Inspiring News from Pioneers on start-up innovation, alignment of interest and sustainability

 

At the Pioneers Festival in Vienna end of May I had the chance to talk to change-agents, leading entrepreneurs, business angels, impact investors and system changing innovators. Let me start with Daniel Kim from Lit motors, who designed two-wheeled vehicles with innovative and disruptive technologies to create the AEV (auto-balancing electric vehicle) – the“C-1″ and the Kubo cargo scooter. Kim did scientific research on high way commuter traffic in the US. It did not make sense he says to drive with a SUV alone 48 km to work.” Then came the idea for much lighter and energy saving technology. His fascinating journey from being a designer, then researcher and finally entrepreneur and fund raiser was compelling, in a nutshell the combination of know the world, combine know how and know who, know yourself and know how to be an entrepreneur.

Conrad Egusa, a former VentureBeat writer has started the PR company Publicize, his company is changing the way start-up approach PR. His begin his first journey as entrepreneur, when he was a student and opened a local community within Facebook and successfully advanced it to a university newspaper. When working for VentureBeat, the leading source for news & perspective on tech innovation he realised that the PR industry’s business model was broken for start-ups.

With Jon Teo Founder and Managing Partner of Binary Capital I spoke about ecosystems and the founding blocs of ecosystems. “For me, platforms are vehicles for audience and distribution and very different from ecosystems” he explained. Whereas platforms can be good at establishing a new way of communication and distribution, Ecosystems change the conversation, establish new commons and create a new philosophical foundation. Wikipedia succeeded because investors aligned with the philosophy of equal access to information for all, Facebook with the vision of designing yourself and Snapshot with making it easier of showing another side of yourself. Ecosystems change the way people talk about things.

Marvin Liao from 500 start-ups has been an angel investor; a mentor and accelerator prior to joining 500 start-ups as a partner. His credo is we have to make it easy for investees to succeed and give them all support we can Being an entrepreneur requires migration and immigration talent, a new mind-set and a new form of entrepreneurial education. The same applies to investors, he adds. And you have to be able to accompany your pre seed or seed investments through the whole growth cycle from seed to start up to growth and maturity.

Tim Draper is not only a super successful venture capital investor and incubator, but also likewise an innovator, accelerator, educator, funder, philanthropist and ecosystem creator. In July 2014, Draper received wide coverage for his purchase at a US Marshals Service auction of seized bit coins from the Silk Road marketplace website.

With Draper University, the Draper Associates Funds and Hero City he provides a full fledged ecosystem for investees in order to make them bolder, better entrepreneurs and more resilient. When I asked him whether it is to early to write for me on a new so far undisclosed project he answered, “oh, it is always the right time.”

Erik Bovee, Founder and Partner of Speedinvest I had a great conversation on being a Seed Investor, Speed Investor and Mentor. He started consulting start – ups prior and this developed into being a seed investor. “There are not a lot of serial entrepreneurs in CEE, he told me. So start – ups need to learn, how to hire, how to scale, how to raise funds and how to access International Markets.” Therefore Speedinvest often takes a co-founder role. Their fund model and structure for seed investments is unique with no hurdle rate and no interest carry and puts emphasis on the alignment of interest between investee and Speedinvest. The intent of the model is to raise the floor and have less burnout of start-up founders.

Keyvan Peymani, Venture Capitalist, Investor, Entrepreneur and Tech optimist is looking for sustainable innovation and impact in his investments. Venture Capitalists have to offer capital and contacts, empower entrepreneurs, he says. In the seed capital ecosystem he sees an explosion of seed capital, venture capital and equity, a Morris Law like activity happening there. The next step needs to be partnerships with Lead Companies, joined Tech Events. Big companies could be “friendly customers “ of start-ups, try and test their blueprints and start-ups could do reverse mentoring for Leading companies.

