Unconventional Ventures is Europe’s first impact fund focused on underrepresented founders

Nora Bavey, Unconventional Ventures

Nora Bavey, a dedicated mother of three and former edtech founder, unexpectedly transitioned into a prominent impact investor four years back. “I decided to become the investor I had been hoping to meet while fundraising for my own startup,” says Nora.

Unconventional Ventures (UV) was founded in Denmark in 2018, and is Europe’s first impact fund focused on underrepresented founders (identifying as women, LGBTQ+, POC, and/or immigrant) building scalable tech companies with impact at the core.

“We like to see that the founding team has a deep understanding of the specific problem”

When it comes to the investment selection process, UV has a clear investment thesis. Companies must first have impact at the core of their business model, targeting environmental or social solutions.

Secondly, the founders must be part of a historically underfunded group.

“We like to see that the founding team has a deep understanding of the specific problem, either through personal experience or through someone close to them,” explains Nora.

This ensures that solutions come from people with a deep understanding of the problem, its context, and dependencies, as well as a strong drive to develop effective solutions. 

Big potential in climate solutions

In the realm of climate solutions, Nora observes promising trends.

“It’s great to see that impact investing is a rapidly growing segment of the financial industry worldwide,” she notes.

This growth is evident in the Nordics, where over €100 billion was invested into impact tech companies between 2017-2021.

“More than 70% of this was allocated to those tackling the UN’s SDG number 13, Climate Action, but there is still a huge untapped potential in impact investing with many potential future winners along the journey,” Nora highlights.

Nora sees significant gaps in current investment practices, particularly in recognizing the potential of combining diversity and impact.

“Very few are open to accepting the data-backed fact that teams with a high degree of perspectives lead to higher levels of innovation and have also proven to generate greater returns,” says Nora.

Looking for new underrepresented founders

Unconventional Ventures will launch its sixth annual report on the funding gap in the Nordics and beyond this year.

“We have decided to create our own dataset to visualize this gap,” she reveals. If you know an underrepresented founder building a tech startup, encourage them to take part in our survey launching mid-September.

For those interested in exploring how we can harness the power of culture and technology to drive meaningful impact, Unconventional Ventures is opening up part of its ecosystem for the first time and invites you to join them at the House of Culture in Copenhagen on September 10th.

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