Barclays extends Unreasonable Impact programme to support a further 200 innovative ventures tackling social and environmental challenges
· Since 2016, Barclays’ Unreasonable Impact programme has supported over 250 companies who have raised over US$10bn in financing and employ more than 19,500 people
· Over the next five years, a further 200 social and environmental impact ventures will benefit from support from mentors and industry specialists to help them scale
· Programme complements the bank’s commercial activities, creating a holistic package of support for sustainable ventures, from idea through to IPO and beyond
London, 17 April: Barclays and Unreasonable Group today announces the five year extension of its Unreasonable Impact programme to support an additional 200 sustainable and environmental impact ventures.
Ventures that join the programme are connected to the Unreasonable community, providing access to specialist advice from over 1,700 investors and 1,000 mentors, including experts from Barclays. During an immersive programme of activity, entrepreneurs can dive into critical conversations with experts, breaking down barriers which are slowing their growth.
More than 250 companies have been supported by the programme so far, with their businesses offering solutions ranging from turning carbon waste into fuel, to growing meat in a lab, to vertical farming. These companies have collectively raised over US$10bn in financing since their inception and employ more than 19,500 people, with over 60% of alumni reporting job growth after one year.
“Ideas are welcome, but execution is worshipped: We urgently need solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges,” says Unreasonable Group’s CEO, Daniel Epstein.
“I’m incredibly excited that we’ll be expanding our remit of support to include social businesses focused on challenges such as healthcare, infrastructure, and housing. The extension of the programme will help us continue to provide vital support to a new generation of entrepreneurs working to create solutions. We hope we’re setting the stage for how multinationals and emerging technologies should collaborate to maximise both impact and profit through solving critical issues together.”
Alongside offering both advisory and banking services to ventures on the programme, Unreasonable Impact alumni also benefit from Barclays’ network, being proactively connected to investment opportunities and commercial activities across the bank.
For example, Barclays is an investor through its Sustainable Impact Capital portfolio, which has a mandate to invest £500m into climate-tech start-ups by 2027. To date, Barclays has invested in eight Unreasonable Impact ventures through this portfolio, including 80 Acres Farms, a company that converts urban spaces into ultra-efficient vertical farms which use 95% less water than traditional farming practices.
80 Acres Farms’ CEO, Mike Zelkind, commented: “The support we received from the Unreasonable Impact programme and Barclays was invaluable. We were able to scale our solutions and connect with key investors who believed in our vision. Without the support and connections provided by the programme, our business, and others like us who are tackling systemic issues would be years behind where we are now.”
Following their participation in the Unreasonable Impact programme, 80 Acres Farms went on to secure Series A and Series B investment from Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, with Barclays’ banking team acting as the sole placement agent for the latter, $200m capital raise.
Deborah Goldfarb, Barclays’ Global Head of Citizenship, said: “Unreasonable Impact is an extraordinary programme that brings together our commercial and citizenship agendas to drive scalable, meaningful change and seek to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. As we continue to support these ground-breaking companies and connect them to opportunities across our business, I’m excited to see these ventures grow.”
Barclays’ Unreasonable Impact programme and Sustainable Impact Capital portfolio complement Barclays’ wider support for climate-focussed start-ups. This includes early-stage support from the bank’s Business Banking team and Eagle Labs community, to Investment Banking teams supporting with funding rounds through to IPO and beyond.
Notes to editors
· Unreasonable Impact runs three regional programmes each year across the UK and Europe, Americas, and Asia Pacific, bringing together a select group of fast growth businesses and handpicked investors. The next regional programme of the extended partnership takes place in Singapore in May.
· Other notable Unreasonable Impact alumni include: Project Etopia, which combines energy, construction and intelligent technologies to create the eco cities of the future; and Lithium Urban Technologies, India’s largest zero-emission corporate transport service.
· Unreasonable Impact reports to have positively impacted 300 million lives, removed 80 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions as a result of ventures’ products and services, and avoided or diverted 500 million kgs of waste from landfill.
Find out more in the latest Impact Report
Further information about the programme and the impact had to date can be found in the latest impact report.