1-Year Challenge. Monthly Updates

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

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UPD: Funding Advisory Services (600+ funding opportunities for impact startups)

This is the first monthly update within my 1-year challenge.

Part 2 “Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs” can be found here.

As my vanity and actionable metrics show (two most popular blog posts: Learning and Funding opportunities for women impactpreneurs) a high interest in funding opportunities and funding advisory services, it feels natural to start with impact founders&funders dilemma.

actionable metrics

The following organizations set ambitious objectives to ‘’connect sustainable entrepreneurs with impact investors’’, ‘’bring connections between investors and companies to life’’, and be ‘’a marketplace for emerging companies‘’:

Imfino: a global online platform that aims to connect impact investors with impact investment opportunities (entrepreneurs) meeting their investment requirements. (things to note: no investors&ventures listed)

Impact Investing Network Map: Network Map, demonstrating the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within Impact Investing. (things to note: no investors&ventures listed)

KapVista: impact startups&funds listings (things to note: 4 funds&32 ventures listed)

It’s not evident what exactly is being beta-tested as there are no investors and startups listed on two out of three platforms and only four funds and 32 ventures listed on KapVista’s website.

Let’s now have a look at the fully operational online platforms and tools connecting impact investors with impact ventures:

ImpactSpace: an open data platform powering the global impact marketplace. (things to note: outdated information, some links do not work)

Dealroom: Impact & Innovation database – mapping impact startups and investment around the world. (possibility to sign up with business emails only)

Impact Investor Landscape: mapping the ecosystem for collaboration, transparency, and the impact. (things to note: misleading information on the sectors for some of the investors, some of the listed organisations are not impact investors, some links do not work)

Impact Finance: a review of 150 impact investing platforms, networks, and organizations that promote, support, or convene investors in the impact finance area. (things to note: some of the listed organisations are not impact investors, outdated information, some links do not work)

Global Innovation Exchange: a list of foundations and funding initiatives providing funding for social entrepreneurs. (things to note: most of the listed organizations only provide funding to nonprofits or international development projects, outdated information on some of the organizations, oil&gaz companies are on the list)

Social Sector Network: knowledge repository (things to note: 28 impact investors listed, some links do not work).

Abaca: helping more impact-driven founders connect with investors and other supporters who can help them scale. (things to note: no investors or entrepreneurs listed on the website)

Zebras Unite: a community of entrepreneurs, investors, and allies dedicated to building companies that balance both profit and purpose. (things to note: no investors and companies listed on the website)

Founders for Change: Diverse Investors List, a resource for founders and the tech community to more easily find VC investors from diverse backgrounds. (things to note: some links do not work as Crunchbase has outdated information on many funders)

Refugee Investment Network: connecting investors and refugee ventures for an inclusive future. (things to note: not a user-friendly tool, no investors listed, ventures listed on the platform)

Women Effect: Women Effect Landscape Map. (things to note: outdated information, some of the listed organisations are not impact investors, some links do not work)

Global Health Impact Fund: a Strategic Venture Capital Investment Network connecting clinician and healthcare professional investors with early-stage healthcare technology companies. (things to note: no investors listed)

Future Planet Capital: a co-investment platform giving the world’s largest investors scale-efficient access to technology and life science firms; the focus areas include health, climate change, education, sustainable growth & security. (things to note: no investors listed, the portfolio is available on the website)

Investor Flow: an online tool for impact investors to share their deals. (things to note: sign-up is only available for investors)

GREENBACKERS: a by-invitation program offering to selected entrepreneurs exposure to active, pre-qualified investors with a proven interest in climate, cleantech, and the circular economy. (things to note: the sign-up link for entrepreneurs doesn’t seem to work; the next pitch date is May 19th, 2021)

Pitch@Palace: connecting entrepreneurs with potential supporters; the sectors include agriculture&food technology, health&medical technology. (things to note: last pitch events date back to late 2019)

Regional platforms:

LSP VC: connecting investors to inventors in the healthcare sector in the EU and US.

