Europe | March 5, 2020

Dutch impact investing ecosystem matures and diversifies

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 5 – With its €40 million first fund, Social Impact Ventures has played an influential role in building the Dutch impact ecosystem for the past five years. The Amsterdam-based firm has backed 13 early-stage social enterprises in the Netherlands with investments ranging from €500,000 to €4 million, with two exits. Its approach of linking its carry, or share of profits, has been adopted by The Wire Group and other Dutch impact fund managers. When FinCo Fuels Group bought out Social Impact Ventures’ stake in biofuels company GoodFuels, the gasoline retailer committed in deal documents to continue tracking Social Impact Ventures’ impact metrics.

The firm, now raising a targeted €80 million second fund, aims to play an even bigger role in bridging the early-stage capital gap for impact startups in the Netherlands.

“The question we got four years ago when we started was, is there enough pipeline?” Social Impact Ventures’ Willemijn Verloop tells ImpactAlpha. “We’ve seen the growth of young ventures in our pipeline, and we can easily double what we’ve done in the last four years because we now have a developed pipeline.”

Other Dutch impact investors are crowding in:  

Think locally. The portfolio of Inclusif Social Capital’s blended-finance fund includes pay-for-success initiatives focusing on veterans and asylum seekers in the Netherlands. 4impact’s early-stage impact fund backs Dutch social software companies. Waterman Ventures focuses on mission-driven life sciences and energy companies. Triodos Investment Management enables Dutch retail investors to invest for impact. Amsterdam has its own student fund, ASIF Ventures, which invests in Dutch student- and graduate-led social ventures. The Hague’s ImpactCity initiative aims to recruit international startups and “scale-ups” to launch and expand in the city.

Act globally. Private Dutch funds driving emerging-markets impact deals include Goodwell Investments, which is looking to invest €100 million in social enterprises in Africa. C4D Partners invests to empower Asia’s small businesses. Oikocredit is an emerging markets impact lender. Impact investing network Pymwymic invests in funds and early-stage impact ventures globally.

Foodie funds. The second largest agricultural exporter in the world is home to a number of food-focused impact funds, including aquaculture fund Aqua-Spark, Rockstart Agrifood, Hivos Food and Lifestyle Fund and Rabobank’s new €80 million sustainable agriculture initiative. The Netherlands’ development bank, FMO, anchors numerous impact funds investing in emerging markets. Dutch government-backed Dutch Good Growth Fund, managed by Triple Jump, is a key capital source for emerging markets impact fund managers.

An earlier version of this article misstated the size of Social Impact Ventures’ first fund as €30 million and target size of its second fund as €60 million.