Investing in a sustainable society
On the one hand, Germany is a very relevant market as the largest economy in Europe, and on the other hand, many interesting companies are located here in Verdane’s core sectors, namely Digital Consumer, Software and Sustainable Society. In contrast to many other investors, we have deliberately settled in Berlin because our investments often have a digital aspect and Berlin is one of the most interesting locations in Europe for this in our eyes. Our stated goal as a growth investor is to be the first port of call for fast-growing, technology-based companies in Northern Europe.
Like our portfolio companies, we are also growing rapidly. We currently employ a total of over 70 people, 14 of whom work in our Berlin office. More than half of our partners have founded companies themselves, and a large proportion of our investment professionals have previously held operational positions. We therefore have very different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. What sets us apart is our in-house team of around 20 experts from a wide range of operational areas, such as marketing, talent management, operations, sustainability, finance and technology, who support our portfolio companies.
We made our first sustainable investment in 2006. To date, the number of our investments in business models that promote the idea of a sustainable society adds up to around 25. Indeed, sustainability has become one of the key aspects of our investment approach, and we are proud of what many of our portfolio companies are already doing to align their actions with international sustainability goals, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We consciously and actively work with the respective management teams to support them on this journey. For each portfolio company, we aim to implement at least one concrete improvement towards a more sustainable business. In doing so, we look at sustainability from a value-creating perspective, with the aim of implementing it as closely as possible to the companies’ core business.
We employ a Sustainability Lead and a Sustainability Business Developer who deal exclusively with the implementation of sustainability issues in our portfolio companies.
In April, we welcomed Erik Osmundsen as a new partner. Previously, he served for nine years as Group CEO of Norsk Gjenvinning, a Scandinavian company, leader in waste management and recycling. He has developed the company into Norway’s eleventh-largest and, in particular, driven its expansion in Scandinavia. We believe that sustainability will change all asset classes — like digitalization — and evolve from an investment niche to something that touches all sectors of the economy.
We actively use our platform to establish world-class sustainable business models. We focus on three key areas of sustainability: the energy transition, sustainable consumption and resilient communities.
for example, we have invested in the leading company for optimizing the performance of wind turbines, which is an extremely important topic in the course of the energy transition. Because you asked explicitly about Germany, I would like to mention
who already achieve a turnover of over 300 million euros with the buying and selling of used books and clothing and thus contribute significantly to a more sustainable consumption. In July 2020, momox’s annual CO2 savings effect was estimated at 65,000 tons, the equivalent of more than 10,000 Europeans.
At the end of last year, we also acquired a stake in
and thus with another German company in the circular economy. The company reconditions used consumer electronics and sells them online. Each new smartphone generates an estimated 80 kilograms of waste. So it’s high time we start thinking about developing a circular approach to everyday consumer electronics. The success of asgoodasnew shows that there is a great demand for such solutions. And to give you an example of the third field in which we support particular social developments, let me say two sentences about
say. Lingit is a Norwegian software company founded 20 years ago by scientists to support people with dyslexia. In the time we have been with the company, the number of licenses distributed annually has increased six-fold. Lingit has an outstanding product that can help a large number of people with a reading and writing disability. — We are convinced that we will make further exciting and value-enhancing investments in the DACH region this year and continue our success story as a leading investor in technology-based business models in Northern Europe.