a community of 100 values-aligned investors who co-own an impact investing cooperative. We learn, share and invest together.
about impact investing through peer-to-peer sharing, our annual Impact Days and frequent interactive workshops.
investment opportunities on our online member platform. We share our experiences in community gatherings and in publications to serve development of the global impact investing field.
in for-profit companies that serve people and planet through a Pymymic’s impacts fund or by co-investing in other member-led acquisitions.
We help create a new economy that is regenerative, inclusive, and healthy for the generations ahead of us. Our roots in European family business have taught us that a company is passed on from generation to generation. It is built into our DNA to help grow a company through different phases. Our decisions are made by taking a multigenerational perspective: which path gives the best outcome for the generations ahead of us? The answer to that question leads us to the path that we intend to follow.
In our view, a new economy is based on joint responsibility, cooperation and interconnectedness. We share experiences, learn from each other and invest through a professional fund to grow this movement. We have chosen to be a Cooperative, our members co-own the organisation and co-steer our movement. This best reflects who we are and the change we wish to realise. In joining Pymwymic, you become responsible to build our movement. We come together and get things done.
“ We need to come to understand that our current economic system is coming to an end. We need lots and lots of experiments to find the new system. Slowly, the vision of this new system will emerge, but you have to start acting for you to see it "
Lisette Schuitemaker, Pymwymic Pioneer
Pioneers Fund: 1994 – 2002
Pymwymic began in 1994 when Frank van Beuningen convinced 30 friends to start investing in companies paying attention to the 3Ps: People, Planet, and Profit. Then, this type of thinking was completely new and untried. The 30 Pymwymic pioneers include Eckart Wintzen (Origin) and Jan Oosterwijk (The Body Shop). These young members of European business families pooled money into a small fund. And so began Europe’s first ever social venture capital fund. The Pioneers invested in what was then unknown but visionary technology: solar, wind, lithium batteries, biotechnology, ethical waste management and biodegradable plastic. In total, 18 investments were made, the most noticeable: bringing Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to the Benelux.
Matchmaking Platform: 2002 – 2008
As the fund progressed, the principals realized that these ‘first-mover’ companies creating brand new sectors were hurt by a short term 7-year VC cycle. Coming from multi-generation family businesses, they understood patience and long-term outlook. 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 in Pymwymic’s track record of ethical investing, the brand relaunched to meet this investor demand. Supported by a small team, Pymwymic continues to scout and screen impact investing deals. With the help of Margaret van Beuningen-McGovern who then joined, the annual Pymwymic Impact Days conference was launched. This and other community gatherings aim to host and convene for the growing movement of impact investing. In this period the members of Pymwymic made 34 additional investments.
Pymwymic Impact Cooperative: 2016 onwards
In 2016, the Pymwymic Impact Cooperative was launched. This peer-to-peer impact holding company welcomes mission-aligned families and individual investors as shareholders. This new entity is now co-owned by over 50 investor members, and has another 60 community members. It also allows institutional investors to co-invest in its sub-funds. Approaching her 25th anniversary, Pymwymic investors continue to “Put Their Money Where Their Meaning Is”. Pymwymic is a community of quiet and committed action with a European soul. We now have members in The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom – and one member in South Africa.
Story of the penguin
Pymwymic chose the Penguin as a logo way back in 1996, before Disney or documentaries has popularised this rare bird. Founder Frank van Beuningen is an ocean sailor with a love for Antartica, who first visited the extreme south in 1987. Amidst the beautifully clean landscapes, Frank observed how penguins use the strength of community to offset harsh odds, how both male and female cooperate to hatch the next generation.
So in 1995, when Frank sold his multinational company and decided to Put His Money Where His Meaning Is in the first social venture capital fund in Europe – Frank remembered the penguin. Pymwymic still keeps her core tenants of community strength, of the balance of male and female for the next generation. Our Pymwymic Penguin has grown and adapted with the times. With the colours of earth and sky blended, the Pymwymic penguin looks towards a healthy, sustainable future.
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.
The Pymwymic Impact Coop is grateful to our founders, Frank and Margaret van Beuningen; to Omidyar Network; and to Blue Haven Initiative for the grant support which made creation of the Impact Coop possible. We welcome other donors to help support continued field-building efforts.