Program Update

Rechtstreex wins Investment Ready Program 2015/2016

Rechtstreex was chosen by their peers as the winner of the Investment Ready Program. Rechtstreex works on a new social, transparant, short food chain. One that is beneficial for producer, customer and Rechtstreex. After Rotterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven, where Rechtstreex is already active, the social startup will expand to other cities in the Netherlands.

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Meet the 2015 Cohort | 10 green impact ventures

Ten green impact ventures are selected to be part of the 2015 cohort of the Investment Ready Program. The entrepreneurs work on issues that range from saving energy, a modular water and sanitation infrastructure solution for slums, to an innovative vegan food concept.  They will be supported by the pogram to attract impact investment and realise their growth ambitions.

 

Gerenommeerde duurzame ondernemers en experts gaan de deelnemers aan Investment Ready de komende maanden intensief begeleiden om hun groeiambities waar te maken en ze klaar te stomen om impact kapitaal te kunnen ontvangen waar te maken. Ze leren om door de lens van een investeerder naar hun eigen onderneming te kijken. Aan het einde van deze leerperiode presenteren de ondernemers zich op Demo Day (19 februari) aan diverse investeerders en fondsen.

Betrokken partners, experts en impact investeerders

Naast begeleiding van ervaren ondernemers en mentoren kunnen de bedrijven gebruikmaken van de expertise van De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek op gebied van juridische zaken, The Boston Consulting Group voor strategische ontwikkeling en marktanalyse en de Rabobank voor een grondige financiële check. Met pitch coach David Beckett, de presentatie-experts van Mr.Prezident en de presentatie-tool Prezi kunnen de ondernemers zich voorbereiden op het investeerdersforum op 19 februari. Daarbij zijn impact investeerders als Toniic, InvestInFuture, Money Meets Ideas en Pymwymic aanwezig, evenals participatiemaatschappijen en informele investeerders.

De deelnemers

De groep deelnemers bestaat uit ervaren en startende ondernemers die op zoek zijn naar kapitaal voor hun technologie, product of oplossing waarvan het bestaansrecht is bewezen. Het uiteindelijke doel van deze ondernemers is het leveren van een bijdrage aan de transitie naar een verantwoorde economie.

  1. Crowdbuilding is een platform waar mensen samen bouwen aan sociale en duurzame gebouwen.
  2. De Energiebespaarders bieden de makkelijkste manier om woningen te verduurzamen. Je krijgt gratis online inzicht en word ontzorgd van advies tot uitvoer.
  3. The Dutch Weed Burger ontwikkelt innovatieve plantaardige concepten om zo de wereld redden.
  4. Goodhout is een duurzaam gefabriceerd alternatief voor alle houtsoorten, met superieure kwaliteiten, gemaakt van restafval van kokosnoten.
  5. MX3D 3D print grote architectonische en infrastructurele objecten met slimme robots, MX3D produceert zo lokaal, met minder transport en materiaal.
  6. Newspaperwood laat (kranten)papier, dat van hout gemaakt is, weer tot hout terugkeren en is toegewijd aan de ontwikkeling van dit nieuwe materiaal.
  7. QM Intelligence ondersteunt bedrijven bij het verduurzamen van hun producten met unieke online tools, data en inzicht in consumentengedrag.
  8. Rechtstreex werkt aan een directe link tussen boer en consument. Online bestellen in een eerlijke transparante voedselketen waarin je weer weet wat eten is.
  9. Waterhubs bouwt modulaire water- en sanitatieoplossingen voor dichtbevolkte sloppenwijken die opgeschaald kunnen worden van 1.000 tot 50.000 gebruikers.
  10. Watt Now verbetert tijdelijke off-grid energie systemen in de evenementen industrie als opstap voor de transitie naar 100% duurzame off-grid energie wereldwijd.

 

Last edited: 3 November 2015

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Applications are open!

Today we launched the 2015 edition of the Investment Ready Program at Impact Hub Amsterdam. With a crowd of interested entrepreneurs, partners and investors, we explored what it takes to become investment ready. Giving insight in to the content and value of the program along the way. And getting insight into what the program can mean for the people in the room.

We started by interviewing impact investor Edgard Creemers, CEO of InvestInFuture. InvestInFuture invests in innovative, sustainable entrepreneurs with a special focus on youth. What is key to him when he enters into conversation with an entrepreneur? “When I’m interested in a venture I want to know about their 1) product-market combination, 2) team, and 3) give/get for the entrepreneur and the investor.”  About the latter Edgard advises the entrepreneurs in the room:

“Be realistic in what you ask, but don’t give it all away at once, you need to be prepared for more investment rounds “.

