It is clear that there is a huge and growing appetite among consumers to switch to products and services that address some of the biggest issues of our time, be it climate change or societal issues. So we’ve seen the rise of ethical investing apps, or ways to reduce our carbon footprint, or to buy more ethically. it follows that VC should find funds to invest in these consumption spaces.
This has been the goal of UK-based Eka Ventures since they started investing in April 2020, ahead of today’s announcement of the fund’s closing.
It has now reached the final close of its $ 95million (£ 68million) fund and now claims to be the ‘largest UK-focused impact-driven start-up venture capital fund’ , although TechCrunch could not verify this claim.
Investors in the fund include British Business Bank, BSC, Isomer, Guys and St Thomas Foundation, Planet First Partners, Draper Esprit, Snowball and others. It is also supported, he says, by 24 entrepreneurs, 12 of whom are founders that Eka’s partners have already supported either at fund level or at individual level.
Eka’s goal will be to invest in consumer technology companies focused on sustainable consumption, consumer health and the “inclusive economy”. The fund will focus on the UK between £ 500,000 and £ 3million per trade.
Founders Jon Coker, Camilla Dolan and Andrew Richardson have previous corporate experience where they were involved in venture capital transactions for Gousto, Bloom & Wild, Peak and Elder. Coker was previously at VC MMC Ventures, focused on London.
Jon Coker, General Partner of Eka told me: “We only invest in companies where we see a clear impact directly related to the product or service they sell. As they grow, the impact grows with the business. We will not invest in companies where we do not see this. We have told all of our investors that we will only invest in companies where it is offered. We assess the companies we are looking for Founder Alignment, to understand how the founders plan to build their business and the impact that is provided by the products and services. Once we’ve gone through this alignment and evaluation process, we then measure that impact over time. We will also co-invest with investors who do not have a specific impact on their fund.
I asked him how they expected to measure the impact of their investments: “We use a framework called the Impact Management Project Framework which tries to create an industry standard around measuring the impact. business impact. It looks at different dimensions to identify the specific impact that the business in which you invest is creating. When you support start-ups, you can measure the current impact of their product, but you also want to measure progress against projects that will have a future impact. We have a number of impact focused LPs in the fund that have done a lot of work with us to help us think about this framework.
Camilla Dolan, Eka GP, said: “One of our first investments was Urban Jungle insurance. This is an example where we believe it is inclusive because they saw a great opportunity to try and serve the segment that has historically been underserved. They do this by underwriting using behavioral characteristics rather than demographic characteristics, as the incumbent industry does. That excludes a lot of customers. They are now launching a product specific to social housing because they had so many testimonials from social housing.
She added: “When it comes to working with companies, we are clear in our desire for scale, and we will do everything in our power to help the founders we work with achieve their ambitious goals. . We’re looking for entrepreneurs who set the bar high for impact-driven innovation and who focus on fundamental change or creating a category, in the same way that Tesla single-handedly propelled the automotive industry. electric vehicles. We created Eka to support companies with this level of ambition.
Timo Boldt, founder of Gousto, said: “Jon and Camilla are two of the best investors a founder could hope for. They supported Gousto with our Series A in 2013 and have been cheerleaders ever since. Their new company, Eka, is closely aligned with our own philosophy due to their focus on sustainability. Like them, we believe in the power of people to drive change. “
Ken Cooper, Managing Director of Venture Solutions, British Business Bank, said: “The Bank’s Venture Capital Fund program is a key tool in helping to develop and maintain an effective venture capital offering in the UK. , lowering barriers to entry for emerging fund managers and for those targeting the underserved areas of the market. Our engagement [of £36m] at Eka Ventures, will enable them to support new growing sustainable consumer technology companies in the UK.