FAQs

  • what is impact investment?
  • why is Nesta entering this space?
  • who is eligible for investment from Nesta Impact Investments?
  • do you invest in charities?
  • how do I apply for investment?
  • do I need to submit a full business plan upfront?
  • do you invest in start-ups?
  • how long will an application take?
  • do you provide grants?
  • how much investment is available from Nesta Impact Investments?
  • does Nesta Impact Investments expect a return on its investment?
  • do you charge fees?
  • who are your investors?
  • Impact investment is the provision and use of capital to generate social as well as financial returns. Some interpretations of impact investment include the provision of capital without any expectation of financial return. When we refer to impact investment, however, we mean investment to generate social impact, with the expectation of financial return
  • Nesta has a 15-year track record of supporting innovation in the UK, whether by dedicated research, intelligence, programmes and grants to tackle some of the UK's biggest challenges, or by investing directly into the most promising technology-based and social venture spaces. Nesta Impact Investments brings together the skills and expertise developed from this experience. With this fund, we want to support social ventures that can address what we know are substantial issues affecting an ageing population, children and young people and communities across the UK
  • Nesta Impact Investments is focused on innovative social ventures that address our target outcomes. We will only invest in ventures supplying their services in the UK. Read more about what we look for from an investment.
  • Yes, we are actively looking to invest in registered charities as well as private companies with a strong social mission
  • Firstly, read our guide to applying for investment for more information on the process and what we look for. Then complete our application form. An investment officer will respond to your enquiry within 10 working days.
  • At application stage, an executive summary is sufficient. However, we expect organisations to be able to supply a business plan in the early stages of investment conversations.
  • We do not invest in absolute start-ups, pilots or proof of concept. We invest in 'early stage' organisations that are at least past the proof of concept stage, are generating some revenue and are showing signs of market demand. Our investment would then be used to scale up the organisation.
  • The length of due diligence process depends on the nature and stage of your business. We try to inform unsuitable applications as quickly as possible
  • No, we do not provide grants of any kind
  • We invest between £150,000 and £1million in any one funding round. Where impact and financial performance is on track, we will invest over multiple funding rounds
  • Yes. The rate of return will depend on the type of investment we provide. For equity investments, we will look to make a reasonable ROI (typically 15-25% IRR), together with achievement growth in impact. For debt deals, interest rates will be discussed on a venture-by-venture basis but will vary between 8-12%
  • Only once investment is agreed and in place. We then charge a completion fee, reimbursement of any legal expenses incurred (up to an agreed cap), and an on-going monitoring fee
  • Nesta Impact Investments benefits from a portfolio of socially minded investors, including Nesta, Big Society Capital and Omidyar Network