It was inspiring talking to Ryan Bethencourt. He is a scientist, entrepreneur and a pioneer in the DIYbio movement best known for his work as program director and venture partner at Indie. Bio, a biology accelerator and early stage seed fund. International VC firm SOSVentures has been capitalizing on the now buzz worthy biotech investment trend with the creation of IndieBio, the first accelerator to focus on just life sciences. Ryan’s investment philosophy is addressing global challenges with biology and tech. One of his favourite investment stories is Memphis Meet, a company growing meet in a lab. “It is 20 times less resource intense, no human rights violations like in the cattle farming, no slauther houses and no animal dying2, he says. The technology uses less water, less CO2 is emitted and the meet is vegan. The technology is incredible disruptive and also profitable. It opens the door to a post animal economy, Ryan adds. Bacteria are biological nano-machines and he believes in this form of bio-nano – technology.

Conventional nano-technology has not delivered he says and it will be very hard for conventional technology to compete.

Chancellor Kern was also present at the start-up event of the Pioneers Festival. We need a start up mentality, a new deal for start – ups in order to foster innovation and create wealth. He spoke to the right High Five community. Over 500 investors were present at the festival.

Resources times social networks creates potent triple bottom line returns

Reflection of the CEE Impact Day at Impact Hub Vienna

How social and environmental challenges can be turned into opportunities, return and potential using market concepts could be witnessed at the CEE Impact Day in Vienna. Anything bad is good for you – if we develop the ability and agility to see challenges as investment opportunities and tackle them though impact investing and social entrepreneurship. The CEE Impact Day at Impact Hub Vienna has given strong evidence of this new nascent market paradigm. While the social welfare state has been a successful concept to address the challenges of the 20th century, social entrepreneurship and impact investing may well be the recipe of the 21st century. While many old systems are running dry of money and need to reinvent themselves or die, the movement building works undertaken by pioneers like Charly Kleissner , Impact Hubs, Ashoka and the Social Stock Exchange- to name a few, begin a to win momentum. New forms of co-operation, co-work and a new language are proliferating into investment and social banking. Social Banking and Impact Investing uses the nowadays highly sophisticated instruments developed in investment banking like social bonds, green bonds and pay – for – performance schemes and new intermediaries like the social stock exchange alongside with a strong focus on creating solutions for social and environmental challenges, the world is facing today. The Impact Hub has a centre role in establishing the fertile ground these new potentials. Some examples of how these Social Enterprises can be profitable were presented as award winners at the CEE Impact Day. I have picked Magdas Hotel, a hotel run by 20 refugees and 10 professionals addressing the challenge of migrants to find work. The hotel is a rebuild retirement home, offers rooms in a chilly atmosphere and at the same time a wide range of cultural events.
A lot of players support this new field of enterprising and investing like Erste Bank Foundation who has co- initiated the first Social Bond in Austria, Impact Hub who runs various programmes in cooperation with partners like the Investment Ready Programme (IRP) and the Scaling Programme to mane a few.

The CEE Impact Day provided strong evidence on how successful the Hub has been in establishing a new eco-system for triple bottom line and impact investing and that it has been a change agent and enabler for social entrepreneurship, NBO and Tec’s. I differentiate the two by the indicator whether or not a sound theory of change is applied. Triple bottom line investment does not necessarily imply a theory of change, impact investment does. Charly Kleissner, Co-Founder of KL Felicitas Foundation reiterated and emphasized the importance of the movement building works in addition to a TBL approach in investing, which needs to go on with investees, investors and intermediaries and develop increased attraction and buy in. Charly himself once again demonstrated in his speech that he is an excellent ambassador, supporter and campaigner for impact investing and social entrepreneurship and announced that he will make available his portfolios for scientific research on impact investing to universities and scientists. Uli Grabenwarter, Deputy Director Equity Investments of the European Investment Fund stressed “ we have to hold ourselves (investors) responsible for the success of impact investees and do everything to support them.

Borsa Istanbul

There are stunning things going on in the Middle East and in particular in Turkey regarding the sustainable investment mission. Borsa Istanbul has recently created the Borsa İstanbul Sustainability Platform. I am more than pleased ot welcome Borsa Istanbul and its Borsa İstanbul Sustainability Platform as a new network partner of Responsible Investmentbanking.
The Borsa İstanbul Sustainability Platform aims to create a sharing network which enables result-oriented and effective realization of the sustainability activities and powerful discussions on future joint steps in the field of sustainability in Turkey. The Sustainability Platform works on increasing the awareness and knowledge regarding sustainability, providing its support to enable sustainability issues to take part in the relevant legislation and regulations, promoting sustainability practices and collaborating with related  international agencies. You can find the platforms in the section Network partners and here  http://www.borsaistanbul.com/en/corporate/sustainability/sustainability-platform

