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“Impact” start-ups, the new fad of investors

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Ventech, La Ruche and Aviva are launching a seed fund dedicated to young social entrepreneurs. A new illustration of the growing attraction of investors for start-ups that are supposed to be more virtuous for the environment and society.

No more “uber” and other disruptive platforms, the young shoots who are popular with investors claim to have “impact”. Initiatives to help and finance these companies which are more environmentally and socially conscious are increasing. Most recent: Alliance for Impact, a start-up fund combined with a support program for “responsible entrepreneurs”. A structure launched Thursday, October 1 by the insurer Aviva, the La Ruche incubator and the Ventech investment fund.

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“It is a way of accelerating the emergence of these new, more sustainable business models”, explains Audrey Simiana, director of La Ruche. “Today, some young impact shoots do not always dare to turn to investors, because they are sometimes afraid of seeing the nature of their projects diverted.”

Alliance for Impact is aimed at companies at the very beginning of the journey. The fund plans to support 250 entrepreneurs and invest in one or two projects per month, with tickets ranging from 150,000 euros to 500,000 euros.

Paint recycling and well-being at work

Among the first pre-selected start-ups, we find a young growth specialized in the recycling of paint, another which is in well-being at work, others in the health field, yet another is a specialist of the delivery of parcels by carpooling, lists the director of La Ruche. In short, the spectrum is quite broad.

The impact investing has become a fashionable trend in investment funds. In 2019, according to the French Association of Financial Management, socially responsible investment (SRI) outstandings jumped 32%, reaching more than 1.8 billion euros, reports Les Echos . The Initiative & Finance and Capital Croissance funds will also launch their entities dedicated to impact companies in 2021. Investors are increasingly sensitive to this type of start-up because they are perceived as more sustainable and agile.

In the Columns of the World , Jean Moreau, co-president of Tech for Good France, is delighted with this new attraction for investors. “Today, having a noble mission adds extra soul to your business and attracts investors,” he explains. While we had very small fundraising a few years ago, we now have access to increasingly substantial funding ”.

Impact, tech for good, ESS … Marketing for good

The risk remains that the word “impact”, like “tech for good” or their ancestor “social and solidarity economy ”, becomes a catch-all expression that start-ups and investors brandish as a marketing argument .

Audrey Simiana believes she is prepared for this eventuality. “We will be attentive to the intention of the entrepreneur, the purpose of the project but also to the whole of his way of doing things, the way in which the company obtains its supplies, the attention given to the origin of resources and to suppliers. Our experience at La Ruche, which has existed for 12 years and has supported 400 companies, will allow us to better detect the most virtuous projects. ”

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