How Venture Investing Can Create A Positive Impact On Society

October 18, 2021 12:35 pm

Flashpoint Venture Capital is organizing the panel together with UNIQA Ventures, Latham & Watkins LLP and Telemedi at the upcoming Wolves Summit in Wroclaw to discuss the responsible approach towards venture investing and the impact of VC funds on portfolio companies and society.

“This is our mission at Flashpoint — to bring together capital, knowledge, people and best practices and help socially responsible development in our region”, says Michael Szalontay from Flashpoint.

The panelists will speak about Social Responsibility of business that is more and more becoming a usual practice for VCs.

  • Does it add real value to portfolio companies?
  • Investments in socially important spheres #healthtechs , #edtechs, #medtechs: how does it change the world?
  • Equality: is it important for VCs? How it’s reflected in #corporategovernance practices by VCs, what is the impact on portfolio companies?
  • What does ESG mean in the tech world?
  • Building a socially responsible ecosystem: How do startups do it?

A socially responsible approach has to address at least the following three main areas:

  • How do VCs operate sustainably?
  • How VCs try to help companies change and become socially responsible?
    Socially responsible investing by the VCs themselves — how do they give money to enable outcomes other than economic ones?

Looking back at the entire investment track record of Flashpoint, the firm invested a third of its capital in themes that change the world for the better, this includes investments into e-learning, telemedicine, online job platforms (some examples include: Telemedi, Qmenta, Netology, Comeet, IntelliBoard, AllRight, Particula).

Socially responsible investment does not only mean investing into green energy and other areas with a big sustainability impact. It’s not only about the area where companies conduct their operations, but also how they do it and what their methods are. One aspect related to processes is governance, transparency and good practices.

Michael Szalontay added: “We are working on partnering with local tech universities to help enrich the community of students with knowledge, but also capital, and help them realize their dreams. We are using university and alumni networks to support talents and give seed financing for their projects.”

As an international law firm, Latham & Watkins combines unparalleled experience and deep industry knowledge in the key business, financial, and innovation capitals around the world. We offer an integrated team of experienced and collaborative lawyers equipped to provide innovative solutions for business and legal matters to clients at any stage, in any industry, in any location around the world. This includes our robust environmental, social and governance practice (ESG) to help clients align with the many facets of responsible investment, sustainability, and corporate integrity issues. Given the complexity of ESG issues and opportunities, Latham utilizes a number of machine-learning resources to offer cutting-edge, innovative solutions that help clients map their risk profile and identify specific areas of focus. This data complements our extensive experience working with NGOs, government officials, investors, and companies around the globe, resulting in market-leading ESG advice and counsel.

“Flashpoint Venture Capital has assembled a great line up for the Wolves Summit and I’m excited to participate on this panel to discuss and share thoughts on the impact investors are making on organizations and their social and environmental actions,” said Haim Zaltzman, Partner at Latham & Watkins. “ESG is certainly on the forefront of many minds. Investors are exploring how companies are taking into account corporate responsibility by monitoring the choices they are making to contribute to the betterment of society and the environment in the face of climate change. At the end of the day, companies just want to be successful and it is becoming clearer that ESG will be a part of that equation.”

Besides investments in FinTech and InsurTech, one major investment focus of UNIQA Ventures is DigitalHealth. Most of the companies UNIQA Ventures is invested in, not only have an outstanding founding team, a promising business model but also provide it’s consumers a way to add positive impact to their lives — a factor that also plays a huge part in selecting the companies the team of UNIQA Ventures invests in. With currently more than 30 portfolio companies, some examples regarding such business models are, aside from Telemedi, the Spanish Startup Impress that offers clear alignment treatments and helps its customers to be more confident showing their teeth while smiling.

Another example is Second Nature from the UK that helps people with diabetes by providing a specific digital coaching service or the exited Playbrush from Austria, that makes brushing their teeth for kids like a playful task.

“Venture Capital (VC) is having a transformative impact on large sections of the global economy. While ESG issues have never been greater, many investors still think that ESG is less relevant for VC as tech companies do not directly emit many greenhouse gases or pollute many rivers after all. However, to me ESG integration and responsible business practices are critical to long term success factors for every firm including venture-backed companies” said Andreas Nemeth, Managing Partner of UNIQA Ventures.

Healthcare is another topic that helps society. One of the most important problems to be solved is to relieve the public health service and guarantee as many in-patient visits as possible for those cases that require them. “From our point of view only the hybrid model will help create a catalogue of problems and diseases that can be solved and consulted remotely. Ultimately, the point is that the patient should have a choice and know which treatment path to choose”, — said Monika Lubecka, COO Telemedi.

Moreover, telemedicine is not about early adopters only, it’s about seniors also and all those who become seniors in the next 10 years. This is particularly important when access to stationary medical services is limited, and the lack of computer skills or remote devices for measuring vital parameters may expose seniors to a greater risk of developing diseases and infection during stationary visit. “Together with our business partners we are taking actions to make medicine easier and more usable for older citizens. In pararel we educate society, especially the oldest ones and promote those solutions that will put the improvement of healthcare in the first place”, — Lubecka added.

Returning for its 6th year, Wolves Summit, the largest startup technology conference in the CEE (Central and Eastern European) region will bring together prominent industry influencers, executives, influential media, and more than 1000 startups to explore the latest technology trends and innovations from Poland and surrounding European countries. This year’s event includes over 15 topics including: VCs, their impact on portfolio companies & society to be held on October 20 at 2.20 pm CEST moderated by Michael Szalontay, co-founder of Flashpoint with renowned panelists such as Haim Zaltzman from Latham & Watkins, Monika Lubecka from Telemedi — a provider of digital healthcare as well as Lisa Pallweber, Senior Investment Associate from UNIQA Ventures.