Ethical investment platform SeedTribe has relaunched as a new UK-focused impact hub. The platform connects startups with individuals, corporates and governments interested in helping profit-with-purpose businesses. SeedTribe’s new remit includes mentoring, networking and recruitment, as well as investment.
SeedTribe uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”) as its impact framework with all businesses on the platform at Stage 1, raising up to £1M and driving revenue. Businesses that appear on the platform are heavily vetted so only the most inspiring are selected. Businesses are featured free of charge, but have the option to buy “add-ons”. These include helping with their fundraise, advertising a job to the network or showcasing an event.
New content includes spotlight interviews with founders, advice and guidance for startups who need support. There are also events, opportunities and a free match-up service enabling individuals to connect with businesses. Following extensive research and discussions with the network SeedTribe has identified five key areas of focus. These are:
1. Mentors/Advisors 2. Corporates giving financial or in-kind support in line with their values and fields of expertise 3. Recruitment opportunities 4. Interesting events they can attend 5. Investment or other types of funding
Businesses winning investment and support
Businesses on the SeedTribe platform winning investment and support include: Teysha Technologies, a natural polycarbonate platform creating fully biodegradable substitutes for plastics and PinPoint who use data science to detect the early signs of cancer.
The site is powered by Angel Investment Network – the world’s largest online angel investment platform, with a global network of more than 1 million entrepreneurs and 200,000 investors.
Olivia Sibony is the CEO of SeedTribe and she was recently named one of the UK’s Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs for her work on SeedTribe.
She said: “Our entire ethos is using business as a force for good, meaning profit and purpose need to be interlinked. Over the past 18 months I have been approached by so many people who believe in our mission and want to help in ways beyond simply funding.”
She continued: “Our community is dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s most intractable problems, helping impact-driven entrepreneurs meet the people and institutions who can teach, support and fund their ventures. We believe in the power of collaboration and together we can empower business to be used as a force for good and transform our world.
Olivia is urging anyone keen to help SeedTribe’s mission to reach out. Please visit seedtribe.com for more information.
We gained a great deal of interest for the successful SEIS raise in Q1 2019 and hope this momentum carries on with the many global angels on the AIN platform. The low-cost non-stop aspect really resonated with a lot of investors from South Asia. They make these journeys frequently themselves and could really relate to this product.
The airline focuses on point-to-point direct flights from the UK to secondary cities in several South Asian countries, starting with India. The list of affordable non-stop flights will be between the UK (initially London Stansted) and the Indian cities of Amritsar (Punjab) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat).
The experienced founding team, with backgrounds including Ryanair, Team Lotus F1, British Airways, Emirates, JP Morgan and UBS, have stated that flypop will be able to pass cost savings back to consumers via lower airport charges to tier 2 airports and its unique ‘wet’ lease start-up agreements.
There are ambitions to expand further from North America & Europe to South Asia via the UK and the business is now looking to raise £4m in its next EIS funding round. The team at flypop also intend to make the airline carbon neutral, offsetting each passenger that flies with the planting of a tree in a forest in the UK or South Asia.
Airlines still have an exciting allure to them and it was hugely exciting for our investors to invest in an SEIS round for one.
Ed Stephens, Head of Investor Relations at Angel Investment Network:
Good luck to Nino and the team! We will be following their progress with interest.
£7bn was invested into private UK companies in 2018, down 19% from record levels in 2017 but still significantly higher than any year before 2017, according to Beauhurst. Could this be the beginning of a decline? These are dark and uncertain times; and even those ‘presiding’ over Britain’s exit from the European Union are unable to agree on what the first order effects of this momentous action might be.
Angel investors have far greater flexibility than any other investor type when it comes to adjusting their investment preferences. In times of macroeconomic uncertainty, they can easily defer activity until they have a clearer idea of the road ahead.
The warning signals, then, are there on a wider level. But on the Angel Investment Network platform, 2018 was a strong year with both UK investor and entrepreneur numbers rising to over 30,000 and 115,000 respectively. We now have over 1 million users globally. Our own analysis of the user activity on the site reveals some interesting insights into the angel investment landscape. And perhaps a light for the path forward.
