Tech with Purpose – Is Europe leading?
Faria Zafar
What is common between Infarm in Germany, Kry in Sweden, and Ÿnsectin France? Yes, they are all European companies. But what makes them worth a mention is that they are purpose-driven Tech companies. Infarm is in the business of building advanced vertical farms; Kry is a telemedicine firm and Ÿnsect is an insect farming start-up.

Technological advancements have improved daily lives of people across the globe, and propelled economic growth across nations, but they have also inflicted profound wounds on the environment. Consumers are demanding businesses to be more responsible towards environment and society. According to a 2018 survey of 30,000 global consumers, conducted by Accenture Strategy, 62% of consumers wanted companies to “take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues like sustainability, transparency or fair employment practices.

Investors find this push towards sustainability and responsibility (for environment and society), a profitable scenario as the gravest challenges of the world bring along the biggest business opportunities. Atomico, Orrick and Slush in their 2019 report - State of European Tech - noted that “in total, there are 528 unique venture-backed, purpose-driven tech companies in Europe. They raised a total of $4.4 billion in capital investment in 2019, up from less than $1 billion in 2015. That $4.4 billion represents 12% of the total capital in Europe invested in 2019. Purpose driven Tech companies also represent the third largest segment in European tech by capital invested, behind FinTech and enterprise SaaS.

Many European countries are leaders in sustainability. Seven of the top 10 countries in RobecoSAM and Robeco’s Country Sustainability Ranking (based on governance, societal and environmental considerations), are in Europe.

The EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager commented in October 2019, “Some say China has all the data, and the US has all the money. But in Europe, we have purpose.”
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