Impact investing is not completely new. Around the world likeminded investors started to think and act alike. Having said that: it’s still far from being mainstream. We want to change that. Positive impact, realising solid social and environmental returns should be inextricably linked with financial return. That is why we join forces, combine knowledge and capital, and share our experiences both within our community and outside of it. That is the way to go forward. We are sure about it!
Our legacy and track record
Pioneering is in our genes. Pymwymic was founded in 1994 when a small group of pioneers started to invest in the “Triple Bottom Line” of People, Planet, and Profit. Back then, a completely new type of thinking! Ever since then we have been pushing frontiers. We were the first European venture fund for impact, first B-Corp, first co-owned impact investment vehicle in the Netherlands, and first Dutch fund to receive an official quality stamp as a professional impact fund (EuSEF). Walking unpaved roads is in our blood: we learn by doing and share what we learn. Over the years the community grew to 200 members and successfully funded over 60 pioneering companies.
Pioneers Fund: 1994 – 2002
Pymwymic was founded when 30 pioneers started to invest with the 3Ps: People, Planet, and Profit. Back then, this type of thinking was completely new and untried. Eighteen investments were made in unknown but visionary technology (e.g. lithium batteries, ethical waste management, biodegradable plastic) with the most noticeable: bringing Ben & Jerry’s to the Benelux. The Pymwymic pioneers include Frank van Beuningen, Eckart Wintzen (Origin), Jan Willen Nieuwenhuys (Fair Capital Partners) and Jan Oosterwijk (The Body Shop).
Matchmaking Platform: 2002 – 2008
As the fund progressed, the pioneers realized that these ‘first-mover’ companies were in need of more patient capital with a long-term outlook. Coming from multi-generation family businesses, they understood the concept of steward ownership. They decided to become an open collective, a community, building awareness and matchmaking people to businesses. The Pymwymic group grows to about 120 investors, and they together fund 7 additional companies.
Investors Club: 2008 – 2016
In 2008, with the global financial crisis creating massive interest for a more ethical way of investing, Pymwymic relaunched as a strong brand to inspire change. With the help of Margaret van Beuningen- McGovern, Pymwymic sparked and nurtured the growing movement of impact investing. The Impact Days conference was launched and frequent other gatherings supported the growth of a strong community of impact-minded wealth holders. In this period, Pymwymic continued to scout impact investing deals, 34 additional investments were made by members of Pymwymic.
Pymwymic Impact Investment Cooperative: 2017 onwards
After more than two decades inspiring change and raising awareness, we also came to realise that creating awareness is not the same thing as creating alternatives. We felt that ‘playing amongst the big boys’, is the best way to really move the needle of an industry. Hence, in 2017, we transformed into an Impact Investing Cooperative through which impact investments are done. By showing how we realise solid financial returns when investing in transformative mission-driven companies, we’re motivating the entire industry to act more responsibly. Over 25 years down the road, our co-owned organisation is still driven by the mission to spark a new normal: investing for people planet and profit.
A word from our Founders
When we together re-launched Pymwymic in 2009, it was from a conscious decision to invest our capital to solve core systemic issues in the world. For us (having met at an investors’ conference; married just before the global crash) we actively choose to invest our resources into building the awareness amongst wealth-holders of what conscious capital could achieve, and through this, bringing more investment to impact entrepreneurs. In the 10 years we joyfully co-lead Pymwymic, the opportunities and awareness of impact came to scale. And with it, the Pymwymic community grew strong – thousands of investors educated; a core Pymwymic membership of hundreds; the impact capital invested grew by 33%, investing in 30+ solutions-based companies. This is our deep satisfaction, that Pymwymic has truly helped to ‘build the field’ of impact.
As we began together to think about next steps, we were joined in our ‘founders’ journey’ by a strong Board, and by two important and rare partners, Omidyar Network and Blue Haven Initiative. We are grateful to these friends, who helped us envision – and fund – a next-era transition for Pymwymic. Together, we did this by creating a new entity that is core to what has always been the heart of Pymwymic: a cooperation. This matches not only the spirit of Pymwymic’s past 24 years, but what we believe is the spirit of the future – interconnection, and multi-stakeholder cooperation. We believe the Impact Coop will keep Pymwymic true to her mission, and can support the investors’ community for generations to come.
The new Pymwymic Impact Cooperative launched in 2017, with members as shareholders, and community supporters. The new structure accomplishes three of the goals we set for our ‘founder transition’:
• Self-sufficiency. Like the impact companies we help fund, the Coop ownership model allows Pymwymic to grow into financial self-sufficiency, and with eventual profit, to donate to support Pymwymic’s continued field-building efforts.
• Self-empowerment. The Impact Coop is member-led, and activated. Members organize diligence groups, host events, and welcome other members. A professional team supports these efforts.
• Welcome to new partners. The Impact Coop also provides opportunity to welcome and work together with visionary institutional partners, to together scale our impact. It will take all of us to create these global solutions.
Please read more about the Pymwymic Policies and Philosophies core to the Impact Coop here.
As a couple, our era of supporting and scaling this wonderful 24 year-old Pymwymic community was built on a continuum of early pioneers – and the Impact Coop is a part of this continuum, bringing forward the core mission and legacy, evolving to meet new challenges.
We remain on the Board, and are also active as shareholder members – and look forward to working with other Pymwymic members, across generations and countries, to make impact.
To those interested enough to read thus far, we would ask: what is the meaning of your money?
Pymwymic welcomes you to join our efforts. And we look forward to seeing you on the journey.