As InvestInFuture, they are of the opinion that the entrepreneur needs to keep majority of shares in all situations. According to Edgard, guiding the entrepreneurs in their journey to seek investment is a unique aspect of the Investment Ready Program and valuable for both entrepreneurs and investors involved.
After getting the investor perspective, who better to ask about the progam than a former participant?  So we interviewed Joost de Kluijver, founder of Closing the Loop and 2014 participant, why he participated and how he is doing 4 months after the demo day. An important reasons for him was definitely to get loose from his day to day operations to work on the long term strategy of his venture. “As an entrepreneur you live in a ‘bubble’ and the program provided a soundboard for me in an important phase in which I had just changed from not-for-profit to a for profit company (BV).”

“The peer ranking mechanism results in painfully honest, but very constructive criticism and support from your peers.”

After the demo day in February, Joost got featured in a Tegenlicht episode about e-waste and urban mining, which helped him building the case for corporate clients such as Tele2, with which he recently closed a deal. Also, via Investment Ready, he got the opportunity to pitch at the PYMWIMIC Impact Days. “The Investment Ready Program thoroughly prepared me for the conversations with these investors.

So who are we looking for?

In the next three months we will be scouting for scalable ‘greentech’ ventures with a special interest in enterprises that tackle sustainability issues in emerging economies. Together with our partner Professional Rebel we will be traveling from Amsterdam to Eindhoven and from Arnhem to Delft to find the entrepreneurs that have the best fit with our program.

  • You are a purpose-driven entrepreneur, working on tackling sustainability issues. We have a special interest in enterprises that tackle sustainability issues in emerging economies
  • You have proof-of-concept (i.e., revenue generating, revenue testing)
  • You are seeking investment
  • Your venture is legally incorporated in The Netherlands
  • You are building a scalable product, technology or solution in one of the following fields
    • Energy & Mobility
    • Supply Chains & Logistics
    • New materials & Waste
    • Agriculture, Water & Food

Applications are open until 20 September. Start here.

 

 

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Demo Day

On February 20th, the 10 green impact ventures of the 2014/15 Investment Ready Program presented their growth plans and investment proposition at the Demo Day.

A summary of the last months

We reviewed 200 startups from 100 sources, received 50 applications, out of which we selected 10 ventures. Together, they have 42 years of entrepreneurial experience and received €11,8 million in funding to date.
The ventures received 1500 hours of program support over the course of 16 weeks, worth €150.000. They rated each other on 20 investment criteria, submitting a whopping 7,200 rated items, resulting in 1 highest score: MUD Jeans, who has won a €50.000 convertible loan. Together, the ventures are seeking €10,9 million in investment from impact investors.

Grand finale

The Demo Day was the grand finale of the program, providing the entrepreneurs a platform to pitch to an audience of 80 investors and partners. At the same time investors and partners got the opportunity to get into real conversation with the entrepreneurs during hosted breakout sessions. At the end of the day we raised our glasses to many new connections made. In the next months we will follow-up these connections and link the ventures to follow-up pitching opportunities. 

Do you want to get in touch with one of the ventures? Please contact Robert-Niels van Droffelaar, impact tracker & investor relations.

 

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MUD Jeans wins 2014/15 Investment Ready Program

MUD Jeans was chosen by their peers as the winner of the Investment Ready Program. The fashion label that introduces the circular economy in the fashion industry has won an investment of EUR 50.000. With this amount MUD Jeans will further realise their growth ambitions and work on their positioning in the retail.

Winner chosen by participants

In the past four months the participating entrepreneurs have built their go to market strategy and investment plan, with help of mentors, experts and each other. The 10 entrepreneurs assessed their peer’s ventures and learnt to look through the lens of the investor. Today they collectively awarded MUD Jeans a convertible loan of €50.000. This loan can be converted to equity at the end of the investment round.

Demo Day 20 February

On the 20th of February the Demo Day takes place, where all participants will pitch their investment proposition to the network of informal investors, funds and intermediairs that has been built-up around the program.  As initiators, The DOEN Foundation, Hivos and Impact Hub Amsterdam strive to support all participants to raise the capital they need. As such, Rural Spark, winner of the 2013/14 edition, raised an investment of EUR 350.000 and is now working on a second investment round of EUR 1 million. The company sells products in India, with which people can produce their own sustainable energy. Recently Rural Spark launched the new prototype of their energy router. With the new investment round they can scale up in India.

Interested investors can still register for the Demo Day via marieke@investment-ready.nl.

The next edition starts in June 2015

In June we will open the registration for the next edition of the Investment Ready Program.  In the fall, ten new participants will start. They can again count on the expertise of our mentors and partners.

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Module 2: Founders, Team & Financial modeling

In the second module we got into some serious financial modelling, we deepened our pitch practice, and analysed the team roles needed to grow our companies.

How does an investor look at your financials?

“It’s a ‘sanity check’ “, says Helmer Schukken, who kicked off our financial modelling work session. He shows us how he looks at financial figures as an investor at Social Impact Ventures, and he makes this concrete by analysing the financial models of 2 of the 10 ventures in front of the group. We continued with peer-due diligence exercise to get insight into each other’s financial assumptions. A valuable exercise, because looking at another ventures financials makes you realise how they look at yours!

 

The reasons behind ‘best pitch practices’

Pitching is practising, and we did during the workshop with David Beckett (pitch coach at TEDx Amsterdam among others). But we also got to understand the reasons behind his advice. So why apply the ‘Rule of 3‘, and why learn the first 60 seconds of your pitch. In short, many of it has to do with understanding how the listener processes information, as well as what actually happens with you (your body, your brain) when you pitch. We can’t go into detail here, but we highly recommend you to join his workshops. Oh well, one tip: never start a pitch with a “thank you for inviting me, bla bla…”, get straight to the point “I am David Beckett and I am a pitch coach”.

 

What does your team need in order to grow?

The team is an important item for investors. Not only do they look at your skills and experience, but more importantly they want to know whether you have been able to tackle some serious challenges together and make things work in tough times. The team you have as a startup might not be the right team for your next growth step. In a workshop with Scafander we gained insight in our own roles and into what is lacking to make the next growth step.

 

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Module 1: the pressure cooker effect

It took no more than the first 3 days of the Program for the 10 ventures to get to know each other and to define the key strategic issues to work on during the program. The result of the ‘pressure cooker effect’ we create together with our mentors, partners and the power of peer reviewing. Some highlights of the first module.

Innovating in traditional industries and creating new markets – insights from a CEO

On the first day we had an in-depth conversation with Reinier Mommaal, one of the founders and former CEO of DyeCoo Textile Systems. DyeCoo introduced a revolutionary waterless dyeing technology to the market. He provided us with valuable insights while talking about his journey from prototype to implementation. For example on how to build strong, strategic partnerships already during the (technology) development phase, so that when things really start to take off you can make big steps. And how you need to be smart as a small innovator between the big giants.

Pitch, practice, and pitch again

Already on day 2 the entrepreneurs pitched their ventures to an audience of 50 mentors, partners and investors. But not before they turned their presentations into the 3 minute pitch canvas format and a good round of practice first. The pitch session kicked off the afternoon session where the ventures worked on their 5-year strategic goals and 12-month milestones with support of their mentors and our program partners. We ended celebrating a day of hard work with drinks and some serious networking.

The power of peer reviewing

Day 3 was the day of the first trial rank. All 10 ventures had to rank their 9 peers based on 20 investment criteria. How to do that when you only know each other since 2 days? After a solid introduction of the criteria this exercise turned out to be very powerful. In the last module, this rank will define the winner of the program that will go home with €50.000 investment. So it is not just a cool app, it’s serious business. The group was pleasantly surprised by the collective intelligence that got revealed through the peer reviewing. It contributed to a very solid start of the program.

 

 

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Meet the 2014 Cohort | 10 green impact ventures

Ten green impact ventures are selected to be part of the 2014 cohort of the Investment Ready Program. The entrepreneurs work on issues that range from CO2 extraction and supply, seaweed cultivation for a sustainable aquaculture, floating houses for Asia, to sustainable motorbikes for Africa.

The coming four months they will be supported by the program to build an investment plan, attract investment and realise their growth ambitions.  The 10 entrepreneurs take a seat on the “investment panel” where they will assess their peer’s ventures and collectively award the top performer an equity investment of €50.000. The program will be rounded up with a Demo Day where the ventures will present themselves to various investors and funds.

Partners, mentors and expertise
Next to support from experienced mentors, the entrepreneurs can use the support of program partners as De Brauw for legal advice, The Boston Consulting Group for strategic development and market analysis and Rabobank for financial questions.  With pitch coach David Beckett and the prezentation expertise of Mr. Prezident the entrepreneurs will prepare themselves for the Demo Day on February 20th 2015. Investment clubs such as Toniic, De Investeerdersclub, Money Meets Ideas en Pymwymic will be present, as well as several funds and informal investors.

The 2014 cohort
The group consists of both experienced as well as young entrepreneurs seeking for capital for their technology, product or solution with a proof of concept. Their ultimate goal is to contribute to a transision towards a more sustainable and circular economy.

