Social venture capital

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Social Venture Capital is a form of investment funding that usually funded by a group of/ individual Social Venture Capitalist[1] or Impact investor,[2] to provide seed-funding investment usually for-profit social enterprise, in return to achieve a reasonable gain in financial return while delivering social impact to the world.[3] It deviate from the principle of traditional venture capital model, that focus on simple risk & reward. However, there are various organization such as Venture Philanthropy companies, Non-Profits/Foundations deploy simple venture capital strategy model to fund non-profits events/social enterprises/activities that deliver high social impact or a strong social causes for its existence. At the same time, there are Regionally Focused Organizations that target specific region of the world, to help build and support the local community on a social causes, for-profit or non-profit.[4]

Investment Criteria[edit]

Apart from the traditional venture capitalists focusing on just the financial profit, social venture capitalists believe in achieving financial success through social impact to the world.[5] Beside, those Venture philanthropy funds such as Venture Philanthropy Partners initiate investment in a high-performing nonprofit organization,[6] the following criteria that social venture capitalists generally assess on social venture companies for funding:[7]

  • Strong Social Impact
  • Financial capacity
  • Scalability
  • Best-Practice
  • Criteria of exclusion

Types of Funding & Growth Support[edit]

For-Profit Funding & Growth Support[edit]

Social Venture Accelerators[edit]

Social Venture Accelerators is a form of Seed accelerators that fixed termed, cohort-based entrepreneurial development programs designed to transform validated idea of the social startups companies to seed funding. Hence, increase the outcomes for sustainability and growth of startup companies that have potential to scale(usually tech-based companies). Such programs allows startup companies to gain exclusive visibility to early stage investors and other resources such as providing initial investment, technical facilities/development, to office accommodation and under the guidance of experienced mentors, all of which in return of a minor share in the invested startups companies,[8] or under grant funding to support participating companies.[9] Seed Accelerator companies will assess based on startup companies' business model and ensure market/customer sector validated, to develop a commercial validity of the social startup companies to investment ready and prepare to scale their impact.[10]

Social Incubators[edit]

Business Incubator usually provides business with facilities and funding with the help of external management team to manage an idea that was developed internally. Given the intense efforts involved, the incubator period usually lasted longer the Seed Accelerator, and takes up a much larger amount of equity than Seed Accelerator as well.[11]

Social Incubator Fund[edit]

As part of effort of UK Government to support social ventures from a grassroots level to deliver positive social and environment impact, a £10 million Social Incubator Fund, which was launched on 24 July by Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd. The fund run by Big Lottery Fund will increase the amount of money available at the early stages of projects where the financial return is too low [12] while Big Society Capital invests social investment intermediaries that carries higher financial risk.[13] However, such funds doesn't indicate free funding, as incubators such as Social Incubators North, a social business incubator[14] provided a repayment interest free loan of £25k to successful applicant. On the other hand, newly launched Non-For-Profit incubator Halcyon Incubator targeting on the social impact that the social ventures deliver, does not require equity in the fellow’s venture, but only a commitment to growing ideas to achieve social change.[15][16]

Non-Profit Oriented Funding and Support[edit]

Venture Philanthropy deploy simple venture capital strategy model to fund non-profits events/social enterprises/activities that deliver high social impact or a strong social causes for its existence. Organization such as Amanter Social Venture providing such services focusing on social principles as main assessment criteria and running programs to help existing social organization/enterprise through capacity building and executive training. Hence, to deliver a multiplier effect to next beneficiary organizations.[17] The classic example of Benetech, a non-profit organization,show that the proceeds gain was being used to create a handful of new social enterprise patterned.[18]

Regionally Focused Organizations such as Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) and the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), are association that covers venture philanthropy funds targeting certain regions such as Europe and National Capital Region that finance charities, revenue generating social enterprises and socially driven business.[19]

Forms of Social Ventures Funding[edit]

Social Ventures unusually faces ranges of funding options not limited to the common ones such as debt capital with participation rights, mezzanine financing (quasi equity) or license fees.[20]

Debt Capital + Mezzanine Capital[edit]

Common forms of funding such as Debt Capital + Capital. Such funds supports the social ventures with invested capital that must be repaid either in short or long period of time, in additional with an agreement amount of interests. These raised capitals are usually secured with the assets of the company, by the lenders from banks and venture capital companies.[21] In other words, if the company failed to repay their debt capitals, would results their ownership and equity interest to be liquidized. Noted, that mezzanine financing usually blinded with a high returns of 20% to 30%.[22]

Equity investments[edit]

Social venture capital companies will usually made equity investment and co-investments, when an anticipated exit strategy of the company is foreseeable.[23] Such investment are made through preferred shares which commonly entitled the lenders a fixed divided that takes priority over that of ordinary share dividends, usually without voting rights.[24]

Investment Approach[edit]

