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Germany: EIF invests in impact-driven venture capital fund Ananda

    Date: 28 September 2021
  • Ananda`s fourth VC-fund invests in start-ups that address health, education and climate challenges.  
  • The EIF provides €15-20 million, backed largely by the European Recovery Programme.
  • Ananda Managers now want to increase the final closing target to €90-100 million.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) has committed €20 million to the new Munich based Ananda Impact Fund IV. Ananda invests mainly in Germany and the UK in innovative start-ups that address health, education and climate challenges. At the first closing in August, Ananda has already raised €65 million, surpassing its initial target by €25 million. Therefore, the managers extended the final closing target from €75 million to €90-100 million.

The EIF, an affiliate of the European Investment Bank (EIB), has already signed €15 million of its €20 million commitment. €13,2 million of this were drawn from the European Recovery Programme (ERP, formerly Marshall Plan). The EIF is already involved in the second and third Ananda Funds. Other investors into the fourth fund are the British social economy investor Big Society Capital and German family offices. 

Impact investments are private capital investments that go beyond a pure focus on risk and return and that aim to bring about positive social or ecological change. Ananda is one of Europe`s leading impact venture capital providers and a stage-setter for this market segment in Germany, that in Germany up to date is relatively small in comparison to the UK and France. 

Ananda’s success highlights the now growing market interest in supporting startups that do not just talk about purpose but have it as an integral part of their business model. With a portfolio of companies that sees significant opportunity in scaling social and ecological innovation, the fund-manager is well placed to continue supporting European technology businesses that are committed to tackling big and bold societal and climate challenges.

Examples that impact investment is also highly profitable for investors are the sale of Kinderzentren Kunterbunt, which specializes in kindergartens for companies in Germany, and Arbor Education, that supports schools in the UK in becoming digital.

At the same time, Ananda`s portfolio companies are becoming real global leaders in their field, showing that impact innovation and leadership can be combined with tangible, profitable financial results. Examples here are Auticon, a company that conveys people with autistic diseases as IT-specialists, and IESO Digital Health, that delivers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) online to people experiencing common mental health issues.

Ananda was founded in 2009 by Johannes Weber and Florian Erber. They believe that the success of the fourth fund highlights how attitudes towards impact investing have changed. “Ten years ago it was an immature market, with no terminology and vague notions. Our Venture Capital peers at the time would look at us and wonder ‘What are you doing? Can you really make money?’ But we’ve had some strong exits to show, with high return”, Erber said.

Ananda`s target companies have impact inherently baked into their business model: “The simple formula that more turnover equals more impact holds for all investments”, Erber said, and added: “The latest investments in Klim (Carbon Farming) and OroraTech (Satellites to prevent wild fires) show that this not only works well with social impact, but also with ecological impact. Alongside impact, ethical leadership and governance is at the heart of Ananda.” Younger professionals entering the workforce are expecting employers to have a purpose. That gives Ananda`s portfolio companies a head start in attracting talent that helps them building stable and diverse teams.

Alain Godard, CEO of the European Investment Fund, said: “Ananda Ventures is a true pioneer with a strong track record in the growing impact investing market in Europe. That we have now invested for the third time in a row is testament to the team’s expertise and knowledge when it comes to supporting impact-focused businesses and securing effective returns.”

Johannes Weber, Managing Director at Ananda Ventures, said: “We’re seeing a fundamental reshaping of finance taking place. Younger investors want to provide support that is aligned with their values, and there is the desire for private fortunes to be directed in more meaningful ways. This evolution requires the tools and mechanisms to support their goals. Impact investment vehicles, like Ananda’s Core Impact fund, are at the forefront of this change.”

Zoe Peden, Principal at Ananda Ventures and a former entrepreneur and investee in Ananda Fund II, said: “I spent my formative years in tech as a female founder CEO and I have felt the importance and positive impact of diversity in founders, teams and investors. I’ve also experienced the incredible tolls on your mental health. The majority of the team at Ananda have also been entrepreneurs. We’ve lived it and we want our founders to live it better! Diversity, equity and inclusion, founder health and carbon reduction sit proudly alongside impact in our term sheets. These topics feature strongly in our internal growth as a team and of course in the support we provide to our portfolio companies.”

Alexandra Joseph, Senior Investment Team Officer, Big Society Capital, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Ananda, that is leading the way in the venture capital market as a dedicated impact-driven fund manager. We have been impressed by its ever-growing track record in supporting and scaling startups that create transformative impact in areas like educational technology, health and employment and financial inclusion. We look forward to seeing its continued success - and how its approach will continue to inspire others in the venture capital market to shift towards social impact.”

Background information:

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments, which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

Ananda Impact Ventures is the leading impact-focused venture capital fund with a pan-European investment remit, managing €150 million in four Core Impact Funds, with backing from notable institutional and private investors. Ananda backs technology businesses committed to having a positive impact that answers the most pressing social and ecological challenges of our time, in a way that is both scalable and sustainable. The active portfolio includes Auticon (IT consulting for people with autism), Open Bionics (bionic prostheses for children), IESO Digital Health (online psychotherapy) and Ororatech (which uses satellite technology to combat forest fires).

Press contacts:

Donata Riedel, d.riedel@eib.org, Tel.: +49 30 590047 912, Mobile: +49 151 1465 9021
Website: www.eif.org - Press Office: www.eib.org/press +352 4379 21000, press@eib.org
Follow us on Twitter @eif_eu

Hannah Looks, hl@ananda.vc, for DACH inquiries, Tel. +49 89 767 75 170

Zoe Peden, zp@ananda.vc, for UK inquiries, Tel. +49 89 767 75 170

Website: www.ananda.vc


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