Collaboration on the rise among social investors

Venture philanthropists across Europe are increasingly collaborating to make joint investments in projects, a new survey reveals.

The European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) survey 2015/16 was published on 3 November during the organisation’s annual conference in Paris.

The survey, The State of Venture Philanthropy and Social Investment in Europe, showed that co-investment is a key component of venture philanthropy organisations’ investment strategies: 63% have invested in the past and 19% are interested in co-investing in the future.

Of these respondents, 70% said they have invested with other venture philanthropy organisations. This is an increase of 30 percentage points since the EVPA’s last survey in 2013/14.

Bernard Uyttendaele, CEO of EVPA, said: “We are really excited to see this rise in co-investment, which, to us, indicates more collaboration, a pooling of resources, expertise and best practices to ultimately see more impact.”

The 108 venture philanthropy organisations which participated in the survey were mainly non-profit organisations, including independent and corporate foundations, and registered charities.

They included the UK’s Big Issue Invest and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation based in Luxemburg, the Ikea Foundation in the Netherlands and Spain’s La Caixa Foundation.

More than half of respondents had annual budgets of less than €2.5m. Social enterprises and non-governmental organisations were their key target investees.

We are really excited to see this rise in co-investment, which indicates more collaboration, pooling of resources and expertise

Those that had co-invested did it with several different types of organisation including other venture philanthropy organisations, venture capital and private equity investors and mainstream banks.

The survey pointed out that this indicated that pooling resources and sharing risk are increasingly important for venture philanthropy organisations.

Other key findings included:

  • The majority adapt the funding they offer to their investees.
  • Governments, their own endowments and trusts are the main sources of venture philanthropy funding.
  • Grants remain the most popular financing instrument.
  • The main beneficiaries are children and young people, followed by people in poverty.
  • The most common way to strengthen their investees’ organisations is through strategic support, followed by assistance on their revenue strategy and financial management.

The full survey and a summary infographic are available here.

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