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Key Findings

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Investors

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Purpose

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Policy

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Appendix

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Finding Purpose

Techlash narrative

In the United States the Techlash narrative is driven mostly by the Tech giants - the Big Tech breakup plan and the Big Tech backlash account for 26% of the overall narrative. On the other side of the pond, Europe remains focused on data privacy, but conversations on antitrust, tech ethics and the gig economy signal that a bigger Techlash is just around the corner.

80% of VCs say they assess the potential long-term societal and/or environmental impact of an investment, in either a pre- or post-investment timeframe. The largest share of respondents (47%) stated that the impact assessment happens pre-investment as part of the due diligence process.

When, if at all, do you assess the potential long-term societal and/or environmental impact of an investment?

Source:
Note:
Venture capitalists only. Numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Nearly two-thirds of VC respondents agree that in the last twelve months European investors have demonstrated greater concern about the potential societal or environmental impact of their portfolios.

Thinking about the past 12 months, do you agree or disagree with the following: European VCs are demonstrating greater concern about the potential societal and/or environmental impact of their portfolio companies.

Source:
Note:
Venture capitalists only. Numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding.

We believe that Europe can take a leading position in development and investment in the ethical use of technology.

I am more optimistic about the future of European technology today than I was 12 months ago although we are in uncertain times with big problems facing the planet - from climate change to delivering resources such as healthcare, food, and education to a global population approaching 8 billion. Europe is leading the way in building trustworthy technology by choosing to use its values to drive the use of technology to the right place. Being a member of the HLEG-AI group, we published ethical guidelines for the use of AI, and we believe that Europe can take a leading position in development and investment in the ethical use of technology.

Loubna Bouarfa

OKRA Technologies

Founder & CEO

One in five European founders states their company is already measuring its societal and/or environmental impact. Only 14% of founders don't believe it's relevant for their company. Founders who are women are much more likely to be advanced in their approach to measuring impact.

Does your company measure its societal or environmental impact?

Source:

Legend

  • Women
  • Men
Note:
Founders only. Numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Where founders aren't yet measuring their company's impact, it's mostly because they are prioritising other things. Investors can lead the way by prompting founders to think about these issues.

Which of the below statements best describes why you do not measure your company’s impact?

Source:
Note:
Founders only. Numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Founders are most likely to measure their company's impact by tracking CO2 emissions. Engaging with customers through surveys or conversation is the next most common method.

Stated briefly, what type of impact measurement techniques or tools is your company using, implementing or considering?

Source:
Note:
Founders who answered that they measure their company's impact, are considering it or are implementing a tool. Keyword analysis performed on open-ended answers, similar spellings & keywords aggregated.

I see us moving towards a potentially unhealthy dual internet: a free-for-all 'poor man's' web versus a premium web, and I think businesses need to try harder to build products for broader socio-economic segments of society.

One interpretation I have honed in on around 'tech for good' is the idea of 'humane technology', as I think there's a real need to think more clearly through the behavioural ramifications of consumer-tech especially - and its impact on debate/politics/addiction/mental health/etc. I think we have some good thinkers along these lines in the UK, but there remains a contradiction in terms when it comes to business models and the need for rapid returns which still prioritise rapid growth, eye-balls and the attention economy. I see us moving towards a potentially unhealthy dual internet: a free-for-all 'poor man's' web versus a premium web, and I think businesses need to try harder to build products for broader socio-economic segments of society.

Jessica Butcher

Tick

Co-Founder

Investors are most likely to agree with the statement that European technology entrepreneurs will do more to address societal challenges in the next decade than European governments. Policymakers and the media are more sceptical…

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? European technology entrepreneurs will do more to address societal challenges (pollution, congestion, climate change, food sustainability, health, etc.) in the next decade than European governments.

Source:

Legend

  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
Note:
Numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding.

I'm excited to see a new generation of entrepreneurs in Europe who oppose the 'move fast and break things' dogma in favour of a more thoughtful, more resilient, truly long-term approach to business.

'Social innovation' or 'tech for good' is a different approach to entrepreneurship. One that's in contrast with the average MBA-grad, who crunched some numbers and, driven by a search for monetisation, decided to fill a given market niche. I'm excited to see a new generation of entrepreneurs in Europe who oppose the 'move fast and break things' dogma in favour of a more thoughtful, more resilient, truly long-term approach to business. I see more of my entrepreneur friends in Europe looking to build companies that last 100 years, and more of my friends in SV looking for a quick exit. Both approaches to founding companies are valid; I just find the first one to be much more enjoyable.

Valentina Milanova

Daye

Founder & CEO

European founders are trying to solve some of world’s most endemic challenges, achieving transformative impact on climate change, smart cities, economic inclusion and other imperatives of our generation. At the same time, there is an estimated $502B of assets under management focused on impact investment – and greater focus than ever before from investors and consumers alike on sustainability. It’s a very good moment for the purpose-driven entrepreneur.

Perry Teicher

Orrick

Impact Finance Lawyer

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