It’s been too long, we’re glad to be back. Welcome to the new Nesta Investments website
If you are a regular visitor to the Nesta Investments website (Hi Mum!) you’ll could be forgiven for thinking that not much has been happening in the Impact Investment world for a while. That’s because we didn’t update our old site as we were working on the revamp. To be honest it took us longer than we expected but we got there in the end and as a result there’s some exciting new stuff to catch up on.
So why the new site? Well fundamentally we are beginning to think in a more connected way about Nesta’s investment activity. In the past we looked at our endowment, venture, impact, program related and arts investment work as separate activities. Operationally we have been closing the gaps between these activities, getting better at sharing knowledge and aligning strategies. It was about time that we started to bring this together in our website too.
You will still see that there is information in investments on the main Nesta site and the Arts and Culture Finance site, but increasingly this site will bring together information relating to all our investment activities.
In addition there have been some changes to our impact investment work that called for a refresh. We reached the end of the investment period of our first externally focussed impact investment fund at the end of 2018. We looked at raising a successor fund with external partners but found that we had yet to develop a sufficiently mature track record as a team to meet the risk and performance expectations of mainstream investors like pension funds and that there was, at the time, not sufficient capital in the foundation and endowment space allocated to our kind of impact investment to enable us to raise a sustainable fund.
I think that 12 months after we decided to suspend fund-raising access to capital remains a challenge for “deep impact” fund managers, especially those seeking to support mission led businesses (as opposed to providing capital for the not-for profit sector). We are exceptionally lucky to have the support of our trustees and the capacity of our endowment which means that despite our fund-raising challenges we continue to operate in impact investment using our own capital.
This change to the source of our funds gives us increased flexibility to invest in things that we believe are and will be significant without being constrained by rear view mirror assessments of impact, increased patience without being constrained by the closed ended nature of a typical VC investment fund and an increased desire to invest in activities that Nesta is building ground-breaking knowledge around in fields such as Ed-tech, Digital Health, Collective Intelligence, Circular/Shared Economy where we hope we can add real value to investee companies beyond the provision of capital.
What is the same?
Some things have not changed though. Social Impact remains at the heart of what we do. Backing this up with evidence remains critical and we continue to develop our impact measurement and management approach that is pragmatic and proportionate to meet the needs of founders and enterprises as well as investors.
We continue to use capital to try to change the world for good, and we continue to try to use our experience of doing this and knowledge of social challenges to use the world to change capital for good.
We still have access to the deep pools of knowledge and access to networks that come from being embedded in Nesta. We believe that investing in innovation, disruption and challenging the status quo is a fundamental need for a better future and we will keep trying to provide the best support we can for people hungry to build sustainable, scalable and significant solutions to some of our biggest societal challenges.