Anne Hathaway backs Pact, an all-women led VC for mission-driven startups, from West to East

Anne Hathaway backs Pact, an all-women led VC for mission-driven startups, from West to East

How many VC funds could you name that had three partners have children, had deep connections in Asia and Europe, and included Anne Hathaway as an LP. Not many I’d hazard.

But that’s the profile of Pact, a new Seed VC fund launched with a PS30 million ($36 million) pot of cash to back early-stage startups across Europe. Pact will target “mission-driven” startups in three categories it calls the “ABC”. Access (economic inclusion), Betterment, personal and professional well being, and Climate. This is a more interesting way to address ‘doing well’ areas than trolling out the UN SDGs. The investment tickets for Pact will be between PS1m and 1.5m.

Aside from Anne Hathaway, who is not only an Oscar Award Winning Actor but also a UN Woman Goodwill ambassador, other LPs include Jeff Dean (and former) Head of AI at Google and Keith Teare (a founding (and ex-) shareholder of TechCrunch, and former tech entrepreneur in both the UK and the US.

They are joined by Anchor investor Campden Hill Capital, Yeming Wang (former head of EMEA at Alibaba); Fahd Beg (CEO of Naspers); Todd Ruppert (retired CEO of T. Rowe Price Global, venture partner at Greenspring Associates) and Tilo Bonow (CEO of PIABO).

The three female partners Tong Gu Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham ,, and Monik Pham were all former VCs from other funds. Gu was an investor at ADV (of which Teare was formerly a part) and built a data analytics startup in Shanghai which she exited. Wyndham was an investor in ADV and was a former founder. Pham was part the founding team for Fuel Ventures, an early-stage fund. He also launched several social enterprises in India and Africa.

Reem Mobassaleh Widham told me that they had been raising funds for the fund for a little more than a year (during the first child’s pregnancies), but the idea had been in the works for five or six years. “We both joined ADV the week after each other. We met Monik at the same time. We noticed a few key points missing in the early stage landscape of the UK. Few early-stage fund managers have both operational and deep international experience in emerging markets. That’s what the three of us bring to the table .”

in a very complementary way.

” We believe capitalism should and can be inclusive while still achieving great results,” she said. “And we want it to be able support companies at an early stage that are positively shaping the future. That Northstar has been a guideline for us all as we have built our careers. This is a value we have always believed in, but the market is only now realizing its importance. There shouldn’t be any compromise between commercially viable, environmentally sustainable, and socially sustainable outcomes. Both must be considered. She said that this is a value that all three of them agreed on.

Tong Gui told me: “I grew-up in China and saw how technology and entrepreneurship have allowed a large number of people to become more wealthy and better off. I founded a tech company that allowed small-scale brand owners to compete with larger brands. That was my experience of driving economic inclusion in a tech-enabled manner .”

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Wyndham acknowledged that “it’s not an enormous fund”. However, she said the PS30 million should get them enough companies to get the “healthy diversification” needed for fund returns: “We could do 18 to 20 companies, either leading or co-leading. We have been very careful about how we have managed our LP base. The LPS that have been brought in are strategic. They provide market access, domain expertise, as well as capital continuity. Most are looking for deal flow. So in that sense, this is actually scaling our firepower beyond the 30 million.”

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

On having a Hollywood moviestar among their LPs, Wyndham added: “She’s actually a friend of mine and mentor of about 12 years and since then we’ve become friends and have shared values. She sees childcare and the lack thereof as the final frontier to gender parity. As three female GPs, we have seen this firsthand. We all had our first children while raising the fund. To be able to do both, we had to find a way to overcome the structural obstacles. This is one of the lessons we hope to share the ecosystem. Anne is .”

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Pact’s first investment has been made into Growth Kitchen, a London-based company that launches sustainable food brands based on data insights.

Past investments for the team members of Pact include Clause acquired by DocuSign. Onto, a subscription service for electric vehicles; Perlego, a learning platform online; and Yoco (an African FinTech company).

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