November 17, 2022

ESG venture capital, IAG invests in sustainability

IAG alongside companies to create value through ESG operational best practices. Joining VentureESG represents IAG's first step to ride the trend of sustainable investments, a fast-growing trend with more than $120 billion invested globally in ESG by 2021.

Italian Angels for Growth (IAG), Italy's leading seed venture capital firm, has joined VentureESG, a VC community that unites more than 300 funds worldwide, whose goal is to help the venture capital industry recognize the importance of ESG and to provide and share resources and guidance to make ESG a standard part of due diligence, portfolio, and fund management. A group whose mission is to replace greenwashing with real action, transparency, and accountability, given the now growing need for action on multiple fronts: environmental, economic and social.

The global business community is making sustainability a central theme of its strategies and daily operations. Sustainability has been shown to offer many benefits, including enhanced investment performance. A social duty also shared by venture capitalists (VCs) and startups.

Investing in companies that incorporate ESG values represents a great opportunity to differentiate oneself in an increasingly competitive venture capital market while actively contributing to solving the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Considering the great support from European institutions and the growing interest of institutional investors in supporting sustainable investments, investing today in startups that incorporate ESG principles means that tomorrow you are more likely to enhance the value of your investments in exits or raise follow-on funding from institutions that adopt ESG policies and objectives.

Joining VentureESG represents IAG's first step to ride the trend of sustainable investments, a fast-growing trend with more than $120 billion invested globally in ESG by 2021, which sees international players such as BlackRock committed to investing a trillion dollars by 2029. Italy is not excluded from the opportunity and the commitments expressed in the NRP demonstrate this. There were 486 innovative social and environmental startups in 2021, up 28 percent from the previous year, growth among other things higher in relative terms than the general growth in the number of innovative startups attested at 12.1 percent.

IAG is committed to adhering to the practices proposed by VentureESG and sits at international tables to help set industry standards. VentureESG's proposed tools outline the parameters and guidelines that the team will incorporate into screening processes and indicate key aspects on which to focus.

Among IAG members' latest investments is in AWorld, a platform that enables companies to engage employees and customers on sustainability issues, promote the adoption of more environmentally friendly behaviors, and measure the impact of actions taken. In the past few years, AWorld has won numerous awards, including Impact Now 2019 and Zurich Innovation 2020, thanks to its 'work to combat climate change. Most recently, it was chosen by the United Nations as the official app used by the UN to support the global "ActNow" campaign against climate change.

Silvia Pugi, IAG Screening Committee member and expert on ESG issues: "IAG's role is to invest in innovative, visionary companies that will define tomorrow's economy. The issues of economic, social, and environmental sustainability have entered the definition of the strategies of the most advanced companies, giving them a social role that goes beyond profit alone, redefining the way in which business model, production, supply chains, labor relations, customer and territorial relations are defined. Looking to the future, sustainability thus becomes indispensable in every investment choice IAG makes."