our approach to impact

We are impact investors, which means we make investments primarily to increase the impact of an organisation, and secondly to make a financial return. When assessing a venture we first assess whether it meets our impact requirements:

  • Alignment between commercial activities and social impact, such that increasing the social impact of a product or service is core to the commercial strategy of a business.
  • Commitment to social impact through management processes, personal and corporate behaviour, governance and structure.
  • Inclusion of disadvantaged groups through either tackling problems felt most intensely by the disadvantaged, or ventures that have a proportionate reach or higher for relevant disadvantaged groups.

Measuring and reporting on impact is a crucial part of what we do. We assess the social impact of a venture by trying to understand:

  • what effect it is having on people, using our target outcomes
  • the number of people that will be affected (scale)
  • the level of need in the population reached and the size of the change they experience (depth)
  • the risks that impact may not occur, including the strength of evidence (using the 'standards of evidencescale) and use of data to learn and improve impact.

We are committed to providing a high level of support to companies to identify, measure and articulate social impact and use this to enhance commercial success. We work with investees to collect regular, actionable data on impact as well as implement high quality evaluations over the course of our investment. We seek to be partners in preserving a venture’s social mission by helping to embed impact measurement and management in ventures from an early stage.

A more detailed description of our impact approach is available here.

the impact of our fund

We measure the impact of our fund to understand whether and how we make a difference and to improve our support. The metrics we track are structured around our Theory of Change and include:

  • whether investees have increased their scale and depth of impact since investment.
  • whether investees have improved their financial sustainability since our investment.
  • feedback from our portfolio on the value we add

In 2017, we will publish our first annual report to share our progress and impact as well as understand where we can improve.

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impact team

Lucy Heady

Lucy Heady

Lucy has over ten years of experience of measuring social impact in both the UK and internationally. As Evidence, Measurement and Evaluation Manager at the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) she has designed and managed a variety of evaluations of public and private sector initiatives working with partners including the World Bank, Government of Kenya and Sesame Workshop. Before moving to CIFF Lucy was the Senior Economist at Building Markets where she measured job creation and private sector growth in Afghanistan, Haiti and Liberia. Prior to this she was Head of Measurement at NPC, working with charities to measure their impact in a variety of sectors from crime prevention to violence against women.

She holds an MSc in Economics from Birkbeck College and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge.

Impact Strategy

September 2017

A strategy for maximising social impact

Standards of Evidence for Impact Investing

October 2012

A discussion paper on our approach to impact measurement