Anne Hathaway backs Pact, an all-women led VC for mission-driven startups, from West to East • TechCrunch

How many VC funds can you name where all three partners had babies while raising the fund, have deep connections in Asia as well as Europe and the US, and include actress Anne Hathaway as an LP? Not much I’d hazard.

But that’s the profile of Patt, a new Seed VC fund launched with a pot of £30 million ($36 million) to support early-stage startups across Europe. The Pact will target ‘mission-driven’ startups in what it calls the “ABC” categories: Access (economic inclusion), Improvement (personal and professional well-being), and Climate. (That’s a much more interesting way of addressing areas of ‘doing good’, instead of scrapping the UN SDGs, IMHO). Pact’s investment tickets will range from around £1m to £1.5m.

As well as Anne Hathaway (she’s not ‘just’ an Oscar-winning Actor, but also a UN Female Goodwill Ambassador), other LPs include Jeff Dean, Google’s Head of AI, and Keith Teare, founding shareholder (and former ) of TechCrunch and a former tech entrepreneur in the UK and US.

Anchor investor Campden Hill Capital joins them; Yeming Wang, the former head of Alibaba’s EMEA; Fahd Beg, the COO of Naspers; Todd Ruppert, retired CEO of T. Rowe Price Global and venture partner of Greenspring Associates, and Tilo Bonow, CEO of PIABO.

The three female partners – Tong Gu, Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham, and Monik Pham – were former VCs at other funds. Gu was an investor in ADV (of which Teare was previously a part) and built a data analytics startup in Shanghai that went out of business. Wyndham was also an investor for ADV and a former founder. Pham was part of the founding team of the early stage fund Fuel Ventures and has launched several social enterprises in Africa and India.

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Speaking to Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham, she told me that they had been raising the fund for a little over a year (during their pregnancy and first child) but the idea had been “in the works” for about five or six years: “We both joined ADV in the same week. And we met Monik around the same time. What we observed in the early stage landscape in the UK were a few key things that were missing. There are few early stage fund managers who have both operational experience and deep operational experience overseas in emerging markets. And that’s something that the three of us, in a very complementary way, bring to the table.”

“We believe that capitalism should and can be inclusive while still producing enormous results,” she added. “And we really want you to be able to support early stage companies that are really positively shaping the future. We have all built our careers with that Northstar as our guide. It is a value that we have always thought, but it is only now at this point that the market is really coming around him. There should be no compromise between socially sustainable, environmentally sustainable and commercially sustainable results. You have to think about both. And this is a value that the three of us have united on,” she said.

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Tong Gu told me: “I grew up in China, and I saw how entrepreneurship and technology allowed a large population of people who were previously below the poverty line to become richer and make their lives better. I started a technology company that allows small independent business owners to compete with larger ones. And for me, that was the experience of really driving economic inclusion, but in a way that is enabled by technology.”

Wyndham admitted “it’s not a huge fund”. However, she said that the £30 million should bring them enough companies to achieve the “strong diversification” needed to earn the funds: “We can do 18 to 20 companies, either leaders or co-leaders. We were thinking a lot about how we’ve curated our LP base. So the LPS that have come in are strategic and provide domain expertise, and market access, but also provide continuity of capital. The vast majority are looking for access for deal flow. So in that sense, this is actually increasing our firepower beyond 30 million.”

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

Anne Hathaway (Source: Wikipedia)

On having a Hollywood movie star among their LPs, Wyndham added: “She’s actually been my friend and mentor for about 12 years and since then we’ve become friends and shared values. One of its big causes is childcare, and the lack of it, as the last frontier for gender equality. And this is something that we experienced directly as three female doctors who all had our first children while collecting this fund. We had to figure out how to overcome the structural headwinds to be able to do both. That’s one of the lessons we hope to share with the ecosystem, and that’s something where Anne comes in.”

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Pact’s first investment was in Growth Kitchen, a London-based company launching sustainable food brands based on data insights.

Past investments for Covenant team members include Clause acquired by DocuSign. Onto, an electric vehicle subscription service; Perlego, an online learning platform; and Yoco, an African FinTech company.


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