Originally published at: https://www.fairphone.com/en/2018/12/11/hitting-the-ground-running-with-new-investments-and-a-new-ceo/
We did it! We’re so pleased to share that we’ve just closed our latest investment round and secured €7 million! This investment is an important part of our ongoing strategy to scale our company – it will help finance Fairphone’s growth, stabilize production, professionalize our organization and further establish our social impact in the years ahead.
New leadership and a clear path to growthIt’s amazing that the very first blog post I’m writing as the new CEO of Fairphone is about this major milestone that will allow us to execute our ambitious plans. When I first joined the team as managing director in September 2017, the process of transitioning our company from startup to scale up was already well underway. We had secured initial funding and were taking big steps to improve our organization and governance to better support our growth. For example, we installed a supervisory board and I was hired to strengthen the company’s leadership -- my background includes working for major multinationals (Sara Lee, Mars and Campina) as well as leading a social enterprise (Tony’s Chocolonely).
During my first year here, I was part of the company’s two-person executive team, together with Bas van Abel. I enjoyed complementing his value-driven, design-led approach with my focus on the more practical, organizational side of running a successful business. Together, we developed an ambitious yet achievable plan to continue scaling up Fairphone. Our focus on growth is tied directly to our mission: “by establishing a market for ethical phones, we motivate the entire industry to act more responsibly”. To achieve this, we need to scale both our company and our impact.
And as our company continues to grow and evolve, our leadership needs to evolve along with it. When Bas decided to step down as CEO and move to a position in Fairphone’s supervisory board, we concluded that I was the best person to lead the company forward, and spent the last few months preparing for a smooth transition. On 1 November, I officially started in my new position as Fairphone’s CEO. I feel honored and grateful to be working with the talented Fairphone team, and am confident that we’re putting all the right elements in place to help us achieve our mission. With the closing of this investment round, we’re now ready to move full speed ahead into Fairphone’s next chapter.
Impact investors and crowdfunders unite to support our goalsOur latest investments exceeded our expectations and reached a total of €7 million. Some of the financing came from familiar names who have contributed in the past, such as DOEN Participaties and PYMWYMIC. These parties were joined by a variety of new mission-aligned impact investors, including PDENH and Quadia. The total amount includes the €2.5 million that we raised in August with our crowdfunding campaign, which was facilitated by Oneplanetcrowd. Participants contributed to the campaign in the form of a convertible loan, and have been recently invited to convert their loans into shares. In fact, the success of that campaign played a major role in encouraging the new impact investors to invest in Fairphone.
The Fairphone team celebrating our crowdfunding milestone earlier this year.And there’s even more good news! The equity raised as part of the crowdfunding campaign and investment round will be combined with additional €13 million loan provided by different creditors including the consortium of ABN AMRO and the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF).
Our new investments will help us build on what we’ve already achieved, and allow us to keep strengthening our position in the market. For example, we plan to expand our marketing and sales efforts in Europe, as well as experiment with new sales models like Fairphone as a service (a leasing program). We’ll also invest more in research and development, and keep focusing on integrating fairer materials into our supply chain, like the challenge of sourcing responsible cobalt for the batteries. (Have a look at the investment sheet from our crowdfunding campaign if you’d like more details.)
Thank you for believing in FairphoneI’d like to warmly welcome our new and returning impact investors and say a big thank you to everyone who believes in our company and our potential. With the support of people and organizations like you, we’ll be able to keep taking significant steps towards our vision of fair electronics. I’m looking forward to working closely with our team, community, customers and supply chain partners as we work towards our mission, and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.