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AndWider raises €598,000 to improve working conditions for most vulnerable workers

Worker engagement company AndWider surpasses fundraising goal and secures €598,000 to improve working conditions for most vulnerable workers.

London, United KingdomAndWider, a worker engagement company that offers its clients clarity on working conditions alongside support to drive improvements where needed, announces that it has raised €598,000 in equity funding, surpassing its fundraising goal, with the help of ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank. The funding will be spent on scaling technology and bringing software development in-house as well as expanding support and sales teams.

According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, there is an estimated 40.3 million people in modern slavery. Although there has been a rise in consumer awareness about the true cost of the products they purchase online and on the high street in recent years, most consumers are still fundamentally unaware of the working conditions of those who make, pick and pack what they wear, and eat and use on an everyday basis. There are also increasing legal and reputational risks, and brands are facing growing pressure to do more to improve transparency within their supply chains.

AndWider has developed a technological solution, called ENGAGE, which enables workers, including the most vulnerable, to report regularly, directly, and anonymously on working conditions and wellbeing via mobile phones. It alerts clients when issues are reported and also helps buyers, intermediaries, suppliers and social auditors support and drive measurable improvements in conditions. ENGAGE, while providing insights to a range of parties, prioritises the needs of the supplier along global supply chains, given that the supplier (the employer) remains the driver of change in the lives of workers. And improving working conditions is increasingly understood by suppliers as an important means of developing more resilient businesses in the face of growing competition and worsening labour shortages. ENGAGE is also unusual in its emphasis on progress and what the supplier has achieved over time.

Lea Esterhuizen, founder of AndWider, commented: “We are a company focused on listening and harnessing the benefits of listening – for the worker, for their employer, the supplier, and for all those downstream including buyers. This investment round enables us to build the muscle where we need it most, to penetrate new geographies and sectors such that we can continue to provide this insight and support to new groups of businesses in sectors that are under huge pressure. We are very excited about the calibre of investors that have chosen to join the AndWider tribe to drive more impact. A special thanks goes to ClearlySo, to Letty Wheeler and Rodney Schwartz, for introducing us to five UK investors who we really look forward to working alongside as we scale our impact and our business.”

Letty Wheeler, investment manager at ClearlySo, commented: “Supply chain ethics and transparency are increasingly important issues from both a consumer and regulatory standpoint. AndWider has developed a hugely impactful, scalable and data-driven solution that gives every worker a voice. It was an absolute pleasure working with Lea and her team, and to support them in their mission to improve the lives of individual workers all over the world.”

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Notes to the Editors

About AndWider
AndWider offers global brands, suppliers and certification systems a clear up-to-date picture of working conditions so they can act promptly and encourage improvements where needed. Using their automated (IVR) calls, data analytics, and smart dashboards, AndWider generates and communicates direct insights into working conditions and worker wellbeing. AndWider helps clients spot priorities and measure progress. AndWider currently has 24 paying clients, active in 20 geographies.

About ClearlySo
ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 140 clients raise more than £253 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Further Information

Lea Esterhuizen
Founder
AndWider
E: lea@andwider.com

Quynhnhu Nguyen
Marketing Manager
ClearlySo
E: quynhnhu,nguyen@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909520

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Aergo raises equity funding to pilot innovative posture support system

Innovative posture support business Aergo raises funds to pilot product and expand team with the help of ClearlySo.

London, United Kingdom Aergo, a company that has developed a responsive posture support system which empowers wheelchair users, announces that it has completed an equity funding round with the help of ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank. The funding will go towards expanding the team and product manufacturing and piloting.

It has been reported that 70 million wheelchair users struggle to sit comfortably due to extensive hours of sitting according to the WHO (2003). This can lead to an array of conditions from lower back pain to pressure ulcers. With that in mind, Aergo has created a unique and adaptable postural support system, using a network of patent pending air cells to actively support individuals of all shapes and sizes. The product is mobile so can be moved from wheelchair to dining room or sitting chair to accommodate its user.

