Mentoring on the amazon sustainability programme

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Our Managing Partners Sian Conway-Wood and Dr Andrew Lumsden-Groom spent the day at Amazon’s London HQ yesterday, as expert mentors on their sustainability accelerator.

Run in collaboration with Climate-KIC and WRAP, the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a 12-week bespoke program to support 16 innovative, early-stage D2C or recycling-tech start-ups.

Amazon research has shown that investors reward startups with a firm commitment to sustainability – with more than half of UK investors declining a startup investment opportunity in the last 12 months due to concerns about a company’s sustainability credentials.

UK venture capital and private equity investors say startups with strong sustainability credentials can command a 15% valuation premium, demonstrating the opportunity for entrepreneurs who are building more sustainable products and businesses. Startups with a poor sustainability track record could see their valuation reduce by up to 4%.

Seven in 10 (70%) investors also say the volume of current and upcoming ESG regulation is deterring them from investing in startups focused on sustainability.

Amazon Sustainability Accelerator participants get a financial boost with a £10,000 equity-free grant and US$25,000 worth of AWS Activate Credits, to help them access cloud computing services and access free office space at Amazon’s headquarters in London and Berlin. 

Last year’s Accelerator startups raised more than £4.5 million, and increased sales on and off Amazon by an average of more than 250% following their participation in the Accelerator.

Investor relations is one of the areas we specialise in at 181st Street. We regularly give pro bono time to accelerators at universities and were pleased to be able to work with the startups on the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator on business modelling, routes to market, PR strategies and plans for scaling up – as well as helping them with advice on how to prepare their investment pitches.

Startups on the accelerator included a pet accessories brand giving new life to reclaimed ocean plastics, an innovative solar panel company making renewable energy to renters and people in apartment blocks, ‘bubble wrap’ made from recycled paper and a circular sportswear company turning tennis racket waste into garments.

Sian also joined fellow mentors to share her top pitching tips for Amazon’s video series.