How many VC funds can you say where these three partners were born during the raising of the fund, have deep connections in Asia, Europe and the United States, and include the actress Anne Hathaway as an LP? Not many would put me in danger.
But that’s the profile of Pact, a new Seed VC fund launched with £30 million ($36 million) to back early stage startups across Europe. The Pact targets ‘mission-driven’ startups in so-called “ABC” categories: Access (economic inclusion), Enhancement (personal and professional well-being), and Climate. (This is a more interesting way of dealing with the ‘do good’ area, rather than dismantling the UN SDGs, IMHO). Pact’s investment portfolio is around £1m to £1.5m.
Like Anne Hathaway (she’s not just an Oscar-winning ‘actress’, she’s also a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador), other LPs include Jeff Dean, Head of AI at of Google, and founding (and former) CEO Keith Teare. of TechCrunch and a former tech entrepreneur in the UK and US.
They are joined by Anchor investor Campden Hill Capital; Yeming Wang, former EMEA head of Alibaba; Fahd Beg, COO of Naspers; Todd Ruppert, retired CEO of T. Rowe Price Global and partner of Greenspring Associates, and Tilo Bonow, CEO of PIABO.
The three female partners — Tong Gu, Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham, and Monik Pham — are former VCs at other funds. Gu was an investor in ADV (which previously included Teare) and founded a data analytics startup in Shanghai from which he left. Wyndham is an investor in ADV and a former founder. Pham was part of the founding team of the first crowdfunding Fuel Ventures and has launched several social enterprises in Africa and India.
Speaking to Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham, she told me that they had been saving the money for a little over a year (during her pregnancy and first child) but that the idea had been “in the works” for five or six years. -about a year: joined ADV the same week. And that’s when we met Monik. What we saw in the context of the first phase in England was a few important things that were missing. There are very few early stage fund managers who have experience and in-depth overseas work experience in emerging markets. And that’s what the three of us bring, gratefully, to the table. “
“We believe that capitalism should be inclusive and can produce great results,” he added. “And we love that it’s able to bring back early-stage companies that are really shaping the future. We’ve both built our careers on that Northstar as our guiding light. We’ve always had values, but now “Now is when the market really comes in. There should be no trade-offs between sustainable social, environmental and commercial outcomes. You have to think about both. And that’s the weight of all three,” he said. .
Tong Gu told me, “Growing up in China, I witnessed how entrepreneurship and technology allowed many people who were under the poverty line to become rich and improve their lives. I started a technology company that allows small independent brand owners to compete with the bigger ones. And for me, that was the experience that really brought economic integration, but in a way that can be used with technology. “
Wyndham admitted that “it’s not a lot of money”. However, he said that the £30 million should give them enough companies to get the “healthy difference” needed to return the funding: “We can do 18 to 20 companies, or lead or co-lead. We’ve thought a lot about how we’ve organized the core of the LP. So the LPS that comes in is strategic and provides domain expertise, and market access, but also provides continuity of capital. Most is seeking access to the treaty process. So, in effect, this increases our strength by over 30 million.”
On having a Hollywood actor on one of their LPs, Wyndham added: “He’s actually been my friend and mentor for about 12 years and since then we’ve become friends and shared values. . One of her main reasons is that parenting, and the lack of it, is the final frontier for gender equality. And that’s what we experienced firsthand as three female GPs who gave birth to all of our children while making money. We had to figure out how to overcome the structural headwinds to be able to do both. That’s one of the lessons we hope to share with the environment, and that’s where Anne comes in. “
Pact’s first investment was in Growth Kitchen, a London-based company building sustainable food brands based on data.
Past investments for Pact members include the DocuSign Acquisition Clause. Onto, an electric car booking service; Perlego, an online learning platform; and Yoco, an African FinTech company.