A globally increasing life expectancy has meant that we now have a growing elderly population. This, together with an increase of spinal injuries (source: Lucintel), is driving the wheelchair seating market to over $6bn by 2022. With more money being spent on specialist disability equipment, Aergo’s innovative new adaptive postural support system will reduce the cost of equipment spend in the wheelchair market, firstly for children (3-12 years) and eventually other users, generating savings to households and the NHS in the UK. Its first product, with its patent-pending air cells can adjust and adapt alongside its user, as they move and grow. More than that, it will avoid the development of further health consequences that can be caused from incorrect posture, such as organ compression, respiratory diseases and pressure ulcers.

Hsin Hua (Sheana) Yu, founder and CEO of Aergo, commented: “It’s great working with a network of investors that truly value impact and are very hands-on in supporting the companies/founders they back. With the funding raised with the support of ClearlySo, we are able to deliver production units to our early adopters and begin to deliver the health impact we set out to achieve.”

Stefano Cappanari, investment manager at ClearlySo, commented: “It was fantastic to support Aergo in its capital raising. The company is addressing an often overlooked issue with a very ‘patient-centric approach’, which was praised by our investors.” 

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Notes to the Editors

About Aergo

Aergo is a responsive posture support system that empowers young wheelchair users. Its network of air cells is designed to adjust automatically when you move, giving you greater comfort and independence to do what you love.

About ClearlySo

ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 140 clients raise more than £250 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Further Information

Hsin (Sheana) Hua Yu
Founder and CMO
Aergo
E
: sheana@aergo.co.uk
T: 07955250729

John Lloyd
Chief Marketing Officer
ClearlySo
E
: john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909520

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ClearlySo and three clients named as finalists for 2019 UKBAA Angel Investment Awards

ClearlySo and three clients (School Space, LettUs Grow and We Are Digital) named as finalists for 2019 UKBAA Angel Investment Awards.

London, United Kingdom ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank, announces that three clients were named as finalists for a range of awards at this year’s UKBAA Angel Investment Awards, with the winners to be announced at a black-tie gala on 2nd July.

The annual UKBAA Angel Investment Awards celebrates successes across the investment space, recognising the UK’s standout angels, crowd funders, early-stage VCs and trailblazing early-stage ventures they invest and support. The awards shine a light on new and disruptive businesses entering the market from an array of different sectors and reflecting key themes within the industry, highlighting some of the most exciting early-stage ventures to watch.

We pride ourselves at ClearlySo for working with some of the most trailblazing entrepreneurs, businesses and investors in the UK. We are excited that the ClearlySo Angels has also been recognised for its contribution to the investment space, being shortlisted for ‘Co-Investment Deal of the Year’ for investment in We Are Digital. The other clients shortlisted this year are LettUs Grow (Best Investment in Disruptive Tech), for its aeroponic irrigation and control technology for indoor vertical farming, and School Space co-founder Jemma Phibbs (Best High-Growth Woman Founder).

Arti Bareja, head of investor relations at ClearlySo, commented: “We are excited that ClearlySo and three of our clients were selected as finalists for the UKBAA awards. This is a true testament to the calibre of impactful and commercial businesses we work with, and the individual and institutional investors in the ClearlySo network that have enabled them to scale their operations and impact.”

Jemma Phibbs, co-founder of School Space, commented: “I am so delighted that our hard work to grow our school partnerships and further fight the education funding cuts is being recognised in this way! It is a brilliant recognition of the female leadership which is strong throughout our organisation.”

Charlie Guy, managing director of LettUs Grow, commented: “The indoor farming space is very exciting right now, driven by a growing awareness of the impending climate emergency and urgent need for more sustainable solutions in agriculture. It’s brilliant to be recognised for the tireless work being done by the team at LettUs Grow to address these issues and help feed a growing population.

“ClearlySo’s support and investment has enabled us to accelerate our innovative products to market, broaden our reach and expand our positive impact.”

Congratulations and the best of luck to everyone nominated! The winners will be announced on the 2nd July. You can find out more about the awards and the full list of nominees here.

