As we celebrate Earth Day today, Barclays and the Unreasonable Group announce 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.