Alert! Responsible Investment Banking – Editor Karen Wendt has been published by Springer International

Dear all,

I am writing to you today to alert you that the anthology Responsible Investment Banking, which I had the honor to compose, research and put together has been published now by Springer International. You can find the anthology to which more than 70 authors active in the field contributed here.
The authors stem from various backgrounds: Practitioners from the Banking and Investment industry, Multilaterals, Acedemia, Non-Governmental Organizations, Think Tanks and Advisors and Supra-national organizations.

I am grateful to Achim Steiner, Executive Director of United Nations Environmental Programme for writing the introduction to this anthology and to Dr. Rene Schmidpeter and Samuel Idowu for providing the foreword.
Let me say thank you to Springer International for approaching me for the project and the publication, to all the authors for their great contributions and dedication to the subject and also to the helpers behind the scene, who have worked with great enthusiasm on this anthology.

I hope you will all enjoy reading it. May this anthology bring new insides and acumen to the field of investment and banking. I am looking to stay in touch with you all. The most important thing however is that Responsibility in investment and banking is a leadership issue. The message has to come from the top. And let me say the triple bottom line is just not enough to create responsibility. The elements of organizational culture and leadership have to source these approaches. When this happens, environmental and social issues and governance are no longer compliance issues. They are effective innovation steers engrained in the institution, its DNA and culture, enabling effective organizational learning and unlashing creativity to create solutions for the antropozene and to re-create business as providing solutions for peoples‘ needs.

I am looking forward to your comments at Contact Site
Stay connected!

Alke Schmidt Tangled Yarns

Tangled Yarns
Sometimes fashion, investment and art go together and do have a clear message. A good example is the exhibition „Tangled Yarns“  by Alke Schmidt, which showed at  the William Morris Gallery in until 1 Feb 2015. The exhibition, which was specially commissioned by the Gallery and supported by Arts Council England, explored the politics and morality of the global textile industry and the cotton trade from the 18th century to the present day.  Each work examined a different episode in the industry’s complex history, revealing how its entire value chain was and is intertwined with issues of race and gender, exploitation and violence, and incorporating fabrics that matched the story being told.  To find these stories, Alke did extensive research, working with experts across disciplines including history, industry and labour rights, and sourcing textiles from around the world. You can find some of the research and background to the „Tangled Yarns“ project in her exhibition blog 
The exhibition was accompanied by  talks and panel discussions such as „Is fashion still to die for?“ which discussed  the impact of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh on the global „fast fashion“ industry. 
For those who have missed the exhibition there is good news. You will be able to see  most of the art works in September and October 2015 at Cromford Mills   the world’s first successful water powered cotton spinning mills and the blueprint of modern factory production. Please find a short selection of art work here .
Seeing Alke’s art made me realise that art offers different, often more emotional and subjective, ways of engaging with the public. According to the curator at the William Morris Gallery, „Tangled Yarns“  stimulated more debate and discussion amongst visitors than any other of their temporary exhibitions to date. Maybe we in the investment community should think about using art as an additional way of communication to raise awareness?
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Two conferences in Istanbul at Bosporus University in cooperation with Responsible Investmentbanking

So we saw two consecutive events happening in May at Bosporus University, one organized by the Sustainable Finance Forum, where I was speaking about the approach to positive impact investing in the Springer anthology here and another one organized by Responsible Investment Baning and Bosporus University. At the Sustainable Finance Event we made a complete tour d’horizon from COP 21 in Paris for a renewed commitment to climate change, to the Sustainable Development Goals, following the Millennium Development Goals’ expiration and to the challenges the financial system is facing up to the solution part – positive impact investing and finance. The financial industry has been required to support sustainable business and climate friendly markets as well as social entrepreneurs. The conference showed that a global eco-system of positive impact investing and finance is necessary, embracing innovation, social entrepreneurship climate friendly markets and this means for investing and finance re- visiting existing models and bringing together academia, financiers, stock-exchange and entrepreneurs for a new pioneering in the field.