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Notes to the Editors

About ClearlySo

ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 140 clients raise more than £250 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Further Information

John Lloyd
Chief Marketing Officer
ClearlySo
E
: john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909520

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ClearlySo makes complaint over offensive remarks by Peter Lilley at EIS Awards

ClearlySo makes complaint with the EIS Association (EISA) and the Conservative Party over offensive remarks made by House of Lords member Peter Lilley.

London, United Kingdom ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank, announces that it has made a complaint with the EIS Association (EISA) and the Conservative Party over offensive remarks made by House of Lords member Peter Lilley during a speech last week at The Great EIS 25th Anniversary Awards Banquet in London.

A ClearlySo staff member attended the banquet where Lilley gave a speech, parts of which (including a reference to an unnamed female sixth form student) she found insulting and offensive.

The complaint alleges that Lilley’s behaviour in making the speech did not live up to the principles outlined in the Code of Conduct of Conservative Party Representatives, was contrary to the objectives of the EISA, discourages women entrepreneurs and was thereby harmful to the economy.

Rod Schwartz commented: “As Chief Executive of ClearlySo I am speaking on behalf of the whole company when I say that we find it objectionable that one of our colleagues should be subjected to this behaviour at a professional meeting. ClearlySo stands for and seeks to help build a modern, inclusive, progressive and meritocratic economy—and comments such as Lilley’s undermine our efforts and need to be consigned to the dustbin—they have no place in modern Britain.”

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Notes to the Editors

About ClearlySo
ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 140 clients raise more than £250 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Further Information

Rod Schwartz
Chief Executive Officer
ClearlySo
E
: rod.schwartz@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909524

John Lloyd
Chief Marketing Officer
ClearlySo
E
: john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909520  

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We Are Digital secure £1.5 million to bridge the digital and financial divides

ClearlySo helps We Are Digital, a leading digital and financial inclusion training provider, secure £1.5 million to bridge the digital and financial divides.

London, United Kingdom – We Are Digital, a leading digital and financial inclusion training provider, announces that it has secured £1.5 million in funding. This investment will be used to hire key staff and make technology upgrades that will allow it to scale its operations and impact. We Are Digital work to tackle social exclusion by upskilling vulnerable people with limited technological skills, providing them with essential digital and financial training to enhance their everyday lives in an increasingly digitised world.

More than 12.6 million people in the UK[1] lack essential digital skills, the highest proportion of whom are the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society. In addition, approximately 40% of UK adults are identified as not in control of their finances and “living on the financial edge”, and 11.5 million adults in the UK have less than £100 in savings[2].

We Are Digital help bridge this divide through digital and financial training as a service to housing associations, councils, corporates and central government. Through its UK-wide network of outreach tutors and delivery partners, controlled centrally from its head office in the Midlands, it is able to provide high-quality personal training, both in-home and locally delivered in community locations. It has already provided community investment support to over 100 clients, including running national and regional programmes through its “managing agent” model.

Its solution comes at a time when government departments, banks and the entire social housing sector (2,000 providers – 4.6 million homes) are undergoing a huge shift towards the digitisation of processes and applications from paper to online, helping customers to save money and improving resident lives.

With the help of some of the best-known social impact investors in Europe, We Are Digital’s round was oversubscribed by 50%, led by VCs Si2 Fund, Triplepoint and Ascension Ventures. Also, in the round is Wayra UK and ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank (through its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors). Early investors were also exited within the round.

Matthew Adam, founder and Chief Executive of We Are Digital, stated: “After a lot of hard work, I’m massively excited to close our round. We continue to grow at 100% per year and winning increasingly bigger contracts where we are applying our innovations to community investment support across the UK. As a social business, I’m proud to now have on board some of the best social impact investors in the sector, who will help us scale even further over the next 6 years. I also want to thank our early angel investors and Midven, without both of whom we would not be where we are now.”

SI2 Fund manager, Pieter Oostlander, mentioned: “We Are Digital perfectly fits the SI2 Fund portfolio as it uses a very innovative business model to address a pressing societal issue. We are excited to help We Are Digital expand in the UK and beyond, hence scaling its impact.”

Julian Pickstone, Fund Manager of Triple Point, said:” We are delighted to be working with We are Digital. We believe that the company can make a significant contribution to bridging the digital gap.”

