True Gum produces plastic-free and plant-based chewing gum and has just raised €1 million from venture capital fund Oyster Bay. We’ve been thinking about these investments for some time now as it shows how impact is reaching the mainstream. The product is “sustainable first” and it also keeps the local communities and farmer cooperatives in mind.

Maze X runs an annual acceleration program. In 2020, they have received 238 applications for 10 slots. On Wednesday, the participants pitched their business models in an online setting. It was surprising to see the traction they’ve already built and the impact they are generating. If you are a social entrepreneur, you should seriously consider applying for next year’s program.

Something interesting happened this week. Bridges Fund Management partnered with AEA investors to form a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company). You can take a look at the SEC documents here. What does it mean? They are effectively raising $400-460 million in a public offering to buy one company they still need to identify in due course. Their investment strategy will be focused on these companies:

Businesses that contribute scalable solutions to the UN SDGs, which have positive fundamental growth drivers that deliver attractive financial returns and measurable impact.

Best-in-class businesses that benefit all stakeholders, where we can leverage our impact management expertise to maximize the companies’ positive impacts, build a stronger brand and value proposition, and drive financial return

Businesses which do not currently have best in class impact management practices but where there is an opportunity to re-orient and transform currently negative aspects of business operations to generate positive outcomes; and in doing so, build a more sustainable and resilient business model with a more attractive, less risky and more future-proofed financial return.

US-based ShoppingGives has raised a $5.5 million Series Seed led by Caffeinated Capital. They are basically offering retailers a service so that they can integrate donations in the customer journey. Customers can chose a cause and the retailer donates on behalf of the customer. It is supposed to build trust and loyalty. It would be interesting to see the business plan to see their assumptions about the level of donations they are planning to generate.