Threadbare Fashion Sector
The High Street has had a tough time in the past year, with high profile fashion brands in trouble including House of Fraser and LK Bennett. According to user data on our site, investor willingness to back startup fashion brands has dipped dramatically with ‘fashion’ as a sector falling from the 6th to the 14th most popular sector in 2018, the largest slide of any category.
performances of high street mainstays may have played some role in this, but
more likely it is strong performances from other sectors that have contributed
most tellingly to this dip in popularity. Judging from the performances of
software, technology and the so-called ‘impact’ sector, it seems that fashion
brands looking to raise investment will need to embrace technology and/or
ethical mission statements as part of their proposition to regain investor
It will come as no surprise that the technology and software categories grew impressively and retained top spot for both investor interest and number of pitches looking for funding. The rise of AI and machine learning with applications across so many industries has meant that many new startups have some form of digital technology at the core of their value proposition. The prevalence of industry jargon terms like ‘agrotech’, ‘insurtech’ and ‘fintech’ speak to this intersection between specific industries and the super-industry that software and technology is fast becoming.
Fintech in the UK is a great example. London has developed a well-deserved reputation as a Fintech hub over the past couple of years, thanks, in part, to the growth of companies like Monzo, Starling Bank, Revolut, and payment-linked-loyalty provider, Bink.
Their success has inspired a surge of exciting innovation in the space with some very promising startups coming onto the scene including: Coconut – a current account with inbuilt accounting; and Novastone – ‘WhatsApp’ for the finance sector. Both of whom completed funding rounds through Angel Investment Network in 2018, taking their total funding to £1.9M and £5.6M respectively.
expect the fintech space to go from strength to strength in 2019 and beyond,
and it may offer some hope for carrying the UK startup scene on its shoulders
if the going gets tough.
The rise of impact investment
Another area starting to show promise is ‘impact investment’. Investor activity on the website mirrored growing societal interest in ‘impact’ or ‘profit-with-purpose’ – the notion that businesses should have some societal and/or environmental good at the core of their mission while still working for growth and profit, allowing investors to invest in line with their conscience without risking their chance of generating returns.
searches for impact-related terms were up an average of 24.9% from 2017. The
fastest growing sector was ’renewables’ which climbed from 40th to
32nd (a 25.4% increase in number of searches,‘greentech’
showed a 25.7% increase while ‘environmental’ had a 23.5% increase.
Some of the companies who benefitted from, or perhaps helped create, this growth in interest include: Verv – an AI home energy assistant – and Demizine – an end-to-end home water recycling system using technology originally engineered for space stations. In both cases, it is interesting to note the core role that cutting-edge software and technology plays in their value proposition.
Off the back of this, we recently launched a spin-off platform, Seedtribe, with the mission of building a community of impact entrepreneurs and investors. We are especially interested in the role technology can play for impact companies in bringing about positive change in the world, while generating returns for investors.
Equity property investments remain popular
final point, I should mention the property investment category which performed
strongly on the site for the third year running. For context, our site was
built to connect startup companies with angel investors, but from quite early
on, property development companies would ignore our pitch framework (designed
for startups) and submit their equity property deals on the platform. The
appetite for their type of deal (25-35% returns per year over an 18-24 month
period) was apparently strong among our investor community – perhaps as a less
risky avenue for diversifying their portfolio. This remained the case in 2018
and we expect this to continue even with the current volatility in the property
Overall, investor and entrepreneur activity on our site has outperformed the sector at large. But in these uncertain times, we recognise that our efforts to support the early-stage investment community will have to go even further in 2019 and beyond.
Whatever the political climate, UK entrepreneurs will continue to bring out innovative solutions embedded in technology across a variety of industries in 2019. The Internet of Things, robotics and AI systems including software for autonomous vehicles are creating real excitement amongst our investor community, and rightly so. It is up to these investors to continue supporting the industry with capital, expertise and contact; and to light a way in these murky times.
Originally written by Oliver Jones, Head of Marketing at Angel Investment Network, for The Haggerston Times