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

How many venture capital funds can you name the three partners who all gave birth while raising money, have extensive connections in Asia as well as Europe and the US, and include actress Anne Hathaway as an LP? Not much I want to be dangerous.

But that’s the profile of Pact, a newly launched Seed VC fund with £30 million ($36 million) in cash to support early-stage startups across Europe. Pact will target ‘mission-driven’ startups in what it calls the “ABC” category: Reach (economic inclusion), Improve (personal and professional well-being) and Climate. (It’s a much more interesting way to tackle ‘doing well’ areas, rather than figuring out the UN SDGs, IMHO). Pact’s investment tickets will range from around £1m to £1.5m.

As well as Anne Hathaway (she’s not ‘only’ an Academy Award-winning Actress but also a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador), other LPs include Jeff Dean, Head of AI at Google, and Keith Teare, a shareholder founder (and former) of TechCrunch and former tech entrepreneur in the UK and US.

They are joined by investor Anchor Campden Hill Capital; Yeming Wang, former head of Alibaba’s EMEA; Fahd Beg, COO of Naspers; Todd Ruppert, Retired CEO of T. Rowe Price Global and joint venture partner at Greenspring Associates, and Tilo Bonow, CEO of PIABO.

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The three female partners — Tong Gu, Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham and Monik Pham — were VCs of other funds. Gu was an investor in ADV (of which Teare was formerly a part) and built a data analytics startup in Shanghai that she left off. Wyndham is also an investor in ADV and a former founder. Pham is part of the founding team of the early-stage Fuel Ventures fund and has founded several social enterprises in Africa and India.

Speaking to Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham, she told me that they had been fundraising for over a year (when they were pregnant and had their first child) but the idea had been “done” for about five or six years: “Both of them. the two of us joined ADV the same week. And we met Monik at the same time. What we observed in the early UK scene was a few key things missing. There are very few early stage fund managers with both operational experience and deep overseas operating experience in emerging markets. And that’s what the three of us, in a very proud way, bring to the table.”

She added: “We believe that capitalism should and can be inclusive while still producing great results. “And we really want it to be able to support early-stage companies that are really positively shaping the future. We’ve all built our careers with that Northstar as a guide for us. It’s a value we’ve always espoused, but it’s only at this point that the market really cares about it. There should be no trade-off between socially sustainable, environmentally sustainable and commercially sustainable outcomes. You have to think about both. And that’s the value that all three of us aspire to,” she said.

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Tong Gu told me: “I grew up in China, and I have witnessed how entrepreneurship and technology have helped a large part of the population that used to live below the poverty line become richer and live a better life. how better theirs. I started a technology company that allows independent small brand owners to compete with larger ones. And for me, it’s the experience that really drives the inclusive economy, but in a way that’s powered by technology.”

“It’s not a big fund,” Wyndham admits. However, she said the £30m would get them enough companies to get the “healthy diversification” needed to make the fund profitable: “We can invest from 18 up to 20 companies, led or co-led. We’ve been very thoughtful about how we manage our LP facility. So LPSs are strategic and they provide domain expertise and market access, but they also provide capital continuity. The vast majority are looking for access to the trading process. So in that sense, this is really scaling our firepower beyond 30 million.”

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

On having a Hollywood movie star among their LP, Wyndham added: “She was really a friend and mentor of mine for about 12 years and since then we became friends and have common values. One of her big causes is childcare, and the lack of it, is the ultimate frontier for gender equality. And that’s something we’ve experienced first-hand as three female GPs, who all had their first children in this fundraiser. We had to figure out how to overcome the structural obstacles to be able to do both. That’s one of the lessons we hope to share with the ecosystem, and that’s why Anne joined in.”

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Pact’s first investment was made in Growth Kitchen, a London-based company dedicated to launching sustainable food brands based on data insights.

Past investments for Pact team members include Terms acquired by DocuSign. Onto, an electric vehicle registration service; Perlego, an online learning platform; and Yoco, an African FinTech company.


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