To effectively maximize the fund’s capital to deliver social impact, Social Venture Companies attracted to successful financing social enterprises that shows growth and financial sustainability, usually when anticipated exit strategy of the company is foreseeable,[25] especially for young venture capital firms to minimize their exit from the invested companies, to maximize the opportunity of future fund raising, especially, when prospect of exits beyond the 7 year periods decreases for companies going for Initial public offering (IPO) and merger and acquisition.[26]

Investor Tax Relief Scheme[edit]

Venture Capital Scheme[edit]

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)[edit]

The Enterprise Investment Scheme is a tax advantaged scheme designed to help companies that at their early growth stage to raise equity finance from investors. Through this scheme, qualifying investors are able to calm income tax relief of 30%, plus exemption from capital gains tax when enterprise investment scheme shares are disposed of.[27]

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)[edit]

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme is a tax advantaged scheme designed to encourage investment from investor in higher-risk small companies that are in their early growth stage to raise equity finance. With contrast the existing Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), the SEIS allows qualifying investors can claim income tax relief of 50%, plus capital gains tax relief.[28]

Venture Capital Trust (VCT)[edit]

The Venture Capital Trust Scheme is a tax advantaged scheme designed for a HMRC-Approved VCT company to chip in for shares in, lends money to small unquoted companies. Under scheme, the VCT companies itself exempt from CT on chargeable gains and their investors can claim income tax relief on subscriptions of up to £200,000.[29]

Social investment Tax Relief[edit]

Social investment tax relief scheme is designed to encourage more social investments from investors to support social enterprise by introducing a range of tax relief schemes such as Income Tax relief, capital gains hold-over relief and capital gains disposal relief. SITR covers investments made on or after 6 April 2014.[30]

Income Tax Relief[edit]

Investors(need not to be UK resident) who subscribed to qualifying shares or make qualifying debt investments in the social enterprise that meet SITR requirement, are able to calm at 30% of the amount they invested, to a maximum investment of £1,000,000 up to 5 years after the 31 January following the tax year in which the investment was made.[31]

Capital Gains Hold-Over Relief[edit]

Investors are able to defer the payment of tax on a capital gain of any kind of disposed asset, when the capital gains are reinvested in the share or debt investment which qualify for SITR Income Tax Relief. However, it must arise in the period from 6 April 2014 to 5 April 2019. The SITR qualifying investment must be made in the period one year before or three years after the gain arose.[32]

Capital Gains Disposal Relief[edit]

Any gain on the investment that is disposed after it has been held for at least three years, are free from Capital Gain Tax, in additional to the Income Tax Relief coverage on the cost of the investment. .[33]

Alternatives Funding[edit]

Business Angels/Angel Finance[edit]

Business angels are usually a group/single individual investors with a high net worth pool of investments looking for opportunities to invest in an enterprise, to achieve a reasonable amount on return of investment. As business angel funding involves investors injecting funds into a startup/private company in return for a share in its ownership, businesses that operate as sole traders or partnerships are usually not eligible for such financing.[34]

Crowdsourcing[edit]

Crowdsourcing is a practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet.For-profit fundraising companies using strategies such to charge a premium on "keep what you raise” model or a minor charges on an "all-or-nothing funding approach" [35] However, particularly for Social Crowdsourcing, non-profit organization such as razoo to help social enterprise or non-profit, student organization to raise fund for event or charitable causes.[36]

A List of Social Venture Capital Firms[edit]

  • Renewal2

Renewal is an investment funds that primarily focus in the region of British Columbia. They have built up a strong base in the region that enable them to leverage from their resources and extend their influences to carry their mission to foster social change[37]

Acumen Fund is non-profit that raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas in one of their investment sectors of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health, Housing, or Water, that are changing the way the world tackles poverty.[38]

  • AgDevCo

AgDevCo is a project developer in agribusiness; incorporated as non-for-profit distribution, limited company in the UK. They invest in patient capital into early stage agribusiness in Africa and connect them to market.[39]

Unitus Seed Fund is a seed-stage investment fund based in Bangalore and Seattle. They support the startups with funds, connections to external opportunities, mentoring and poised them in securing future growth capital.[40]

Grassroots Business Fund is an investment company that use private investment funds to support non-profit organization in the low income communities.[41]

Triodos Bank is a world-leading sustainable bank that fund that promote sustainable development to positive social, environmental and cultural change through their innovative financial products and high quality service.[42]

Aavishkaar aims to create economic development by supporting entrepreneurial spirit at the base of the economic spectrum, that often overlooked by financiers due to their small economic of scale and high level of risk incurred.[43]

Omidyar Network is an investment funds that believe that, with given opportunity to the capable people, they create positive return to the world. Omidyar focused on 5 keys areas for their investment: Consumer Internet and Mobile, Education, Financial Inclusion, Government Transparency, and Property Rights.[44]

Shell Foundation is an independent charity established by the Shell Group in 2000. They helps to tackle some of the social and environmental issue that related to the energy sector through application of the business foundation. Leverage on the existing skills and network of Shell Group to deliver greater development impact.[45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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