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Investor firm backed by Minecraft mogul raises £1m for ‘high impact’ investment
Chris van der Kuyl/Supplied
Business & Economy

Investor firm backed by Minecraft mogul raises £1m for ‘high impact’ investment 

An investor firm backed by the Minecraft gaming mogul Chris van der Kuyl has raised £1m to invest in ‘high impact’ early stage companies.

SIS Ventures secured the landmark total for its pioneering investment fund – Impact First – from Chroma Ventures.

Chroma Ventures was created in 2021 by technology entrepreneurs Paddy Burns and van der Kuyl as a broad-spectrum investment arm of their video game development studio, 4J Studios.

Based in Scotland, but with an international outlook, Chroma Ventures backs companies developing and deploying innovative technology and data-led businesses.

Impact First launched its second round of fundraising in February this year with the aim of attracting up to £5 million to scale up its mission-led investment in Scotland’s highest impact potential early-stage businesses.

This investment by Chroma Ventures, in addition to a further £700,000 already committed by other investors, means that the fund has now exceeded its minimum target and will proceed to first close over the next two months.

SIS Ventures’ Impact First fund provides an opportunity for investors to make tax-efficient financial returns alongside impact returns by investing equity into Scotland-based businesses whose social and environmental aims are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Chris van der Kuyl, principal of Chroma Ventures, said: “Since our first investment in 2019, we’ve been impressed by SIS Ventures’ expertise and ability to identify opportunities in companies that will make a significant, positive difference in people’s lives. SIS Ventures’ ambition and approach complements our desire to invest in exceptional leaders and teams, which is why we have chosen to enhance our support through their Impact First fund.”

SIS Ventures has already invested around £3.5m into ten high impact and high growth potential businesses. Each business is led by a unique mission including, for example, providing earlier diagnosis for life-limiting diseases such as cancer (Dxcover), protecting food security worldwide as well as our ecosystems (SOLASTA Bio), tackling some of the world’s most serious online harm issues (Cyacomb, formerly Cyan Forensics), encouraging the switch to Electric Vehicles through on-street charging points (Trojan Energy), and revolutionising the advertising industry in making it a force for good (Good-Loop).

This second Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fundraise presents an opportunity for investors to support both existing Impact First investees to grow through follow-on funding rounds, as well as invest in new, early-stage businesses. The minimum investment sought from investors is £20,000, with each investor invested in at least eight businesses over a period of seven to ten years.

Jill Arnold, head of SIS Ventures, said: “Ever since launching Impact First, we have maintained an unwavering belief in the potential of an impact-focused fund for the investor community, which harnesses the power of business and innovation to help address society’s greatest challenges and needs. This cornerstone investment from Chroma Ventures reinforces that belief and illustrates the current demand among investors for mission-aligned opportunities. We’re very excited about working with Chris and Paddy as lead investors in the fund and we hope this encourages others to come on board. Investor interest in the fund, since announcing the second fundraise earlier this year, has been very promising and we’re on track to reach our target over the next couple of months.” 

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