Now is the time for impact angel investors

In exactly 9 years from now, this time of year will be a time to remember! At the turn of year from 2029 to 2030, we will know if our efforts to reduce our impact on climate change were enough and if we achieved to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius in comparison to pre-industrial levels.

I personally always like the end/start of a year, with things calming down a bit and giving me some headspace. As an impact angel investor, I keep asking myself if what I am doing with my portfolio is enough to help achieve the needed avoidance of CO2 emissions, especially as my road as an impact investor was pretty bumpy in my first few years. It is fair to say that I underestimated what it really meant to support my investments and how difficult it is for any business but especially impact focused hardware start-ups in emerging markets to get from angel investments, to seed funding or even to Series A. The valley of death all of a sudden had a very different meaning to me.

However, looking into the next year, I am seeing many positive signs on the horizon. Starting with the upcoming change in administration in the US and their promised plan for a clean energy revolution and environmental justice, to the European Green Deal with completely new funding and cross-collaboration opportunities across the EU for start-ups, to the fundamental change how corporate organizations are being held accountable for their sustainability strategy not only by their shareholders but ultimately also by their customers. I see more and more start-ups popping up that focus purely on sustainable products and services and start putting pressure on established industries to enhance their offerings. And these start-ups need investments now to test their ideas and make their product visions a reality.

So here is my conclusion. If you want to be an impact angel investor, this is the time to make it count. It will take a lot from you in terms of resilience and support, but the clock is ticking, and it is worth it. Looking at the investments in my portfolio and how they will contribute until 2030, they will have avoided several million tons of CO2. Such a positive impact is only feasible through invested money and not with money sitting in the bank. And if this is not convincing enough for you yet - there is a new founder-led movement which will yield a completely new form of start-ups and replace unicorns - zebras that are profitable whilst focusing on impact and sustainable growth.  

Rainer Hönig
January 2021
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