by Nick Lyth, CEO and Founder of Green Angel Sydicate
by Jonny Hughes, Chief Executive Officer, WCMC and honorary member of Green Angel Syndicate
It is autumn, and as sure as the leaves on the trees turn from green to gold, so begins the retailers’ inevitable long haul towards Christmas. John Lewis Oxford Street unveiled its Christmas display on 26th September, just three days after the official start of autumn and a full three months ahead of the festival itself.
Despite all the effort that retailers have traditionally put into persuading us to buy and buy more over the last three months of the year, the peak of the shopping season, it seems that not everyone is convinced. There is a growing movement of conscious consumerism that is gaining support, particularly amongst young adults and those overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ in their lives.
Our 26th September pitch event at Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell, London, was packed with more than 90 attendees and a fantastic line-up of five companies. The companies represented very different sectors, from buildings to industry to electric vehicles to online second-hand shopping. However, all of them had not only a very strong investment case but also a very clear contribution to make to solving the climate crisis – so all were perfectly aligned with Green Angel Syndicate’s objectives:
I am new to angel investing but not new to caring about environmental issues. As a mother my absolute highest priority is helping to protect my children’s future and I am trying to do that on a multitude of fronts, one of which is investing in green start-ups.”
The business world is starting to recognise that recovery and reuse of resources in efficient circular business models, as an alternative to the using-up of virgin resources, is a major opportunity. Whether it is the flow of materials, component parts or entire products, circular principles allows us to make and do more with less, and offer the potential to reduce (or even reverse) the negative environmental impacts of our economic activity.
Green Angel Syndicate has already invested in two circular business companies, Alusid and BuyMeOnce, and is close to completing a third, Smile Plastics.
As Green Angel Syndicate celebrate our second-year anniversary and winning ‘Syndicate of the Year’ at the UK BAA Awards on 2 July, what a perfect time to review the progress we have made so far.
Ultimately, we will judge ourselves on the success of the businesses that we will collectively have funded – and it is still too early for any meaningful track record, notably in terms of exits.
However, like last year, we wanted to report on our investment activity for the benefit of our members – including how many proposals we have received; how many investments have been completed and for what amount; and finally, how we have selected the companies that we have invested in and how they fit with our strategic mission.
Our 6th June Pitch Event at Browns Covent Garden in London was another record-breaking success, with a packed, engaged audience of more than a hundred, five new excellent pitches and a very positive update from one of our existing live deals.
Of the six presenting teams, three focused on segments of the renewable energy value chain, and the three others on equally essential sectors of the green economy: energy efficiency, the circular economy and clean agriculture.
Heating accounts for half of energy consumption globally, and over a quarter of total CO2 emissions – so decarbonising heat must be an urgent priority.
However, this is a complex, multifaceted, thorny issue – with no single one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a variety of possible technologies which are both competitive and complementary; and the real-life impacts of the transition to zero carbon heating will be significant, in terms both of investments required and of disruption at customers’ premises.
Imagine the world in 10, maybe 20 years time. What will it look like? If we are to believe the conclusion of COP 24 in Katowice at the end of last year, and the publication of the IPCC Report shortly before it, the natural world is now irrevocably committed to the warming trend.