Twelve Mature Impact Venture Finalists from 11 developing countries selected to pitch at the SDG Finance Geneva Summit (SGS Geneva)
Geneva, 29 July 2019 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Orange and SAP announced today the twelve Post-Series A finalists, selected through the first Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative. The finalists work on reducing inequality through improving access to health; energy and climate data; and financial services.
Following the GSIV call for nominations this spring, 76 third-parties, including accelerators, foundations, impact funds and international orgnaizations, submitted 119 proposals from 40 developing countries.
Eighty-five percent of the nominated ventures had raised at least half a million dollars at the time of nomination, and closed their Series A. In some cases, ventures were well beyond, even approaching Series C. The 12 finalists are all mid-sized, with an average of up to 50 employees, annual revenue of over US$3 million, and with a cumulative impact on more than 15 million lives through their products and services.
The GSIV initiative aims at sourcing mature and innovative products and services contributing to the SDGs in developing countries. It is a collaboration between the UNDP Office in Geneva, EPFL Tech4Impact, Orange and SAP Next Gen.
“Through our partnership with EPFL, SAP and Orange, and with the support from a myriad of actors from the private sector, the UN and the broader development community, we were able to identify top entrepreneurs with solid business models and impact track records from across the developing world. They show there is a business case for the SDGs, even in the most difficult contexts such as Somalia”, noted Maria Luisa Silva, Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva.
“We are delighted to support UNDP in its focus on Post-Series A impact ventures that address the SDGs. Contrary to the multitude of awards and competitions targeted at early stage start-ups, the companies invited to the GSIV have the potential to bring about rapid and positive change at scale, targeting in particular the bottom of the pyramid”, said Julia Binder, Project Leader of EPFL Tech4Impact.
Each venture will be invited to attend a one-day preparatory workshop at EPFL and to participate in the SDG Finance Geneva Summit, where they will have the opportunity to pitch to potential partners including investors, large corporates and international organizations.
“As a corporate venture capital investor, it has been very exciting to be part of this selection process that puts the spotlight on performing ventures which deliver social and environmental impact across their countries. The quality of the applications reviewed is a great sign of hope with regard to this new generation of entrepreneurs”, added Gregoire de Padirac, Investment Manager, Orange Digital Ventures.
"The GSIV selection builds on elements we believe in to catalyze achieving the SDGs: fostering ‘innovation with purpose’ through partnerships connecting growth-oriented ventures with purpose-driven corporates, institutions, NGOs and academia”, commented Ann Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and Global Head of SAP Next-Gen. “By working together, we can inspire ventures to embed purpose into their innovation methodologies, and to use technology to accelerate and scale impact for disruptive solutions that reimagine a sustainable future.”
The GSIV selection takes place within the framework of the SDG Finance Geneva Summit, previously known as the Social Good Summit (SGS) Geneva, which will take place on Wednesday 9 October 2019.
The broader objective of the SGS Geneva is to promote SDGs compatible finance, showcasing emerging market examples of businesses that do well by doing good. By bringing together the unique ecosystem of development professionals, investors, development finance institutions, academia and entrepreneurs, UNDP aims to catalyze a shift of capital from mainstream finance to impact investing with a focus on addressing the SDGs.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
EPFL is one of Europe's most vibrant and cosmopolitan science and technology institutions, located in Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva.Tech4Impact is EPFL’s sustainable impact initiative and the key instrument for enhancing the University’s social and environmental impact in research, innovation and entrepreneurship.
SAP is the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software, serving more than 437,000 customers in more than 180 countries. SAP’s purpose it to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. With courage, perseverance, and breakthrough technology, SAP customers are tackling some of the world's biggest challenges.
The SAP Next-Gen program is a purpose driven innovation university and community for the SAP ecosystem enabling companies, partners and universities to connect and innovate with purpose linked to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 41 billion euros in 2018 and 149,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2019, including 90,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 264 million customers worldwide at 31 March 2019, including 204 million mobile customers and 20 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 27 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.