Fairphone, a Dutch maker of modular smartphones, has raised 6.5 million euros (approximately $7.7 million) in funding. The investors included Pymwymic Impact Investing Cooperative and DOEN Participaties.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 21 September 2017 – Fairphone, the social enterprise behind the world’s first modular smartphone, is excited to announce a new milestone in its mission to create a market for fairer electronics. The company recently secured € 6.5 million to scale up its positive impact throughout the entire electronics value chain, including material sourcing, production, distribution and recycling. Investments from Pymwymic Impact Investing Cooperative, DOEN Participaties and others will enable Fairphone to radically innovate, specifically on ethics and product longevity.
From startup to scale up for greater impact in the electronics industry
Fairphone can build upon the experience gained from launching two distinct generations smartphones and growing a powerful community of more than 135,000 Fairphone owners in four years time. These new investments equip the company to meet a growing demand for fairer electronics and expand its European distribution network. In turn, scaling up production volumes will enable Fairphone to increase its influence in the supply chain and have more opportunities to source fair materials, innovate on long-lasting design, negotiate better working conditions, and pioneer business models for reuse and recycling.
“In line with our ambitions to raise the bar in the electronics industry, we aim to increase our leverage with electronics suppliers to negotiate a healthier, more future-proof supply chain. This touches on a variety of issues, including the availability and lifespan of electronic components, the sourcing of Fairtrade gold and improving working conditions. By bringing these principles to the table, we can inspire an entire system change.” says founder and CEO Bas van Abel.
At the same time, the investments will help Fairphone to further formalize its organization. To assist with this objective, the company recently welcomed Eva Gouwens as its new managing director. Ms. Gouwens, former head of Tony’s Chocolonely, will work closely with founder and CEO Bas van Abel to guide Fairphone through this exciting new phase. Her experience in growing a social enterprise, both in terms of organization as well as value chain impact, will be a great added value while taking the necessary steps to achieve the company’s ambitions.
Mission-aligned investors support realization of Fairphone’s ambitions
The latest round of external investment is a major milestone in the company’s journey for fairer electronics. For this next phase, Fairphone didn’t want to partner with just anyone, but was determined to find investors who believe in their social and environmental ambitions.
With 23 years of experience, Pymwymic (the Put Your Money Where Your Meaning Is Community) is Europe’s oldest impact investing group. Over the last two decades, they have invested over € 50 million of seed and growth capital in more than 60 companies. In 2016 the group created a unique Impact Investing Cooperative to unite mission-aligned families, family foundations and selected individual investors. The cooperative aims to positively impact 1 billion people over the next 10 years. Its first thematic sub-fund, ‘Pymwymic Healthy Ecosystems Impact Fund’, focuses on disruptive and innovative business models that restore and conserve our ecosystems. Fairphone was selected as the fund’s very first investment.
“We seek companies that can be disruptive to the sector they operate in. For Fairphone, driving this impact is truly in their DNA. Their efforts create radical transparency in the industry regarding current flaws in the system.” Rogier Pieterse, Managing Partner of Pymwymic. Fairphone also received funding from DOEN Participaties, the investment arm of the DOEN Foundation. Established in 1991 by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, DOEN invests in innovative frontrunners that are working towards a green, socially inclusive and creative society. The DOEN Foundation supported Fairphone from the beginning, providing capital to help the organization transition from an awareness campaign to a company in 2013. With this new and latest investment, DOEN is reiterating its commitment to help Fairphone expand its reach.
“Fairphone’s story aligns well with DOEN’s goal for a circular economy. As a pioneer in its sector, Fairphone is playing a significant part in making the market for consumer electronics more sustainable as a whole. We are very pleased that DOEN can play an important role in the company’s next phase.” Jasper Snoek, CFO of the DOEN Foundation.
Fairphone is a social enterprise that is producing a smartphone to inspire the industry to change. By making a phone, we’re opening up the supply chain and creating new relationships between people and their products. We’re making a positive impact across the value chain focussing on long-lasting design, fairer materials, good working conditions and reuse and recycling, while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. Together with our community, we’re changing the way products are made. www.fairphone.com
About the Fairphone 2
The company’s flagship device – the modular Fairphone 2 – is the only smartphone in the industry with a repairability score of 10/10 from iFixit and the first to introduce new cameras modules which owners can easily upgrade themselves. Experts from the Fraunhofer Institute demonstrate that the design and related longer lifespan of the Fairphone 2 can result in a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions. More information and the full Life Cycle Assessment report here.
More information about the recent Fairphone 2 camera upgrade here.
Photos, videos, fact sheets and other materials are available at the Fairphone press
Pymwymic Impact Investing Cooperative is a unique, first of its kind, investment cooperative: a peer-to-peer holding company of mission-aligned investors, consisting of families, family foundations and selected individual investors. The cooperative’s mission is to help solve the most pressing global social and environmental problems by making strategic and profitable impact investments. The cooperative is pioneering the model of a shared-benefit Coop which will lead the European field as an impact example. European cooperatives have a long history of promoting community and social cohesion and with this ethos the cooperative intends to catalyze more financial and strategic human capital into impact. The Pymwymic Impact Investing Cooperative aims to scale to a new level of community-activated capital (100 Families € 100 million invested into Impact) in the next 10 years. www.pymwymic.com
About DOEN Foundation
The DOEN Foundation believes in a green, socially inclusive and creative society. DOEN supports initiatives with enterprising approaches and innovative solutions for a better world.
With the contribution of the Dutch Charity Lotteries, the DOEN Foundation supports over 250 initiatives annually, through subsidies, equity investments, and loans. Apart from financially helping these pioneers, the DOEN Foundation connects them to each other and brings their initiatives to the attention of a broad audience. For almost twenty five years, DOEN has invested worldwide in social and/or green innovative enterprises through its investment arm DOEN Participaties. www.doen.nl