Fairphone, the social enterprise behind the world’s first modular smartphone, is excited to announce a new milestone in its mission to create a market for fairer electronics. The company recently secured € 6.5 million to scale up its positive impact throughout the entire electronics value chain, including material sourcing, production, distribution and recycling. Investments from Pymwymic Impact Investing Cooperative, DOEN Participaties and others will enable Fairphone to radically innovate, specifically on ethics and product longevity.
From startup to scale up for greater impact in the electronics industry
Fairphone can build upon the experience gained from launching two distinct generations smartphones and growing a powerful community of more than 135,000 Fairphone owners in four years time. These new investments equip the company to meet a growing demand for fairer electronics and expand its European distribution network. In turn, scaling up production volumes will enable Fairphone to increase its influence in the supply chain and have more opportunities to source fair materials, innovate on long-lasting design, negotiate better working conditions, and pioneer business models for reuse and recycling.
“In line with our ambitions to raise the bar in the electronics industry, we aim to increase our leverage with electronics suppliers to negotiate a healthier, more future-proof supply chain. This touches on a variety of issues, including the availability and lifespan of electronic components, the sourcing of Fairtrade gold and improving working conditions. By bringing these principles to the table, we can inspire an entire system change.” says founder and CEO Bas van Abel.
At the same time, the investments will help Fairphone to further formalize its organization. To assist with this objective, the company recently welcomed Eva Gouwens as its new managing
director. Ms. Gouwens, former head of Tony’s Chocolonely, will work closely with founder and CEO Bas van Abel to guide Fairphone through this exciting new phase. Her experience in growing a social enterprise, both in terms of organization as well as value chain impact, will be a great added value while taking the necessary steps to achieve the company’s ambitions.
Mission-aligned investors support realization of Fairphone’s ambitions
The latest round of external investment is a major milestone in the company’s journey for fairer electronics. For this next phase, Fairphone didn’t want to partner with just anyone, but was
determined to find investors who believe in their social and environmental ambitions. With 23 years of experience, Pymwymic (the Put Your Money Where Your Meaning Is Community) is Europe’s oldest impact investing group. Over the last two decades, they have invested over € 50 million of seed and growth capital in more than 60 companies. In 2016 the group created a unique Impact Investing Cooperative to unite mission-aligned families, family foundations and selected individual investors. The cooperative aims to positively impact 1 billion people over the next 10 years. Its first thematic sub-fund, ‘Pymwymic Healthy Ecosystems Impact Fund’, focuses on disruptive and innovative business models that restore and conserve our ecosystems. Fairphone was selected as the fund’s very first investment.
“We seek companies that can be disruptive to the sector they operate in. For Fairphone, driving this impact is truly in their DNA. Their efforts create radical transparency in the industry
regarding current flaws in the system.” Rogier Pieterse, Managing Partner of Pymwymic. Fairphone also received funding from DOEN Participaties, the investment arm of the DOEN Foundation. Established in 1991 by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, DOEN invests in innovative frontrunners that are working towards a green, socially inclusive and creative society. The DOEN Foundation supported Fairphone from the beginning, providing capital to help the organization transition from an awareness campaign to a company in 2013. With this new and latest investment, DOEN is reiterating its commitment to help Fairphone expand its reach.
“Fairphone’s story aligns well with DOEN’s goal for a circular economy. As a pioneer in its sector, Fairphone is playing a significant part in making the market for consumer electronics
more sustainable as a whole. We are very pleased that DOEN can play an important role in the company’s next phase.” Jasper Snoek, CFO of the DOEN Foundation.
Note: Fairphone’s CEO Bas van Abel will act in a plenary session on the 17th Dutch National Sustainability Congress on 9 November together with Eelco Blok (CEO of KPN). Fairphone will also have a booth at the Sustainability Fair during the congress.