Supporting makesense in the creation of its SEED I Impact Investing Fund

23 May 2019

The Paris office of international law firm Simmons & Simmons has supported makesense, a major international player in the world of social entrepreneurship. The firm supporting the organisation in setting up the first French pre-seed funds, SEED I, which aims to finance social enterprises pre-seed.

With a budget of €8.2mn, the fund will invest between €50,000 and €150,000 to finance the creation of start-ups with high impact and growth potential. The fund and business incubator makesense will team up to pool their resources and support effort.

This had been made possible with the financial support of the Ministère de la transition écologique et solidaire.

This first-time fund will be managed by an all-female investment committee, composed of investors with various profiles including institutional market players (European Investment Fund, Bank of the Territories), private (BNP Paribas) and associative financers as well as individuals and entrepreneurs. It will opt for the venture capital company regime.

Founded in 2010, makesense is a growing and dynamic community that connects and brings together citizens, entrepreneurs and organizations, both in the public and private sectors. Makesense is the catalyst that enables all stakeholders to act together to address key social, societal and environmental challenges. In eight years, makesense has already supported more than 3200 projects, mobilized 80,000 citizens and established 200 institutional partnerships.

The Impact Investing fund is an asset class that is still unknown, but which has a growing popularity within the private equity industry, making it possible to combine positive social and environmental impact with financial profitability.

The creation of this fund, which will foster creation and dynamism within the French entrepreneurial sector and which is part of the SISTA movement, has been helped and supported by everyone in the firm and is a source of great pride. It has brought together an internal, multidisciplinary team and highlighted the firm's ability to support all types of fund creation projects.

Agnès Rossi, partner specialising in fundraising and responsible for arranging the initial meeting with the founders of makesense, comments: "We wanted to engage Simmons & Simmons in this extremely innovative project, which supports others, because, to use the motto of SISTA, a movement which I wholeheartedly follow, women are the largest pool of unexploited talent in the world."

The multidisciplinary Simmons & Simmons team, which is also almost entirely female, was led by Agnès Rossi, partner, and Stéphanie Guers, senior associate, and composed of: