September 27, 2019

Stars or strategies – who to back? The impact investment dilemma

Great investments are about backing great people with fantastic ideas – right? Or does the best impact come from clear planning and a touch of realism and humility? In the wonderful but messy world of social change, investors reveal their different approaches and philosophies around risk and judgement, in this latest article in partnership with Pioneers Post.


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Great investments are about backing great people with fantastic ideas – right? Or does the best impact come from clear planning and a touch of realism and humility? In the wonderful but messy world of social change, investors reveal their different approaches and philosophies around risk and judgement, in this latest article in partnership with Pioneers Post.

Tim Draper is a US billionaire and one of the world’s most successful venture capitalists. When he invests he is looking for “the start-up hero,” he told an interviewer earlier this year, an inspiring individual who will drive a project forward and get results.

“Sometimes the entrepreneur overrules everything else,” Draper said, “because they’ll figure it out.”

Finding and funding brilliant individuals is central to this vision of making more money. But what about when we are trying to do more good?

The venture philanthropy movement – which is modelled on venture capitalism and includes measuring impact, giving business support and using loans or equity, alongside traditional grantmaking – is growing. So are Europe's foundations also starting to move away from basing their decisions on spreadsheets and project plans to focus more on inspirational social entrepreneurs? And if they are not – why not?

Read the entire article here.

Hear more from pioneering foundations and their role in financing innovations at our 15th Annual Conference, Celebrating Impact, taking place in The Hague, 5-7 November.

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