Meaningful Business (MB:) How has the fundraising landscape changed over the last year?
Tristan Craddock (TC:) ESG and Impact have been growing in focus for investors for several years, but the interest in these areas has exploded in the last 12 months. A combination of the rapid change in sentiment from individuals and governments around climate change, social movements around diversity and inclusion, and the COVID 19 pandemic highlighting financial outperformance of businesses that are strong in ESG, have all contributed to a flood of investors looking to find impactful businesses in which to invest.
This is an exciting time to be looking for investment if you are an impactful business that has the potential to scale up your positive impact, as well as scaling up your financial growth.
MB: What has been your approach to meeting and investing in entrepreneurs remotely?
TC: In many ways the move to remote working has helped. We have been able to meet more great businesses and entrepreneurs than we could have done previously by removing the need to travel.
Our funds have made six investments since the start of the pandemic, but we have made sure that we have had at least one or two physical meetings with each of the businesses before we completed any investment. We are a people business – we invest to back people. We think an in-person meeting is an important part of properly getting to know someone.
MB: What tips would you give to an entrepreneur when pitching remotely?
TC: Make sure you know how much time you have and leave time for questions. It is likely that whoever you are talking to will be straight onto another call once the time finishes. Simplify and be clear in your messages, remote pitching works less well with complexity. Be human, pitching from your home is an opportunity to connect in a more personal way.
MB: Are there alternative avenues that entrepreneurs can Explore to raise capital right now?
TC: There are more options than ever with more capital coming into private equity and VCs, alongside banks increasingly looking to support ESG and impact strategies. High net worth individuals and family offices are also pivoting their investments into the impact space.
However, whilst there are more options, entrepreneurs will still benefit most by choosing a partner with experience in the impact space and the ability to really support their growth.
MB: What are some of the impact areas you are currently focused on?
TC: Our most recent investments have been in sustainability, healthcare, education and charity fundraising but we remain focussed across the social and environmental impact spectrum.
MB: Will we see a ripple effect of the pandemic on capital raising over the coming years?
TC: The positive dynamics that have brought more capital into the impact space should only grow from here.
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