Bridges Ventures is a fund management company with a social mission while offering attractive returns to investors. Last year was a big one for the group as it launched the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund. The fund is an initiative of the Bridges Charitable Trust and has so far raised £4.25m.
NESTA – the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts – made the first commitment to the fund and acted as a catalyst for private sector investment. All the Bridges Ventures founder partners have supported the fund through donations to the Bridges Charitable Trust, creating what will be an Evergreen Fund.
Bridges founder partners are individuals and institutions from the financial sector and include Sir Ronald Cohen, Nigel Doughty, Harvey McGrath, The Apax Foundation, The Generation Foundation, Lehman Brothers Foundation Europe, Deutsche Bank, 3i and the Bridges Ventures team, who have allocated funds from their profit share.
The Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund will invest in scalable social enterprises that deliver a high social impact and operate financially sustainable business models. The fund will invest up to £1m in each social enterprise, through hands-on, equity-like capital and aims to achieve a high social impact, through recycling capital into multiple projects, and to establish a track record of financial returns to attract additional investment into the sector.
Sir Ronald Cohen, founding chairman of Bridges Ventures said:“The development of social enterprises is being held back by a chronic shortage of long-term capital. The launch of the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund is an important development in addressing their long-term investment needs.”
Bridges Ventures has raised three funds to date. The first fund, CDV Fund I, closed on £40m while the second, CDV Fund II, reached £75m, beating its original target of £50m by 50%, and was closed in 2007. Investors include HSBC, Doughty Hanson, Co-operative Financial Services, Barclays Commercial Banking, Lloyds TSB and Citigroup, individuals including Dr Mike Lynch of Autonomy Corporation, Harvey McGrath, formerly of Man Group and Lloyd Dorfman of Travelex, as well as pension funds and endowments including the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the West Midlands Pension Fund and All Souls College.
Bridges Ventures funds deliver social returns both on a geographical and sector-specific basis, which are measured using the Bridges Ventures social IMPACT scorecard and reported to investors alongside their financial returns.
The Impetus Trust
Private Equity Foundation