  1. Alucha develops and commercialises recycling solutions for complex waste streams using an industrially proven pyrolysis technology.
  2. Closing the Loop developed a unique, circular way to extend the life cycle of mobile phones.
  3. FasoBiogaz makes electricity out of waste in Africa, with organic fertiliser and industrial heat as by-product.
  4. Flexbase designs and builds floating structures in areas where water forms a threat.
  5. Giaura uses space technology for CO2 supply, extraction & purification applications ranging from ACs to aquariums.
  6. Hortimare provides seaweed starting material, cultivation systems and services for a sustainable aquaculture sector.
  7. Koneksie has created a sustainable mobility concept for the African motorcycle taxi industry, including a newly developed motorcycle.
  8. MUD Jeans offers an on trend wardrobe without owning clothes, with a new concept called Lease A Jeans.
  9. Windchallenge developed a light, reliable, safe and quiet wind turbine for off- and on-grid generation of renewable energy.
  10. Zzzoof provides sustainable local logistics and keeps your city clean for free.

Meet & greet 31 October
Are you interested in the stories of these ventures? Join us for a drink with our team, the entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and partners of the program on October 31st at 17.00 (please RSVP here).

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40 high quality applications: May the selection begin.

After a summer of drinking many cups of coffee with many exciting green impact entrepreneurs, we are truly content with the 40 high quality applications we received for the 2014 Investment Ready Program. Building up to the selection event on the 13th of October, our selection committee will be working on the pre-selection and very busy processing all the applications.

Here’s what will happen next this month:

  • October 13th – Selection event : pre-selected applicants will meet the selection committee.
  • October 20th – Press release : announcement of the 2014 cohort
  • October 31st – Drinks: meet our amazing cohort of green impact ventures

You are invited on October 31st: Join us for a drink with our team, the entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and partners of the program.

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Find an investor who suits the mind-set of the company

(Photo by: Tax Credits / CC BY)

As we are building this year’s program, we are looking back at some of last year’s great speakers. One of them is Stanley Anyetei, founder of Social-to-Business Strategist. As an investment strategist for social investors he shared his expertise and lessons learned – “Traditional investments will always exists, just show them ways to innovate”, Stanley Anyetei.

Stanley AnyeteiYour personal bank account, outside investors, financial institutions, philanthropists, suppliers and customers are all persons or institutions from which you can gain liquidity. Liquidity to, for instance, grow your company. But how does this work and what to take into account? Stanley Anyetei has a lot of experience in the financial industry makes us aware about the choice we have while searching for an investment. Friday afternoon he kicks off.

Starting with the basics: What types of investment are there?
A lot of entrepreneurs start with personal equity, so called ‘sweat equity’. If this personal equity is no longer an option, there are other ways to finance your business. You can go for a debt or get money in trade of your shares. So called equity. Of the other hand, customer or supplier finance or grants (be aware, grants are never ‘fee money’) could be reasonable options when you are looking for investment. Whatever option you may choose, most important is that you think about the different options. Make sure you know what the several options are about and what the pros and cons of these option are. So, make sure you consider the repayment structure, you know what the claim on assets of your company will be and make the type of returns the investor wants when he is investing specific. Stanley tells us: “Take your time and think about the type of investment. Which type fits the stage you’re in with your company?”.

What’s next? Make impact measurable
Besides choosing the right type of investment in a certain stage, finding the right investor is key. Especially when you seek investment in your social enterprise. You and the investor has to be in it for the same reasons, for the same purpose. Your purpose. Make sure you have a conversation about this with potential investors. Besides that, talk about the risks of the business and build the terms and rules of the investment. Social enterprises are trying to make a difference (impact) which is not to measure with traditional accounting. This is why the investor has to commit his/herself to the goals of the social enterprise. Stanley: “Where traditional investment is about accounting and revenue, this type of investment is about making a difference. Make this difference measurable in numbers with your investor”. Stanley sees a big opportunity in these social enterprises focussing on making a difference instead of making revenue. “If you are making a difference and see the people on the bottom of the pyramid as your customers, there is a huge market, so people will invest in it.”

Last but not least; tips and tricks when searching for social investment
Stanley keeps us sharp at the end of our Friday session. He summarizes: Investors are seeking for really dedicated entrepreneurs, scalable business model and a real solution with impact. Besides that:
– Be very specific about value and define numbers with your investor
– Choose the type of financing fitting your company’s state
– Finding the right investor takes time but pays off
– Do your homework before you go to your investor
– Be optimistic, but don’t be silly!

by Karolien van der Ouderaa, Village Capital 2013

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