Just one week after we had a workshop event on ESG and positive Impact investing with integrated book launch – again at Bosporus University, but with a different setting and an interactive approach – organized by Bosporus University and the Life Long Learning Center alongside with Responsible Investment Banking. See programme here. I was intrigued by the high level of expertise present and intense knowledge sharing we had at this workshop event with more than 130 participants from different backgrounds: Academia and well-known professors in the field, local and international banks, multinationals, multilaterals like IFC and EBRD, international and local consultants, Global Compact, the Istanbul stock exchange and various specialists from development agencies. It was a nice interactive format and participants agreed to follow up on the event with further workshops and exchange on the subject. I am really grateful for this great event, the nice alignment of all events last month and for being part of this inspiring movement. The next workshop is planned for the end of the year following up on the results and findings of this one on ESG, risk management, innovation and positive impact investing and finance. We will publish the presentations given soon on this website and alert you in the blog. Likewise if you have any suggestions and burning topics you would like to discuss for the follow up – workshop, please let the university and myself know by sending a message via the contact form. Have a geat and inspiring time.

The onew of you that want to join the event on project finance and Responsible Investment Banking programme here forthcoming next month please register here.

Climate Bonds/Green Bonds

Approximately. 70 industry professionals attended the presentation by Sean Kidney,
CEO Climate Bonds Initiative & team followed by a panel discussion.
Compared to last year, the number of attendants doubled, illustrating the
strong interest in the climate bond segment.Attached please find the report and a presentation , which was first published at the Frankfurt
event, and  the presentation.
Lunchtime Presentation July 8th, here
the Eurozone launch of the „Bonds and Climate Change: State of the Market 2015 Report“ hereThe message by investors at the event was clear. „use of proceeds“ bonds are
needed, as investor demand is significant among a wide range of
institutional investors.

Besides investor diversification, issuers increasingly see other benefits
of „use of proceeds“ bonds. This was illustrated by the recent sell-off /
high intra-day volatility in Bonds and other fixed income segments during
May 2015, where green bonds were easier to place in the market then
conventional bonds.

Pioneers Festival

THE WINNER OF THE FIFTH PIONEERS CHALLENGE IS DRONAMICS (cargo drones
The start up is building cargo drones for commercial and special logistics missions.
On May 28 and 29  the Pioneers festival took place  in Vienna and I had the chance to be part of  this great event.
 Dronamics convinced the jury of top investors (Fred Destin von Accel, Lior Susan von Formation 8, Marvin Liao von 500 Startups, Oliver Holle von SpeedInvest und Simon Levene von Mosaic Ventures) with their pitch about drones doing delivery and logistics services.
They beat their competitors including Opendatasoft, Promotheon Pharma, Watly, Ascribe, Skedool, Cuckuu and Yottio.
Please find the Pioneers festival pictures here (http://pioneers.io/mediabox).
PIONEERS ORGANIZING THE BIGGEST STARTUP CHALLENGE ON EARTH AND STARTING OWN VENTURE FUND – Today Pioneers just announced to extend its existing challenge. In 7 ecosystems Pioneers will look for the most influential startups on earth. For each vertical Pioneers is going to partner with one major industry leader. If you want to know more the Responsible contact  is andreas.roettl@pioneers.io

TBLI CONFERENCETM LATIN AMERICA 2015

I am really intrigued by the increasing number of great events around Positive Impact Investing and ESG happening all over the world. On behalf of the Mauricio Macri and Robert Rubinstein ,you are cordially invited to attend the first TBLI CONFERENCETM LATIN AMERICA 2015.

The event will be held in the capital of Argentina on May 28-29, under the patronage of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires.

The event will commence with Mauricio Macri’s Chief of Staff, Horacio Rodriguez Lar- reta, together with high level authorities from the City Government as well as from other government levels and jurisdictions.

The program addresses critical topics for investors and finance professionals who strive to better align profits with impact – with a view across all asset classes. You are wel- come to learn more about the conference program here.

TBLI CONFERENCES offer a wealth of opportunity to learn about sustainable investing and to build a strong network of like-minded investors and business partners. We invite you to share your ideas, challenges and solutions and to discover innovation and investment opportunities. So don’t miss that event. you can share ideas you have on the contact form here.