Redstone and EnjoyVenture have combined forces to create Human Impact Capital (HIC), Germany’s first dedicated scial impact VC fund. The fund will deploy cash into digital business models focusing on health, education and "living," and explicitly invests to have an impact along sustainable development goals. To HIC, this means "No Poverty, Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality and Reduced Inequalities."
I spoke with the fund's manager, Lucas Paul, to find out what drove the creation of the fund and its investment thesis.
"We are convinced that innovation is key to overcoming the biggest social challenges of our time, and we are dedicated to contributing to a better future and supporting innovation through investments in social impact startups," said Paul in an interview with TechCrunch. "Entrepreneurs providing solutions to these social problems will advance our society and lay the foundation for the generations to come. While impact VC investments are on the rise, 75% of those flow into environmental topics."
For the initial closing, the fund decided to partner with strategic anchor investors having strong ties to the social sector. Among others, the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft, Germany’s leading bank for the social sector, committed substantially to HIC, fund reps told me.
The fund aims to invest in digital business models that tackle society’s biggest challenges, typically investing between €500,000 and €1.5 million. The firm focuses on early-stage startups in Europe, and reserves more than 60% of its commitments to follow-on investments.
"We firmly believe that economic profit and positive impact mutually reinforce each other and will accelerate at scale. We’d like to prove this fundamental belief and show that we’re able to generate above-average returns for our investors while maximizing the social impact of our investments," Paul said. "Ideally, this concept is proven and widely accepted 10 years from now, which would make the world a better place."
One of the areas where the firm believes it can have an impact, and where it is actively seeking to invest, is in technologies that make aging smoother.
"One element that is a common characteristic of all Western society is an aging population. Access to this growing target group is crucial today and will become even more important in the future. The challenge needs to be faced now. We currently do not see a lot of models that have solved the problem of accessing this group and of including them in an ever-changing jungle of digital solutions," said Paul. "Most digital startups simply ignore people older than 50 within their target group and are missing out on enormous revenue potential while the quality of life of the elderly stagnates. We’d like to see more ambitious founding teams working on solutions for the elderly to ensure health care, to protect the aging population while limiting loneliness."