The DNA Profit with Purpose Prize is in collaboration with Bridges Ventures and the UN Office for Partnerships. The DNA Profit with Purpose Prize will go to a UK-based entrepreneur whose business has the potential to deliver both attractive investment returns and positive social or environmental impact.
The DNA-Profit with Purpose Prize comprises of an investment of £100k in the winning business plus ongoing hands-on support and expertise from the Bridges Ventures Angels Group as well as the broader Bridges Ventures network of investment professionals, partners and advisors. In addition, the winning business has the potential to secure follow-on investment from Bridges Ventures provided certain milestones are achieved.
Message from Michele Giddens – Co-Founder of Bridges Ventures
The last decade has seen the beginning of a sea-change in perspectives on how business, finance and investment relate to wider social and environmental issues. Concerns ranging from the widening gap between rich and poor, to the challenges of climate change, or the volatility of our financial system and its impact on society, are pushing social and environmental impact to the centre of investors’ agenda.
Since it was founded in 2002, specialist fund manager Bridges Ventures has played an important role in this fast-changing investment environment, having successfully backed businesses that combine strong commercial returns with positive social impacts. In the process, the team is showing that entrepreneurship and hands-on investment can be powerful tools to address some of the challenges facing society today.
As some of the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial minds gather in London for the DNA Summit, Bridges decided to partner with DNA to run the ‘Profit with Purpose Prize’ – a unique opportunity for a charismatic entrepreneur with a passion to make a difference to secure a £100k equity investment and hands-on support from Bridges and a group of angel investors who have agreed not only to fund the prize, but also to dedicate time to take part in the selection process and provide on-going support to the winner.
The search started in March with a call for applications from UK-based entrepreneurs who were already running a scalable business with the potential to deliver strong commercial results and high social impact. A charismatic and passionate individual, the ideal candidate would also be able to inspire others by showing it is possible to build a sustainable, profitable business that can really make a positive contribution to society.
The competition attracted more than 75 entries, and 13 candidates were invited to pitch in front of the Bridges team and the angel investors. Businesses ranged from sustainable food sourcing to waste management solutions, to education and training apps, to charitable fundraising platforms. What all the candidates had in common was a passion to grow a business that could generate strong profits and contribute to make the world a better place.
The high quality of applications made it very difficult to narrow down the search to the three finalists who will now face a panel of judges composed of successful entrepreneurs and investment professionals including Richard Reed (Innocent Drinks), Graham Hill (Treehugger.com), Mark Florman (DNA), Joe Fairley (Green & Black) and Michele Giddens (Bridges Ventures), among others.
Bridges Ventures and the angel investors would like to take this opportunity to thank all the talented, inspiring entrepreneurs who entered the “DNA Profit with Purpose Prize” and congratulate this year’s winner Timto as well as ReVision App and Compare & Share the two finalists for having advanced to the final stage of the competition.
WINNER of the DNA Profit with Purpose Prize 2013
Timto – Nathan & Luke Cornish
Timto has developed a unique gifting platform, “Uplifting Gifting”, which aims to reduce the wastage of unwanted gifts and make donating to charity an integral part of any gifting occasion. The platform allows a user to invite a group of friends to chip-in to a gift fund, which can then be used to purchase a desired item, whilst donating to charity at the same time. Unlike other businesses in the space, Timto’s revenue model does not rely on a cut from the funds ear-marked for donation or the purchase of a desired gift, but from the commissions earned through the platform’s retail partners. As such, Uplifting Giving is free to both charities and users, and also welcomed by retailers who value the incremental business – a powerful economic and high impact model. Brothers Nathan and Luke have seen their young start-up receive very promising traction from both major charities and retailers, who are keen to promote the service to their donors and customers, respectively.
Runners Up for the “DNA Profit with Purpose Prize”:
Revision App – Jermaine Hagan
Founded by Jermaine Hagan with the aim to improve access to educational content, Revision App was developed to make mobile learning simple. Whether it is fractions or Spanish verbs, Revision App uses professionally-developed educational content, a unique algorithm and an easy to use graphical interface to provide users with an effective and affordable mobile learning solution. The current suite of 8 apps delivers a revision session every 30 seconds to a user-base of 500,000 students through a combination of flashcards and audio & video clips available on their smartphones. The business operates a freemium revenue model, with users offered a basic level of content for free and a more comprehensive package at a cost. Revision App has proven hugely popular amongst students, ranking #1 in Apple’s App Store Education chart for 21 days and featured as their “Top Education App” in both 2012 & 2013.
Compare and Share – Benita Matofska
Compare and Share is the world’s first comparison marketplace for the Sharing Economy – a one-stop online aggregator where people can find and compare products and services which aim to save money and reduce waste through the sharing of resources. Compare and Share has initially focussed on aggregating car sharing services – the fastest growing segment of the Sharing Economy – and plans to expand into the comparison of travel, property, peer2peer rental, skills, employment and finance services. The business operates a lead-generation revenue model, which relies on payments from service providers for driving consumer traffic to their sites. Founded by Benita Matofska, their goal is to become the first “global consumer-facing social-impact brand connecting people with each other and with the goods, services and experiences they want”.
About Bridges Ventures
Bridges Ventures LLP (’Bridges Ventures’) is specialist fund manager dedicated to using an impact-driven investment approach to create superior returns for both investors and society at-large.
It was established in 2002 with a mission to use its commercial expertise to achieve focused social or environmental benefit, as well as attractive returns for investors. Bridges Ventures has raised six funds to date which total almost £300m: Sustainable Growth Funds I, II and III, the Bridges Sustainable Property Fund, CarePlaces Fund and the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund.
UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP)
The United Nations Office for Partnerships serves as a gateway for partnership opportunities with the United Nations family. It promotes new collaborations and alliances in furtherance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and provides support to new initiatives of the Secretary-General. UNOP provides Partnership Advisory Services and Outreach to a variety of entities, as well as anaging the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), established by the Secretary-General in March 1998 to serve as the interface in the partnership between the UN system and the UN Foundation, and the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), established by the Secretary-General in July 2005 to support democratization throughout the world. The office, headed by Officer-in-Charge, reports to the Secretary-General. The Deputy Secretary-General, oversees the day-to-day operations of UNOP.