots of marketing around sustainability and responsibility, and now, giving. The trend is deepening fast, and when in January Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, published a letter saying that firms that lack a social purpose “will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders” it marked a watershed moment in the importance of authentic corporate responsibility. This applies from global behemoths to sole traders, and Work for Good is particularly focussed on SMEs that have less resource to do so.

For all the personal graft no business was ever built by the founders alone. Just as it takes a village to raise a child it takes a community of stakeholders to build a business. Without loyal customers, reliable suppliers, supportive investors, engaged communities and dedicated employees you have no business. Today, these constituencies want more from the companies they interact with. They are as interested in the story behind the business, the purpose the drives it and the positive values that underpin it. It is no coincidence that B Corp businesses, exemplars of the purpose-led commercialism, have been shown to grow 28 times faster than the UK economy. The giving mechanisms on our platform can also allow for a company’s clients/customers to choose the charities to which they donate. It gets everyone involved and motivated.

Why is it currently so difficult for businesses to give to charities?

The mechanisms currently in place just do not create a marketplace for business and charities to find each other and make transactions. It’s not just as simple as seeing a charity you would like to support, and then donating. Charities often do not even have a payment portal on their sites. The days of writing a cheque are long gone. Charities also find it hard to cut through the noise to create relationships with relevant businesses who may be interested in supporting them.

Work for Good is encouraging businesses to give in a smart way that is good for business, specifically by linking donations visibly to what they do, and talk about it with pride and authenticity in a way that will engage all their stakeholders, and inspire other businesses to follow suit.

However if you link donations to sales and talk about it you get caught by the charities acts, which prescribe that you have to bilaterally negotiate a commercial participation agreement with every charity you might give to, and the charities have risk of paying VAT on those donations.

As such it is painful to implement, and many charities have minimum annual donation requirement of up to £100,000 a year before they’ll negotiate a CPA with a business, which excludes virtually all SMEs.

Work for Good has solved this, the combination of the terms a business signs with the platform and the terms signed by any charity jointly form the CPA, allowing businesses to give to as many charities as they like in a few clicks, in any size, and without having to engage the charities direct, with both parties being entirely compliant. There is also no VAT payable by the charity.

What does “Impact” mean to you as a profit-driven company?

It’s a way to merge the profit-generation that people already strive for with the purpose of producing a specific benefit to society. We want to maximise that impact potential for businesses.

For us, the amount of money going to charities via our platform is the metric we concentrate on most. We believe that good business should have a positive impact on society. Our mission is to create a culture of business giving and therefore an increase in the amount of donations charities receive from SMEs. We also believe that giving has a positive impact on a business’ bottom line – two-thirds of businesses we surveyed reported higher profits when they incorporated giving into their business strategy.

Interested in Impact Investment?

If you want to find out more about Work For Good and their current fundraising round, visit their pitch page on Seedtribe.

Do you anyone who might consider using Work For Good for their business?

Do you know anyone interested in impact investing?

Please consider sharing. You’ll be doing good!

The Top US 10 Cities Of The Year For Private Tech Acquisitions

PrivCo has released its 2014 Private Tech Company M&A Research Report.  The report included a Top 10 Ranking for private tech acquisitions, with Silicon Valley ranking as the #1 metro area with 281 private tech company acquisitions in 2013. Ranked just behind it were New York (Ranked #2) & San Diego (Ranked #3). Interestingly, up-and-coming tech hubs like Chicago, Austin, and Atlanta are challenging traditional leaders like Boston, which fell to the ninth spot on this years report, despite being Ranked #3 in last year’s Top 10 U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A.

 

Distribution of Venture Capital Deals in the US by Industry, Q1 2014

In the first quarter of 2014, software companies also received three times the number of deals of the next closest industry category, Media & Entertainment. 46% or 126 software deals were completed in Q1, compared to 40 in Media & Entertainment. Biotechnology companies were third with 8% or 22 deals. The following graphic provides a comparison of deals by industry for Q1, 2014.

Google Ventures has been the most active corporate VC since 2012

Here is the list of the top 25 most active corporate VCs since the start of 2012:

Interestingly the top 10 most active investors participated in more than 40% of the VC deals during this period. Google Ventures and Intel Capital combined to participate in more than 1/5 of all corporate venture capital deals, which is pretty staggering.

Infographic – New SEC Rules on General Solicitation

The SEC has lifted the ban on General Solicitation and permits startups, private companies, venture capitalists, and hedge funds to openly advertise that they’re raising money in private offerings.

Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Funding Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the recent seed-stage and angel deals from around the world: 

  • Liquor.com, a site featuring award-winning articles, hand-selected cocktail recipes & bar guides, bags $3.1M Series B funding
  • AcuityAds, which uses real-time bidding for advertisers to bid on ad time just before a consumer loads a webpage, raises $3M funding
  • Chairish, an online marketplace to buy and sell pre-owned furniture, has raised a $3.2 million seed round
  • Kissmetrics, a web analytics startup that helps small e-commerce companies make data-driven decisions, has raised $7M funding
  • Nifti, a new shopping service that helps you keep track of when items you want to buy go on sale, has raised $800,000 seed funding
  • RedMart, an online grocery service in Singapore, has secured nearly $3.5M Series A funding to grow the business
  • Swell, a new mobile listening experience for news & information that learns what you like as you listen, raises $5.4M Series A funding
  • TB Biosciences, which is developing a point-of-care test for the detection of tuberculosis, has closed $1.5 million Series A financing
  • Maker’s Row, the marketplace that connects American manufacturers with businesses, has raised $1M seed funding led by Comcast and Index
  • Viableware, which designs software & hardware products intended to replace traditional bills in restaurants, lands $6.5M Series B funding
  • KartRocket.com, a do-it-yourself (DIY) e-commerce platform for Indian SMEs and retailers, has raised seed funding
  • Riskive, a stealth-mode cyber security technology start-up, has secured $2.2M in seed funding
  • Panjo, a marketplace for the world’s most ardent auto, sport, and hobby enthusiasts, has raised $1.6M seed funding
  • NatureBox, the leading online service for healthy snack food, has secured $8.5M Series A funding led by General Catalyst Partners
  • LiveMinutes, an online collaboration service you can use for meetings and web conferencing, has closed a $1.4 million seed round
  • Geepers, whose vision is to create the primary geo-physical address protocol in the digital world, has secured angel funding
  • SnapLion.com, a platform which enables users to develop mobile applications, has raised funding from venture funds and angels
  • Crowdly, an online platform that helps big brands promote themselves on Facebook, has raised $1.2M seed funding
  • Hall, which provides a cross-platform, cross-device messaging service to businesses, has closed $5.5 million Series A funding
  • TheShoppingPro, an internet-based startup aiming to make the online shoppers’ life easy and rewarding, has raised Rs 22 lakh angel funding
  • Addvocate, a service that helps companies put some operations management behind its social media efforts, has closed $2M Series A funding

To get regular updates, come follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/angel__network or register for our blog at http://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.net/wp-login.php?action=register.

Have you managed to raise capital for your company?  We always love to hear from entrepreneurs who manage to get funded.

Or are you looking to raise funding?  Send me a summary of your project at mike@angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk and we’ll try to help.

 

Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Funding Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the recent seed-stage and angel deals from around the world: 

  • Vaultize, a cloud-based enterprise file sharing and sync (EFSS) and mobility vendor, has raised Series A funding from Tata Capital
  • Yellloh, a web-based platform dedicated to elevating the level and quality of online discussions, has closed seed funding
  • SoThree, the developers of Umano, the app that’s revolutionizing the way you listen to articles on the go, has raised ~$1M seed funding
  • SnoopWall, a patent-pending antispyware program that blocks remote eavesdropping, has secured funding from the Angel Breakfast Club
  • TouchOfModern, the online source for high-quality, innovative design products from around the world, has raised $3M Series A funding
  • Instacart, which offers grocery delivery services from multiple local stores within an hour, has raised $8.5M Series A funding
  • MarkITx, the premier online marketplace for buyers, sellers and wholesalers of secondary IT equipment, secures $2.15M seed funding
  • TrustRadius, an online platform for user-generated reviews of business software, has raised $5 million Series A funding
  • Codeanywhere, an online code editor pitched as ‘a Google Docs equivalent for developers’, has raised a $600,000 Series A investment
  • Privy, a customer acquisition and retention solution for multi-unit local businesses, lands $1.7M seed funding
  • Opbeat, a collaborative web operations platform you can set up in minutes, has raised a $2.7M Series A round led by Balderton Capital
  • Parenting information and e-commerce firm wauwaa.com, has closed €220,000 seed funding from angel investors
  • Mark43, whose software lets police officers spend less time doing paper work and more time in the field, has raised $1.95M seed funding
  • TalentBin, the “talent search engine” that turbo-charges talent discovery across the web, has announced $2 million Series A funding
  • Waygo, an app that instantly translates Chinese characters into English by hovering a smartphone camera over it, gets $900K seed funding
  • Soma, a charitable water filter maker, has closed $3.7M4 seed funding led by Baseline Ventures and Forerunner Ventures
  • EyeEm, a community and marketplace for high quality mobile photography, has raised $6 million in ventrue capital funding
  • Proven, the leading on-the-go employment app, has announced the closing of $1 million in additional funding

To get regular updates, come follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/angel__network or register for our blog at http://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.net/wp-login.php?action=register.

Have you managed to raise capital for your company?  We always love to hear from entrepreneurs who manage to get funded.

Or are you looking to raise funding?  Send me a summary of your project at mike@angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk and we’ll try to help.

 

The Top 20 Cities for Venture Capital Activity in the US

Here are the 20 the most capital-dense start-up communities in the US, according to research by Richard Florida, Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities

Which of these are you most surprised to see in the list?

Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Twitter Roundup

Angel Investment News:

  • Global venture capital financing hit $US10.4 billion in the second quarter of 2013: http://ow.ly/mKhZI
  • Mena investments up $200m in 2012 according to the Mena Private Equity Association’s annual report: http://ow.ly/mKkxi Infographic – €5.1 billion market shows European angels on the rise! http://ow.ly/mKCln
  • China’s venture capital market warms: http://ow.ly/mMHf2
  • ‘Super Angels’ in UK having growing influence in investment market: http://ow.ly/mSMzB
  • US Venture Capital Investment Amounts Doubled In Q2. Bay Area Companies Raised More Than NY, LA & Boston Combined: http://ow.ly/mTEDO
  • Renaissance Venture Capital Attracted Nearly $300 Million In 20 Michigan Companies: http://ow.ly/mTCNp

Business Plans & Pitching:

Fund Raising:

  • Tech guru and author Guy Kawasaki provides a top 10 list of the lies that entrepreneurs tell: http://ow.ly/mKicM
  • 5 Things to Avoid When Raising Mo2ney for Your Startup: http://ow.ly/mMHyj
  • The SEC’s Removal of General Solicitation Changes Everything: http://ow.ly/mRpwS

Marketing & Social Media:

Start-Up & Entrepreneurship:

To stay updated, come follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/angel__network or register for our blog at http://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.net/wp-login.php?action=register.

Read anything interesting? Feel free to add links to any articles or resources you’d like to share with the angel community.

Or are you looking to raise funding?  Send me a summary of your project at mike@angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk and we’ll try to help.

Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Funding Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the recent seed-stage and angel deals from around the world:

  • Combat Gent, a fine menswear etailer that equips men with everything they need to get the job done, has closed $1.84M seed funding
  • NuMedii, the startup looking to convert pages of drug safety data into faster drug-development times, grabs $3.5M Series A funding
  • Ludei, a development platform that helps developers to deliver and monetize HTML5 apps, has received $1.5 million funding
  • Lifecom, a market leader in clinical decision support solutions, has completed a Series A Financing round of over $1 million
  • Inadco, a leader in native digital advertising, has raised an $11 million Series B round led by U.S. Venture Partners
  • Playblazer, which offers a cloud-based SaaS platform for social and multi-player game developers and studios, has secured angel funding
  • PokitDok, a price transparent health and wellness marketplace where consumers shop directly from providers, raised $4MJ Series A funding
  • WhatsNexx, a leading edge provider of cross-channel marketing automation software, lands $2.33M venture capital financing
  • Chupamobile, the leading marketplace for buying and selling App Source Code, has raised new funding from US & European angel investors
  • my6sense, which provides mobile content discovery solutions for consumers, has raised $2 million angel funding
  • Taiwan-based web and mobile game publisher Pubgame has raised a Series A round led by The CID Group and appWorks Ventures
  • Outbox, which digitizes your postal mail then puts it online for access via web, iPhone, Android or iPad, raises $5M Series A funding
  • Ad tech startup Yieldbot, which helps connect publishers and advertisers to better target their display ads, attracts $5M Series A funding
  • rollApp, whose platform enables Windows and Linux apps to run on any device with a web browser, gets $1M Series A funding
  • Cubresa, a medical imaging company building the world’s only hand-held, MR-safe gamma camera, has closed $500,000 angel funding
  • Karnataka-based mobile app developer Robosoft Technologies has secured its first institutional round of funding from Kalaari Capital
  • Pixate, whose mission is to reduce the complexity of creating apps, has closed $3.8M Series A funding from Accel Partners
  • FIGS, a startup offering up fashionable medical scrubs, has raised $2M seed funding
  • Mingyian, a platform that connects Western celebrities to their fans in China, has raised $500,000 seed funding
  • SigFig, a web platform for tracking and analyzing your personal financial investments, has secured $15 million Series B funding
  • Artsly, a video platform providing short lessons in makeup, music, photography, food, painting & crafts, lands $175,000 from Kima Ventures
  • Cashback and coupon website Cashkaro has raised $750,000 seed funding from a group of UK based angel investors
  • ClusterFlunk, a virtual meeting place for college students to collaborate on assignments & prepare for exams, closes $100,000 seed funding
  • Snyppit, an app that allows you to share video moments of your life with friends and family, gets $521,000 seed funding
  • CL3VER, the first professional HTML5 web platform to create engaging 3D for web & mobile (without plugins), lands $800,000 seed funding
  • Engrade, an edtech startup that integrates people, tools, data & curriculum on one user-friendly platform, raises $5M Series B funding
  • Quartzy, an online suite of lab management tools for the academic life science community, has closed $4 million Series A financing

To get regular updates, come follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/angel__network or register for our blog at http://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.net/wp-login.php?action=register.

Have you managed to raise capital for your company?  We always love to hear from entrepreneurs who manage to get funded.

Or are you looking to raise funding?  Send me a summary of your project at mike@angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk and we’ll try to help.