Emma Steele, Investment Manager of Ascension Ventures (Fair By Design), mentioned: “From their time on the Wayra UK Fair By Design accelerator to now, we have been impressed by We Are Digital’s approach to digital and financial inclusion. We’re delighted to be able to support its growth plans in tackling a core underlying driver of the Poverty Premium in the UK.”

Matias Wibowo, Investment Manager at ClearlySo, commented: “This transaction demonstrates impact investment’s central role in realising the ideal of the Big Society. We Are Digital (WAD) provides services that the public desperately needs at better quality while being more affordable. WAD aligns the interests and enhances the outcomes for multiple stakeholders, including investors. That’s why our investors gladly backed this transaction.”

Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future in the UK, said: “From launching the UK’s first social accelerator programme, to investing in pioneering companies such as We Are Digital – Wayra UK has a proud history in nurturing innovative businesses that create a positive societal impact. The investment that Matthew and the team have secured demonstrates the value being placed in social businesses across the country and is a testament to the efforts they’ve put in to date. I look forward to seeing what they achieve in future.”

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[1] https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmsctech/270/270.pdf

[2] https://masassets.blob.core.windows.net/fincap-cms/files/000/000/386/original/UK-financial-capability-levels-UK-poverty-statistics-research.pdf

Notes to the Editors

About ClearlySo

ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 130 clients raise more than £250 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

John Lloyd
Chief Marketing Officer
ClearlySo
E
: john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909520

About We Are Digital

We Are Digital is a training and support services firm with a mission to help organisations tackle digital and financial exclusion for their customers and help them access critical services. It offers training primarily through a national network of vetted tutors and delivery partners, offering 1:1, group support and outsourced programme management.

Matthew Adam
Founder and CEO
We Are Digital
E
: matt@we-are-digital.co.uk
T: 07834 817749

About Si2 Fund

SI2 Fund is a European social impact investment fund that focusses on enterprises that make it their core business to address a societal challenge and helps them achieve sustainable societal impact alongside a fair financial return. SI2 Fund operates in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It’s an active member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). More information is available at http://www.Si2fund.com.

Contact person at SI² Fund

Pieter Oostlander
Fund manager
e: pieter@Si2fund.com
BE +32471717722
NL +31653205632

About Triple Point

Triple Point Impact targets significant capital growth by investing in fast-growing, innovative companies that have a positive impact on society and qualify for EIS tax reliefs.

contact@triplepoint.co.uk
UK +44 207 201 8989

About Ascension Ventures and Fair By Design

Ascension Ventures backs exceptional entrepreneurs with big visions – providing capital, our network, and expert mentors to grow scalable technology businesses. We support UK businesses from Seed to Series A, and since 2013, Ascension has invested (across 4 distinct funds with £22m+ AUM) in 75+ UK based early-stage companies. Current funds include the ASCEND SEIS (Seed), CENTAUR EIS (Seed+), and its Fair By Design social impact fund, helping to reduce poverty in the UK.

Fair By Design is a movement dedicated to ending the Poverty Premium: people in poverty pay more for a range of products, including high-cost credit; rent-to-own products such as kitchen appliances; and insurance in less affluent postcodes. Our Campaign works with businesses, government, and regulators to design out the Poverty Premium. Our Venture Fund provides capital to help grow innovative ventures developing products that make markets fairer.

About Wayra

Wayra is the most global, connected and technological open innovation hub in the world. Under the Telefónica brand Wayra currently operates in 10 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Our hubs have raised over $248 million through third-party investors for our companies. Our global presence allows us to be at the helm of innovation, shoulder to shoulder with driven entrepreneurs and in a position to engage the right partners, corporate leaders, investors, serial entrepreneurs and leaders of industries for business.

We have been committed partners for seven years and connect innovators with Telefónica and generate joint business opportunities. We offer unparalleled access to Telefónica’s 350 million customers and clients across multiple countries. We are a unique and effective interface between both entrepreneurs and our network of corporates, governments and other partners in the 17 countries in which Telefónica global operates.

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ClearlySo in the Media