Brink's venturing practice exists to test and grow ideas for positive change. We work with groups of donors, entrepreneurs, inventors and investors, working side by side to scale up ideas that can make a dent in the world. We seek to solve non-trivial problems with a mix of innovation, finance, coaching and collective action.
To date, we've worked with over 170 ventures in more than 30 countries across 6 funds, mostly across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
"Venture" doesn't mean "start-ups", although we do often work with amazing start-up companies. We aim to build connections and grow relationships between people with ideas, and people with money that could grow those ideas so they can make a genuine difference. Ventures can start with any idea, from any individual or group. The work is a mixture of:
- Bringing people together, and finding ways to enable conversations between them.
- Turning newly assembled groups into high-performing, high-trust, high-safety teams.
- Strategy for innovation.
We believe strongly that what attracts investment gets scaled; and the things that scale are the things that can make a dent in the world. We want to bring about more dents that do good.
We're here to
- Support ventures as they find the right path to scale whatever is most viable, whether that’s via government adoption, open sourcing, partnership, private investment, or large-scale donor funding.
- Work with funders so that their money is spent well, in a way that reflects their mission.
- Provide psychological safety for innovation; building handrails for experimentation. Making it ok to test and learn rapidly and iteratively.
- Design funds that are more adaptive and less prescriptive; because we encourage experimental methods, we can limit risk early on.
- Showcase new working methods, and provide useful relevant tools and frameworks.
- Empower others through active listening, asking questions, and drawing out their strengths, capabilities and perspectives.
- Create spaces for teams to be more creative, then apply that creativity to decision-making.
- Convene and connect cohorts of people, so they can learn from each other and take action together.
Innovation for impact
Venturing includes some focus on money and finance, but it’s not all about that. We believe it’s important to focus on everything that has the potential to affect impact: technology, the people using it, the places and cultures it’s used in, the partnerships needed to roll it out, the regulations, IP issues and government policies that might affect it. And on top of all that, we look at human behaviours and interactions, alongside the contexts and systems they’re working within. We work with everyone involved in each venture to find the best ways of making a dent in the world.
We consider all the different possible funding mechanisms (such as grants, bonds, equity or debt), how funding will happen, and who or what it will target. In our experience, we get better results with some investment in funding strategy, co-designed by ventures themselves. The problem is never “How to disburse these funds”, but rather “How to make a dent that matters, in the context that we have, with the funds available.” Funding strategy seeks to address that up front.
We work well in messy, sometimes chaotic contexts. Uncertainty is a common theme in many ventures, so we embrace it and work as flexibly and responsively as possible. We pull in good ideas regardless of where they come from, as long as they help to solve the problem.
Above all else, we focus on the goal. How can we reach reach it? How can each venture make a dent in the world? Those are always the questions that are uppermost in our minds.