Startup founders often have ambitions not just to make money, but to change the world. So, how do we help these founders accomplish these goals?
Enter ImpactAIM Indonesia, a program forged from a partnership between 500 Startups and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
ImpactAIM Indonesia’s goal is to bridge the world of impact financing with the world of tech startups in Indonesia. The program will select up to 8-10 successful post-seed startups whose businesses align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, help selected participants measure and accelerate their impact, as well as showcase them to prospective impact investors.
This partnership is one of the first of its kind: the UNDP will lend impact measurement expertise and impact investor networks and 500 Startups will lend growth support.
How did the ImpactAIM Indonesia partnership come about?
When 500 Startups was first invited to New York for a dialogue at the United Nations General Assembly in 2017, I was exposed to a whole new world. I met leaders of nations and financial institutions who were hungry to get involved with innovative businesses that could address environmental, social, and economic issues. They spoke about how money was moving towards impact investing, but there were still substantial challenges in doing so—for instance, many of the existing social enterprises were seen as either too small or not scalable enough to have true impact. A new generation of businesses that could do just what was needed.
In response, I shared with them that these businesses already exist.
In my opinion, our investment activity across over 2,300 companies in 75 countries has shown us time and time again, entrepreneurs are making money, scaling large companies, and solving a wide variety of socio-economic issues around the world. I shared with them example after example of our portfolio companies who were already impact-driven; from developing IoT for farmers, to crowdfunding for causes, to converting agricultural waste into building materials, all the way to facilitating on-demand rural healthcare.
Why then, had the world of impact investing not met these startups? As the dialogue continued, we discovered the gap: many scalable, impact-driven startups (1) simply had not identified themselves as being in the ‘impact’ space, (2) were venture-backed (by mostly profit-only VCs), (3) lacked adequate impact measurement or analytics, and/or (4) were simply not exposed to the expanse of impact capital available.
And there’s a growing amount of capital to go around – I believe more and more investors are entering the impact space, and with institutional investors, large family offices, and corporate investors increasingly demanding ESG standards and ‘impact’ themes, and fund managers like TPG’s The Rise Fund, KKR’s Global Impact Fund, and the likes of Al Gore’s Generation Investment Fund raising billions for the vertical, it couldn’t be a better time for startups to take advantage of these opportunities.
This is why ImpactAIM Indonesia was forged.
ImpactAIM was first launched by the UNDP in Armenia in 2017, and similar initiatives are under development in several countries across both Asia and Eastern Europe. The decision to partner with 500 Startups manifests the UNDP’s plans to offer this innovative solution for aligning private sector strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals on a global scale.
As their partner, we can’t wait to be a part of this story, and cultivate a world where investing in good is no longer a rare occurrence, but the norm.
Interested in learning more about ImpactAim Indonesia? Visit the program’s website: http://impactaim.500.co
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