12 exceptional growth-stage ventures striving to impact access to quality health, clean energy, and waste management in developing countries
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (the EPFL), Orange, and SAP have released the 12 finalists of the Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative, which aims at identifying and showcasing midcap impact ventures in developing countries with the catalytic potential to drive both large impacts and yield sustainable profit. As the second cohort of the initiative, the selected finalists represent the most innovative and investment-ready ventures that are transforming access to health, energy, and waste management in developing countries. A highly competitive selection, the process starts with nominations from impact investors and UN agencies. Finalists represent the best 5% of the 240 recommended enterprises that met the criteria across the world.
“The GSIV is one of the most rigorous selection processes to identify Post-series A ventures focusing on solutions that empower people at the bottom of the pyramid and actively contribute to poverty reduction in developing countries. The quality of the pipeline was exceptional, with ventures from the Global South presenting solid business models and impact track records. This edition was highly successful as we received almost twice the amount of nominations we did last year, which also shows the appetite from the investment community to share deals. Altogether our 12 finalists represent USD 48 million investment opportunities, as they impact the lives of 1,240,000 people in need and serve 22,300 businesses.”, noted Alessandra Rojas, Sustainable Entrepreneurship Manager at EPFL Tech4Impact.
All ventures will participate in a virtual pitching event on June 3rd, 2021, then attend the SDG Finance Geneva Summit, during the Building Bridges Week in November 2021.
The 2020 Call for Nominations only accepted impact ventures having raised at least USD 500 K, providing products and services for low-income people which reduce inequalities (with particular attention to gender inequalities) through better access to quality health, affordable and clean energy, and by reducing and recovering waste. Only ventures nominated by third parties (accelerators, impact funds, family offices, international organizations, etc.) and with headquarters, primary workforce, and service provision or product market in developing countries were eligible for the selection.
Out of the 12 finalists, 7 have over 50 % of women in C-suite positions, and all but one employ between 11 and 100 people (25% have more than 100 employees). One of the finalists is from Least Developed Countries.
“We strongly believe in the value of our selection process. We have the capacity to screen a gold mine of innovators that are shaping the new economy in developing countries. The 2019 GSIV alumni increased their annual revenues by 39% between in 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis. 50 % of them raised at least one equity round in 2020, up to $5 million. The pipeline we built is a great avenue to redirect large amounts of capital towards transformational impact investing” added Sarah Bel, UNDP SDG Finance Geneva Summitmanager.
The GSIV selection takes place within the framework of the UNDP SDG Finance Geneva Summit. The broader objective of the summit is to promote SDG-aligned investments, 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.