Europe’s Impact Investing Database: a country-based database; the categories include accelerators, business angels, deal platforms, ethical banks, foundations, etc. (things to note: not a user-friendly tool with outdated information on some of the accelerators and funds)

WEAR Sustain: an online platform for the Europe-wide wearable technology, smart and electronic textiles network, for collaborations and innovations between artists, designers, technologists, and engineers working on ethical and sustainable solutions and technologies for a better future. (things to note: most of the listed investors do not seem to invest in impact ventures, some of the listed organizations are not investors or accelerators, outdated information on some of the listed organizations)

+impact: a digital platform connecting startups with investors propelling positive impact in the Nordics. (things to note: most of the investors do not seem to be impact investors and the information on some of them is outdated, some links do not work)

The Vinetta Project: A Capital Platform for top female founders across North America. (things to note: only a few startups and no investors listed on the platform)

RENEW: an impact investment firm that manages and serves the Impact Angel Network, a global network of investors that seeks to realize both social impact and financial returns on their investments in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. (things to note: sign-up is only available for investors, the portfolio is available on the website)

Other platforms/tools for impact funders and founders:

F6S: a free network where founders get deals, apply for funding (Accelerators, Funds, Angels) & Investors find startups. (things to note: there is no possibility to sort results by sector, only 74 funds listed)

Crunchbase: a list of impact investing companies. (things to note: there is no possibility to check investors by sector or type of organization (advisers, management firms, etc.), some links do not work, oil&gaz companies are on the list)

Flipidea: a Data-as-a-Service platform offering analytical information about business failures (things to note: the website doesn’t always work properly, no search by category, categories are not mentioned for most of the funders, the websites of some of the VCs and accelerators do not work)

SIGNAL: an online tool for founders to find the right investors; the focus sectors include education, energy, agtech, health, biotech, cleantech, impact. (things to note: the websites of some of the VCs do not work, misleading information on the sectors for some of the listed investors)

Global Invest Her: a global platform for women entrepreneurs and investors. (things to note: no companies and investors listed)

GAN: a community of accelerators, partners, and investors, helping startups build businesses & make a meaningful impact, wherever they call home. (things to note: no investors listed)

Hamster Connect: a global social networking platform that helps start-ups and founders to match, connect and communicate with investors, incubators, and service providers. (things to note: only startups are listed on the website)

VC4A: an ecosystem builder that leverages its infrastructure, network, and expertise for the programs that contribute to Africa’s startup movement. (things to note: upcoming deadlines for accelerators in Africa listed on the platform)

Two main problems I hear about from the clients (impact entrepreneurs) are as follows:

  • no time for approaching funds/impact investors
  • the approached funders/impact investors do not provide any feedback

Interestingly, online impact investing platforms/tools do not seem to be a solution for any of these problems. I provided sector-based lists of impact investing opportunities to all the clients while beta-testing LeanVentures and every single one of them still opted for funding advisory services/individual guidance.

Jacob Nielsen says that ‘’The best results come from testing no more than 5 users’’. So, the next step is to find out what is/are the problem(s) of other impactpreneurs seeking outside funding. In other words, prior to ̶l̶a̶u̶n̶c̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶o̶n̶l̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶i̶m̶p̶a̶c̶t̶ ̶i̶n̶v̶e̶s̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶t̶f̶o̶r̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶u̶p̶ ̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶y̶e̶t̶ ̶a̶n̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶t̶i̶c̶ ̶d̶a̶t̶a̶b̶a̶s̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶d̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶f̶o̶r̶m̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ proposing any solution (see tip #2 from my list of do’s and don’ts), let’s talk to potential clients first (see tip #6 from my list of do’s and don’ts).

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources and updates on online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators.

Other helpful blog posts:

Upcoming deadlines for impactpreneurs

Resources for your global&regional impact startup programs search

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1: Learn and Grow

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 3: Mentorship Support, Online Communities, and Talent Pools

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 4: Pitch Decks, Raising Capital, Impact Investing

Growth Opportunities for Impactpreneurs:

Part 1.1: Global Food & Agriculture Global Programs

Part 1.2: Regional Food & Agriculture Regional Programs 

Part 2: Global & Regional Water Programs

Part 3: Global & Regional Mobility & Transportation Programs

Part 4: Global & Regional Smart Cities & Urban Innovation Programs

Part 5: Sustainability & Circular Economy Global and Regional Programs