Welcome back – and welcome to a newsletter about our fundraising platform, which I have announced on and off in the past and which has since become a B2B platform connecting companies in the North with start-ups in the South.
Our B2B-Platform opens up new sources of finance for companies in Africa
As previously reported, Impacc won the Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures (BCG DV) Social Venture Programme – the offer to work with a world-class team to develop a digital product to fuel our fundraising. This turned into some of the most intense and exciting months of my professional life.
The original idea was to make giving fun and “sexy” for private donors – a kind of virtual casino where Euros are redeemed for “Impacc chips” and bet on ventures that then grow in value. After a few weeks of analysis, BCG DV’s answer was: “Nice idea – but keep dreaming” (ok well, they put it much more diplomatically): the donation market is too competitive, the barriers to entry for new players are too high, the incentive to participate is too low.
But – and this was the first big insight of the joint project: there is a donation market that is twice as big and much less competitive than the private donation market: corporate donations. The 9 billion euros each year are often used locally and rather unstrategically: a donation to the local fire brigade or animal shelter, and at the end of the year a short report at the Christmas party.
Brainstorming for the B2B platform solution
Our new idea: Can we create value for donating companies if we help them to use it to pay towards their own business strategy? This has turned into our concept of a tailor-made offer: we find those of our ventures that fit strategically with the giving companies (because they are in the same industry, like Villeroy&Boch in Europe and Washking with its organic toilets for slums in Ghana, or because they pay into similar goals like companies that want to offset CO2 and our stoves in Ethiopia that save 1-2 tonnes of CO2 per stove per year); donation money flows in one direction – what is achieved with it flows in the other: Stories, pictures, hard impact numbers. And there is an exchange between entrepreneurs in the South and employees in the North – just as Villeroy&Boch are already exchanging ideas with Washking about smart toilet design. And the whole thing is not an isolated island on the internet, but integrated into the company’s communication channels, so that it is easy to keep up to date.
Our platform solution
The result: more employee loyalty, ideally more attractiveness as an employer, a stronger contribution to the sustainability goals of the participating company. In short: no more begging for donations, but a give and take at eye level. I find it particularly nice that we are also closing a gap in development policy: with corporate donations, we are giving start-ups in Africa access to a source of financing that has been closed to them until now.
The Impacc Team keeps growing
Two months ago, we started to flesh out this idea: in a so-called co-creation process, we won over three companies to shape the concept with us in such a way that they would use it in their company; now it’s time for implementation, and for this, two new colleagues will be starting in June: Ann-Katrin Maier is our new product manager: she studied industrial engineering in Germany and China, built digital products for Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, but much preferred to tinker with a social media platform for surfers in her free time. For marketing and sales (nowadays called “growth”), we were able to recruit Feares ben Hadj, who has already worked pro bono for us in recent months. Feares is also an industrial engineer with Tunisian roots, studied in Hamburg, Cambridge and Calgary, then worked at BCG Digital Ventures and comes to us from Project A Ventures, a renowned – and operational – venture capital fund. How nice that we attract such great people and that they are excited to make Impacc big together with us.
And I’ll report on how it all goes in the next newsletter. All the best, and see you again in August!
Stay safe, Till
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