Pique finds itself at the intersection of impact investing, venture capital, and diversity (included within that are gender lens investing and the women’s economy). As a consequence of this, we receive referrals to a wide variety of opportunities. Pique Fund has an investment strategy and criteria with which we evaluate opportunities to determine if they are a fit for our fund or not. We are mindful of what startups we still need.

One of our lenses is an impact lens. Identifying and assessing the potential for positive impact is baked into our evaluation methodology.

We don’t invest based on a specific impact theme like healthcare or cleantech. We invest in companies that we believe improve access to essential resources, to enable people to survive, thrive, and be happy – this is the embodiment of our overarching impact investing approach of taking care of the village. We have this lens because we believe if everyone has access to the essential resources they need and if we can help to reduce inequality gaps in access, then more people have what they need to survive, thrive, and be happy – this is positive impact.

As a starting point in our investment evaluation, we often refer back to access to essential resources:

  • Who is benefiting?
  • What is the essential resource that a venture is providing access to?
  • What is the level of access?
  • What is the improvement in access?

This last question is a very interesting and important one. If the access is simply greater convenience for people that already have basic and efficient access to a resource and it doesn’t reduce a gap in access, the venture is most likely not an impact venture.

We meet entrepreneurs that aren’t familiar with our lens and way of identifying and evaluating impact. They believe their technologies or ventures help people – and they probably do – but not in ways that reduce inequality gaps, level the playing field in some way, or take care of the village. Some entrepreneurs try to figure out how to position themselves for our impact lens and most times it’s clear that reducing inequality gaps, leveling the playing field in some way, or taking care of the village has not crossed their mind before.

Meeting with us is not about positioning and trying to squeeze into an impact box. It’s about fit and shared purpose.

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For more details on the concepts of access to essential resources and impact investing as taking care of the village, buy Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.

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