Anne Hathaway backs Pact, an all-women led VC for mission-driven startups, from West to East • TechCrunch

How many VC funds can you name that have had three partners raising a fund, had a baby, had deep ties in Asia as well as Europe and the US, and included actress Anne Hathaway as an LP? Not much will threaten me.

But that’s the profile of Deal, a new seed VC fund launched with a £30 million ($36 million) pot of cash to back early-stage startups across Europe. The agreement will target ‘mission driven’ startups called the “ABC” categories: Access (financial inclusion), Betterment (personal and professional well-being), and Climate. (This is a very interesting way of addressing areas that are ‘doing well’ rather than falling out of the UN SDGs, IMHO). Pact’s investment ticket will range from around £1m to £1.5m.

As well as Anne Hathaway (she’s not ‘only’ an Oscar-winning actress, but also a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador), other LPs include Jeff Dean, head of AI at Google, and founding (and former) shareholder Keith Tear. of TechCrunch and former tech entrepreneur in the UK and US.

They are joined by anchor investor Campden Hill Capital; Yeming Wang, former head of EMEA at Alibaba; Fahd Beg, COO of Naspers; Todd Ruppert, retired CEO of T. Rowe Price Global and venture partner at Greenspring Associates, and Tilo Bonow, CEO of PIABO.

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Three of the female partners—Tong Gu, Reem Mobasaleh Wyndham, and Monique Pham—were former VCs at other funds. Gu was an investor in ADV (which Teare was previously a part of) and built a data analytics startup in Shanghai that she spun off. Wyndham was also an investor and a former founder of ADV. Pham was part of the founding team of early-stage fund Fuel Ventures and launched several social enterprises in Africa and India.

Speaking to Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham, she told me that they had been fundraising for less than a year (during pregnancy and with the first child) but that the idea had been “in the works” for about five or six years: “We both joined ADV the same week. . And, that’s when I met Monique. What we saw within the early-stage landscape in the UK were some key things that were missing. There are very few early-stage fund managers that have both overseas operating experience and deep operational experience in emerging markets. And this That’s something that the three of us bring to the table very complimentary.”

“We believe that capitalism should and can be inclusive while still producing great results,” he added. “And we really want to be able to support companies at this early stage that really positively shape the future. We’ve all built our careers with that Northstar as a guide for us. It’s a value we’ve always supported, but it’s now at this point. It’s just that the market is really coming around to it. There shouldn’t be a trade-off between socially sustainable, environmentally sustainable and commercially sustainable outcomes. You have to think about both. And that’s a value that the three of us came up with together,” she said.

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Tong Gu told me: “I grew up in China, and I saw how entrepreneurship and technology enabled people below the poverty line to become rich and improve their lives. I started a tech company that enabled independent small brand owners to compete with the big ones. And for me, that was really an experience of financial inclusion, but in a kind of technology-enabled way.

Wyndham admitted “it’s not a big fund”. However, she said the £30m should get them enough companies to get the “healthy diversification” they need to get the funding back: “We can do 18 to 20 companies, either leading or co-leading. That’s how we’ve curated our LP base. We’re very thoughtful. So the LPSs that come in are strategic and they provide domain expertise and market access, but they also provide capital continuity. The vast majority are looking for access to deal flow. So in that sense, it’s really scaling our firepower above 30 million. “

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

On the Hollywood film star being among their LPs, Wyndham added: “She’s actually been a friend and mentor of mine for about 12 years and since then we’ve become friends and shared values. One of her big causes is childcare, and the lack of it, the ultimate for gender equality. As a limit. And we’ve experienced firsthand as three female GPs with our first children while raising this fund. We’ve had to figure out how to overcome structural headwinds to be able to do both. That’s one of the many lessons we hope to share with the ecosystem. We do, and that’s where Annie comes in.”

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Pact’s first investment is in Growth Kitchen, a London-based company that launches sustainable food brands based on data insights.

Past investments for contract team members include an acquisition clause by DocuSign. Onto, an electric vehicle subscription service; Perlego, an online learning platform; and Yoko, an African FinTech company.


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