Web Summit chooses sustainability theme
The central theme for this year’s Web Summit, to be held totally online, reflects the growing enthusiasm for sustainability and Impact Investment.
Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return and Web Summit organisers believe there are opportunities to make that financial return.
More and more investors are interested in impact investment which is aligned with the United Nations sustainable development objectives.
However, the main area of attraction for investors continues to be fintechs according to the Web Summit organisers.
“We believe that our second-to-none network of entrepreneurs and leaders can and will have a crucial role in the fight against climate change and catastrophic loss of biodiversity,” says Alex Mackenzie who is responsible for investors at Web Summit.
This year’s event will involve 60 companies focused on impact investment and a further 100 outside this category that may also end up being interested in this type of opportunities.
In all, the investors have a total of US$300Bn and Mackenzie highlights the growth of institutional investors.
One of the big names doing the rounds is Union Square Ventures, which is increasingly looking at this sustainable sector.
“Without a doubt investors believe in a more sustainable future,” and it is based on this vision of the future that many investors will factor in when making their choices,” says Alex Mackenzie.
Nevertheless, when it comes to impact investment “some have already made their calculations, others have yet to, but in any case, if there is one area that has been under-explored then the area is impact investment,” he says.
Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return and Mackenzie believes there are opportunities to make that financial return.
In this event there will be 75 round tables in which the participants will debate the latest hot topics, with impact investment being at the centre of the debate at 20 round table discussions.
Since 2017 sustainability is one of 25 industries in which startups are attracted to; there were 62 in that year, 57 in 2018 and 77 in 2019.
The interest in impact startups is particularly focused on two sub-categories: those that present rigorous techniques to measure impact and make it easy for users to control these environmental impacts.
Second, those startups with the technology that enable a reduction in costs for the client while also being more sustainable.
Even so, the sustainable area of Impact Investment does not top the agenda of many delegate companies and startups at this year’s Web Summit which still remain focused on Fintechs whose technology is at the heart of the financial and accounting technology transformation of all companies.
Financial technology companies (Fintechs) describe new tech companies and startups that seek to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. At its core, fintech is utilised to help companies, business owners and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes, and lives by using specialised software as a service (SaaS) and algorithms that are used on computers and, increasingly, smartphones.