Eka Ventures becomes UK's largest impact-driven early stage VC fund following GBP68m closing
Eka Ventures has held a final close on a GBP68 million (USD95 million) fund, making it the largest impact-driven early stage venture capital fund focused on the UK.
Investors in the fund include British Business Bank, BSC, Isomer, Guys and St Thomas Foundation, Planet First Partners, Draper Esprit, Snowball and others, including 24 entrepreneurs, 12 of whom are founders the Eka partners have previously backed.
Eka was founded on the belief that the most successful businesses of the next generation will be built to solve a clear social or environmental challenge and is integrating impact investing into mainstream venture capital.
Eka will invest in consumer technology companies focused on redefining business systems to be more sustainable, healthy and inclusive. This is reflected in Eka’s three investment themes: sustainable consumption, consumer healthcare, and the inclusive economy. The fund will focus on the UK, invest early and lead rounds, making investments between GB500,000 and GBP3 million.
Eka was founded by Jon Coker, Camilla Dolan and Andrew Richardson. The founding team has a combined 30-plus years of experience working in venture capital, and has backed some of the biggest and most exciting consumer tech companies of the last 10 years, including Gousto, Bloom & Wild, Peak and Elder.
The fund focuses on three key areas: sustainable consumption, consumer healthcare, and the inclusive economy.
Sustainable consumption: reducing emissions, waste and resource use through more efficient, circular consumption models and supply chains.
Our current consumption models are linear and inefficient creating unsustainable levels of emissions, waste and environmental degradation. 66 per cent of global carbon emissions are created by household consumption, and a developed world consumer creates 3.5x the global average. We believe a combination of software, hardware and data science can change these models to be low waste and resource-efficient.
Consumer healthcare: reducing chronic illness and health inequality through prevention, early detection and low impact treatment methodologies.
Our treatment focused health systems are creaking under the pressures of ageing demographics and rising chronic disease. Currently, 95 per cent of healthcare spend is on treatment rather than prevention but the quality of the treatment you receive only determines 25 per cent of your health. We believe technology has now reached a cost point to put products in the hands of the consumer that can shift to a more proactive & preventative system.
Inclusive Economy: Reducing expenditure poverty and financial exclusion by using technology to reduce the cost to serve in life-essential products.
Whole sections of our society find it hard to access essential products. 45-50 per cent of our health is determined by socioeconomic factors and healthy life expectancy is 18.5 years shorter for the most disadvantaged in our society. We now have the technology to dramatically reduce the cost to serve making life essential products more accessible and affordable to everyone.
Jon Coker, General Partner of Eka, says: “Over the next 20 years the effect our old business systems have on our health and climate is going to become increasingly and undeniably apparent. At the same time the power of our new technologies to meet, shape and change these old businesses systems can be realised in mainstream adoption. The combination of these two dynamics will create an environment of unparalleled opportunity for entrepreneurs to build companies of extraordinary value that positively shape the world. These are the entrepreneurs we set up Eka to back.”
Camilla Dolan, General Partner of Eka, says: “When it comes to working with companies, we are clear in our desire for scale, and we will do everything in our power to help the founders we work with achieve their ambitious goals. We are looking for entrepreneurs who set the bar for impact driven innovation high and who are focused on fundamentally changing or creating a category, in the same way Tesla has single-handedly propelled the electric vehicle industry forward. We set Eka up to back companies with that level of ambition”
Timo Boldt, Founder of Gousto, says: “Jon and Camilla are two of the best investors a founder could possibly hope for. They supported Gousto with our Series A back in 2013 and have been cheerleaders ever since. Their new venture, Eka, is tightly aligned with our own philosophy because of their focus on sustainability. Much like them, we believe in the power of people to drive change.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank, says: “The Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme is a key tool in helping to develop and maintain an effective venture capital provision in the UK, lowering the barriers to entry for emerging fund managers and for those targeting less well-served areas of the market. Our commitment [of GBP36 million] to Eka Ventures, will enable them to support new and growing sustainable consumer technology businesses in the UK.”
Douglas Sloan, Investment Director at Big Society Capital, says: “It’s been hugely rewarding and exciting to work with Eka on developing their approach to investing with impact. The team brings a track record of successful VC investing and a thoughtful thesis on identifying areas where impact and commercial value are delivered in parallel. With an impact lens embedded into its core investment tools and decision making, we’re excited about Eka’s potential to create impactful ventures which tackle the problems of those most in need, at scale.”
Catherine Dupéré, Partner at Isomer Capital, says: “We're impressed by Eka's focused investment strategy which addresses a rapidly growing opportunity in sustainable brands and B2C businesses. We've had the privilege of knowing the team for over ten years now and we've observed that they not only bring together significant experience and expertise to support companies as they scale, but also the passion and empathy that makes entrepreneurs want to work with them. Eka is a wonderful addition to our portfolio of over 40 early stage European VCs who all share an entrepreneurial mindset and partnership-driven approach.”