Moving away from its e-commerce strategy, European retail giant Tengelmann has announced it wants to invest more in social entrepreneurship. To facilitate the new investment strategy, Tengelmann Ventures has launched a segment titled the Social Venture Unit.
No staff will be hired for the social arm. Instead, investment managers from Tengelmann will direct both the investments in social businesses and the group’s other VC deals. Tengelmann Social Ventures plans on investing in seed-stage companies.
“Our investment focus is on young companies that are making a social impact — so are generating a positive social effect,” Tengelmann CEO Karl-Erivan Haub said. “Our guiding principle is: social impact first, financial impact second”.
In 2011, Tengelmann invested in social business Coffee Circle, which sells sustainable coffee from Ethiopia online and uses its profits to support local development projects.
Now, the second social company to join the Tengelmann portfolio has been announced: Berlin startup Kiddify, which provides a peer-to-peer video platform for children under 15 years old. The children can use the platform to share videos they create themselves, from skateboard tricks all the way to piano pieces.
“In the future, children from different countries will be able to exchange via our platform and expand their understanding of language and culture,” founder Paula Jackson said.
This story originally appeared on VentureVillage. Copyright 2013