What can interested social entrepreneurs expect after making contact with Impact Ventures UK? Advancement of the investment process begins after the IVUK investment team has made contact with a potential investee and conducted a comprehensive preliminary review.
According to Raf Goovaerts, Partner and Head of the UK investment team at LGT VP, one of the first actions IVUK undertakes is to determine the strength of the social enterprise’s people, particularly its management.
“People are important here because most of these companies are young, to some extent unproven and often still unprofitable. The risk profile is quite high, so you want to see people who are committed and have real experience,” says Goovaerts. “I can see in the deals we have done so far that we are really backing the entrepreneurs and their teams, and their ability to deliver. Our confidence in the people is bigger than in the business, and the quality of management team is critical.”
To determine if the social enterprise is “people fit” the Impact Ventures UK team holds multiple meetings with the management team and holds a number of close discussions to ascertain the fulfilment of this and other criteria.
In the early phase of IVUK’s review, our mission is to ensure that the social enterprise is “vision fit”: that means IVUK ensures that the business seeking funding is aligned with our core mission, as well as our values and goals. At this stage we also seek to determine that the business is not disqualified because it undertakes one or more of our exclusion criteria or has any considerable reputational or organizational risks. Because IVUK places equal emphasis on scalability as well as social impact, we seek to determine sustainable and robust business models. This includes consideration of their market, revenue model, assessment of competition, as well as their ability to respond to financial risks.
At this early phase, we also conduct a comprehensive assessment of an organisation’s social impact. First we ensure that the core focus of your business is to benefit disadvantaged groups in the UK, addressing significant social issues including but not limited to homelessness, mental illness, unemployment, children and family welfare, aging and social justice. We also want to understand how these businesses measure and report on their social impact to ensure they are meeting their targets. Depending on the outcomes of our review of the evidence supplied, IVUK moves on to the next phase of the process.
I can see in the deals we have done so far that we are really backing the people, and their ability to deliver.
Partner and Head of the UK Investment Team,
LGT Venture Philanthropy