- Connected Asset Management acquires Bethnal Green Ventures
- Bethnal Green Ventures to retain independence to scale its tech for good VC investment operation
- The tie-up provides a new opportunity to meet growing demand for impact investment from DC pension funds including the aim of taking Net Zero impact investment from niche to mainstream
London-based asset manager Connected Asset Management, an impact-focused investment management firm, has announced the acquisition of Europe’s leading early-stage tech for good venture capital company Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV).
BGV is an award-winning VC that invests in ambitious founders using technology to create positive impact at scale. It is one of the five most active venture capital firms in the UK and has invested in the likes of Fairphone – the world’s most sustainable smartphone, DrDoctor – a patient platform unlocking effective care, and Organise – the UK’s leading campaigning platform for better conditions at work.
The move is part of Connected founder and MD Darren Agombar’s vision to build a new breed of impact fund that offers a simple solution for its DC pension provider clients to engage in impact investing. The tie-up will allow pension funds to take advantage of the high-growth opportunity to invest in British tech start-ups with clear and measurable social and environmental impact.
In addition to tech for good, Connected also plans to deliver investment solutions to deploy capital towards assets including microfinance, social housing and clean energy.
BGV will continue to retain its independence as it scales its VC investment operation and will work under the Connected group umbrella.
Darren Agombar said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with the brilliant BGV. Venture capital and growth equity is transforming society and building the high growth companies of the future. By bringing BGV into the Connected group, pension savers can now also benefit from the high returns that investing in these firms can offer over the longer term whilst helping to deliver positive social and environmental change.
Despite the prospect of progressive regulatory reform to allow DC pension funds to invest in this type of illiquid investment, it is still something very few providers have managed to do, preferring to invest in listed and passive investments that are cheaper to manage.”
He continues: “We hope by taking the lead and demonstrating that investing in companies with good corporate governance, positive climate change principles and social purpose, is not just a question of values, it is evidence of doing good business and a source of untapped financial returns.”
According to a report by the British Business Bank and Oliver Wyman, DC pension funds are not only failing to invest in key high growth companies capable of supporting important economic expansion, they are missing out on the higher returns associated with this type of investment.
It found if savers invested in high potential start-up companies via venture capital, returns for the average 22-year-old pension saver could increase by between seven and 12 per cent and there were also potential gains for older savers, suggesting a 45-year-old with a £50,000 pot could expect to see between six and seven per cent increases.
Connected Asset Management announced last year it had become one of the UK’s first FCA-regulated positive impact investors to certify as a B Corporation dedicated to using business as a force for good. BGV was the UK’s first VC firm to become a B Corp in 2015.
Paul Miller, BGV CEO and Managing Partner, said: “It’s an extremely exciting move for BGV to be joining the Connected group. We believe the most successful businesses of the future will be tech for good and it’s fantastic that Darren and Connected share this vision.
By creating better solutions to big social and environmental challenges, tech for good businesses tap into huge market opportunities, benefitting people and the planet at scale while also making fantastic returns. More and more investors are recognising this opportunity, especially in London, which is the top global hub for tech for good with VC investments into the space increasing exponentially in recent years.”
He concludes: “Over ten years ago we noticed the increasing demand from talented and ambitious founders to use their skills to tackle real problems at scale. We’ve since become the go-to early-stage investor for these people. Our strategic partnership with Connected is the perfect home for us to accelerate our mission even further to be the world’s best source of inspiration, investment and support for founders building technology ventures that will improve millions of lives.”
About Connected Asset Management
Connected Asset Management is a B Corp certified and FCA-regulated impact asset management group founded by Darren Agombar in 2019. Darren has decades of experience of operating at a high level in global financial markets, developing investment strategies for leading DC pension funds and is an expert in behavioural economics and impact investment. Darren is a co-founder of leading UK DC pension provider Smart Pension. Connected provides asset management services to Smart Pension, the fast-growing UK workplace master trust.
All enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Bethnal Green Ventures
Bethnal Green Ventures is Europe’s leading early-stage tech for good VC, investing in ambitious founders using technology to create positive impact at scale. Since 2012 BGV has invested in 141 companies building solutions to social and environmental challenges, positively impacting the lives of 17m people. BGV has unrivalled experience and track record investing in and scaling tech for good businesses, generating top-tier returns for investors, as well as significant and measurable impact. BGV was the first UK VC to become a certified B Corp in 2015, has been recognised as one of the top UK VCs to know by Financial Times’-backed Sifted, and in 2020 CEO and Managing Partner Paul Miller received an OBE for services to startup investing.
Most recent impact report: bit.ly/BGVImpactReport2020
All enquiries: email@example.com
For press enquiries: Liz Slee 07540060112