Feel Good Friday: Impact startups are here 🌱🌳🌏
By NATHAN KINCH
This blog is a simple articulation of something I’ve been observing actively for the last few years. It’s an attempt to communicate why, although things can seems pretty dark, I’m hopeful and optimistic.
A little context
I made my first investment in a startup back in 2016. At the time I’d read a lot about the process. But I’d never done it. This was all new.
Fast forward to now and things are different. In late 2018 I made it a distinct objective to invest in 20+ impact focused, early stage startups each year (my first few investments were less tightly focused on this). For the last two years – since setting this ‘goal’ – I’ve actually followed through.
I’ve learned a lot in the process. I’ve refined my thesis through experimentation. I’ve been given access to better deal flow. I’ve connected with awesome people on both sides (founders and investors) of the equation.
I don’t have a huge fund behind me. I invest via Equity Crowdfunding. I invest in early angel rounds. My max for the latter is 10k AUD. My max for the former is about $2,500. Sometimes it’s much less for ECF (depending on different factors). The difference comes down to the stage of access and thus the valuation.
It’s a portfolio approach. I’m not focused on a specific ‘vertical’. I’m focused on socially preferable outcomes and the types of organisations that might be able to help us make positive progress.
If you wanna talk specifics, let me know.
With the context covered, let’s move onto the focus of the post.
I've witnessed a really meaningful change
Here’s the thing, the number of startups that are social enterprises, certified B-Corps, or explicitly committed to a purpose (other than money making) has overwhelmed me. I don’t think this was the case 4 years ago. I ‘get’ my mind might be playing tricks on me (I’m looking for it, therefore I find it). But hear me out.
Something has changed. It’s not just ‘cool’ to do this. From the conversations I keep having with founders, I believe they see a new type of business as an incredible force for good. They want to design for change. Their startup is the vehicle that will help them navigate the windy road, pit stops, pot holes and everything else that gets in the way. It’s designed to get them to that better destination.
That’s why I feel good this Friday.
There’s so much momentum around us. There are more ethical alternatives than ever before. Yes we’re early. The whole system ain’t gonna change over night.
But, with millions (or more) tiny steps, I believe we will look back a few years down the track and genuinely surprise ourselves with how far we’ve come.
Enough from me. What do you think? Am I just confirming my biases or is something really happening? Is there actually a proliferation of impact focused startups hitting the market?
Oh, and if you’re interested in this type of stuff, check out Ethical.net. It’s a super resource for alternatives to common stuff we rely upon daily.
As always, with much ❤️