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Edition: March 2019

Facing the rise of the conscious consumer, sustainability as a global movement is heavily impacting the strategy of large corporations. The urge to be green as well as ethical is also a significant driver of innovation in the startup world.

But what defines true sustainability? What creates a difference between real purpose and mere lip service? Can Venture Capital take an active part in promoting sustainability alongside revenue growth and capital efficiency? How could the focus on sustainable business models be a stronger value driver for VC firms?

With now 20 years of investment history as a reliable long-term partner for innovators worldwide, we are proving Acton’s approach to sustainable investing since 1999.

Best regards

Jan-Gisbert Schultze

THE ACTON ANGLE

PROFIT AND PURPOSE - SUSTAINABILITY AS CHALLENGE IN THE VC ECOSYSTEM

High-speed growth and the critical consumer
The internet enables customers to make more educated choices and to question corporate behavior. A recent Deloitte study found that 55 percent of consumers will pay extra for products sold by companies committed to having a positive social impact. This growing importance of sustainability is boosted by the impact of social media. Through multiple social platforms, critical consumers can spread their opinions to a wider audience, ultimately taking an active role in shaping business conduct, products and services.

Meanwhile, new technologies and businesses growing at large scale lead to a massive influx of capital. This creates a culture of intense speed of growth and high visibility. The main critique of fast-growing companies is often geared towards a lack of sustainability with a bias in favor of momentum and rapid revenue growth, quick exits together with shareholder profit.

Customer loyalty requires holistic approach and true integrity
Even the world’s most-notorious asset manager, dubbed a “vast money machine”, BlackRock, makes the case for a broader, more ethical stance to investing. CEO Laurence Fink indicated earlier this year: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Sustainability as key factor for consumers’ trust and loyalty requires an authentic, holistic approach and not just hollow words. Koio, a luxury sneaker brand based in New York City, puts a strong emphasis on sustainability in the entire value chain...

READ MORE
PORTFOLIO NEWS

DEALS.
Summing up a busy second half of 2018, we look back at four successful exits in four countries, as well as a follow-on financing in Zenjob's Series B round (€15m, led by Axa Venture Partners).
4 EXITS IN 4 COUNTRIES

In late summer, Scout24 finalized the acquisition of Finanzcheck. In October, Toronto-based portfolio company Chefs Plate joined the global platform of HelloFresh to create the largest meal kit provider in Canada. Meanwhile in Sweden, Shopify acquired tech startup Tictail while corporate giant Walmart announced to take over fashion retailer Eloquii in the US.
NEW IN PORTFOLIO

In December, Acton led the 13m$ Series B in Berlin-based SaaS startup and digital fleet manager Vimcar. With its digital trip log, Vimcar is solving the everyday problem for company car owners, who need an easy-to-use and tax compliant solution. At the same time, Vimcar is offering a SaaS suite for fleet administration to SMEs. We are excited to support the Vimcar team on their further growth path.
tech.euHorizont

The first quarter of 2019 already brought significant follow-on financing rounds in three of our portfolio companies: Cluno (28m$ Series B led by Valar), Mambu (€30m Series B led by Bessemer Venture Partners) and iwoca (£150m in combined equity and debt, led by Augmentum Fintech, Prime Ventures and NIBC):
Cluno

After Acton’s Series A investment in April 2018, Cluno, a Munich startup providing a flexible and all-inclusive car subscription service, has raised $28m in Series B funding. The round was led by Valar Ventures from New York and will enable Cluno's further growth in Germany. TechCrunch

Mambu

Mambu, leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) core banking solution, has raised €30m to fund its targeted six-fold step up in revenues. Founded in 2011, Mambu powers today more than 6,000 loan and deposit solutions, serving more than 9m customers in 50+ countries. EU Startups.

iwoca

London-based FinTech iwoca has closed a total fundraise of £150m (€173m), led by a series D funding round (£20m) and £130m in debt capital. Founded 2011, iwoca offers working capital to SMEs trading all over UK and in Europe via an automated lending platform. tech.eu


INSIGHTS.

Berlin taking over Silicon Valley - After raising more than $150 million in funding, Berlin-based metasearcher HomeToGo has acquired its largest US rival Tripping.com and is now extending its market leadership.
Gründer WiWo, Skift

Joining the SaaS Revolution - Former SAP CEO, Henning Kagermann talks about what motivated him to be a part of Mambu's board and his vision for the future of SaaS and the financial services industry. Mambu hive

New premium mobility and a 911 for everyday - Portfolio company Cluno announces its exclusive cooperation with Porsche. The new sports car-flat “Cluno X" allows customers a flexible and all-inclusive Porsche subscription via app and without any long-term commitments. Automotive World
PR case study: On-demand staffing platform Zenjob publishes in-house survey on the best and worst paid student jobs in Germany. This earns high-quality media coverage and is quoted on national level.
Spiegel Online
ACTON TEAM
WELCOME ON BOARD.

Bettina Engert from FlixBus joins the Acton team in Munich - After writing the success story of mobility venture FlixBus, Bettina is now switching perspectives from startup to VC. As one of the first executives, she was responsible for Flix’ corporate communications since 2012. By guiding the market entry in Germany, Europe and the US, international M&A deals as well as the launch of new products like FlixTrain, Bettina has a proven track record in internal and external communication. Our portfolio companies will benefit from her experience to shape a corporate's reputation and brand from early-stage to global player. Bettina took over the position as Director Communications from Dr. Aline Vedder, who joined the team of impact investor Ananda Ventures in September 2018.

Welcome to the team! Together we will continue to raise Acton's profile as strong and reliable partner for founders and investors worldwide.
MEET US
UPCOMING CONFERENCES.

Private Investor Circle HTGF (March 21), Cologne/DE: Fritz

Start Summit (March 21 - 22), St. Gallen/CH: Julius

Gründerszene Spätschicht (March 28), Munich/DE: David, Julius & Bettina

Deutsche Börse, Investor Talks (April 2), Munich/DE: Fritz

Berlin Demo Day (April 3), Berlin/DE: Fritz

EY Startups Meet Investors (April 4), Düsseldorf/DE: Fritz

TechExit.io (April 10), Vancouver/CA: Hannes

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL-West) (April 24), Vancouver/CA: Hannes

Q-Summit (April 24 - 26), Mannheim/DE: Julius

EU-Startups Summit 2019 (May 2 - 3), Barcelona/ES: Frank
 
The Next Web, May 9 - 10, Amsterdam/NL: Frank, David & Julius

Rise of AI Conference 2019, May 16, Berlin/DE: Fritz

Swiss Startup Days, May 28, Bern/CH: Frank

HTGF Family Day, May 28 - 29, Bonn/DE: Fritz
Any questions, thoughts or comments? Specific topics that you’d like us to comment on? Feel free to drop us an email or to stop by our Munich office for coffee.
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