I was so dismayed when I read the story about a venture-backed company that went out of business and left its suppliers in the lurch, many of them small businesses.
Although venture capital is the source of funding for less than 10% of fast-growing firms, as I wrote in a previous post, the impacts of venture-backed businesses are more wide-spread. As in the example of Munchery, the venture-backed company had the potential to positively impact small businesses by directing new business opportunities and economic flows through its supply chain.
In the Access to Essential Resources impact, means of exchange (i.e. money or currency) is one of the categories of essential resources and supply chain is one of the types of access. In other words, providing economic opportunities to others through the supply chain is one way of helping people access essential resources of exchange (i.e. money or currency).
The Business Impact Canvas is a tool built upon the popular and widely-used Business Model Canvas, which helps people create a visual depiction of their company’s business model. Business Impact Canvas is in turn, a visual depiction of the areas within a business model through which a company could have a positive impact. A company could be intentional about directing economic opportunities (Key Activities) towards small, local, and environmentally-friendly or eco-conscious businesses (Key Partners), thereby including them in the economy and helping them be financially sustainable.
Another example of positive impact by helping people access essential resources of exchange through the supply chain is Pique Fund portfolio company, MuseFind. MuseFind CEO Jennifer Li Chiang told me that 60–70% of the influencers they work with are women. I previously wrote about the future of work and noted that the influencer community includes micro-entrepreneurs and people who need flexible work opportunities, especially women, people on low-incomes and from marginalized communities. The evolving influencer marketing industry enables people to build and support their livelihoods based on creativity and visual story-telling.
It’s important to look at all parts of a business model — not just the value proposition and revenue generation — for positive impact. As the Munchery debacle shows, we need to be mindful about how we treat all participants in the business model — including suppliers.
About Pique Ventures
Pique Ventures is an impact investment and management company. Pique Ventures enables a diverse community of investors to pursue integrated investing. Integrated Investing helps investors evaluate and choose early-stage ventures that help create a better world by improving access to essential resources.