This focus is now more important than ever. In the face of the worst global health crisis in living memory, access to safe, secure, and healthy water, food and energy is more important than ever.
The portfolio of companies invested in by GAS members naturally includes a large proportion of companies that are working in these vital resource sectors. Although these sectors are among the very few sectors in the economy that are still thriving, because we cannot live without these resources, we recognised that many of the Portfolio companies would be adversely affected by the crisis. Hence we undertook a review to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our portfolio companies. We have now completed that review and are pleased to present it to you now. Its objectives are to determine:
Whilst we are unable to publish sensitive company details in this open forum we have summarised the responses received in the belief that by sharing the common reactions and anticipated mitigations of our portfolio companies, they and others will gain confidence that their present situations are not unique and that a brighter future is not so far away.
Unsurprisingly, many of the responses were predictable but there were a few surprises.
Impact on the Companies
This last point echoes comments reported in the financial press recently that the current adversity is forcing us all to rethink our values and the purpose of business and finance. This serves to reinforce the need for change that has long been part of the message of Green Angel Syndicate and has been embedded in the criteria for investment. Hence this is reflected in our Portfolio companies.
New Risks to the Businesses
Again, this last point is encouraging. It shows a conformity of opinion that strong customer relationships will survive the crisis. In the rigorous due diligence that we believe is a hallmark of our methodology and success, the importance of our portfolio companies' direct relationships between management and key customers features high on our list of priorities.
Mitigation Steps Being Taken
When contacting our founders and CEOs we were initially concerned that the natural Panglossian traits of the entrepreneur might result in unrealistically optimistic reports. This has clearly not been the case. The honesty of the negative assessments for the short-term prospects and the immediacy and severity of the actions being taken to safeguard the businesses is actually reassuring to see. Too positive a spin on what is clearly a dark and difficult time to be nursing a young start-up company would have been cause for even greater concern. We are confident that all that can be done to mitigate against the pandemic is being done and we continue to offer our support to portfolio companies.
We are sharing with the portfolio companies our findings about the steps being taken by their fellow management teams to ensure that exhaustive measures and best practices are being adopted.
Ultimately, we believe that their success, and the success of Green Angel Syndicate, in trading through this awful crisis will be helpful in addressing the global challenge to maintain safe, secure and healthy resources across the entire population.
Chris Joly is a Director of Green Angel Syndicate, the only angel investment syndicate in the UK specialising in the fight against Climate Change and Global Warming. For regular updates follow Green Angel Syndicate on LinkedIn and Twitter.