Sustainability as core business

Sustainability has shifted from being a societal talking point – to a core business focus for a range of organisations. This is true for startups all the way to large corporates. 

We gathered some of the latest data on how different businesses are approaching the subject.

It is a quick snapshot, and if you have ideas to add, be sure to share them. 



Purpose-driven startups are booming like never before. These are impact-focused startups developing innovative solutions. With ideas that can provide new ways to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. 

That said, for a long time, it was believed that impact startups were less profitable than other startups. The recent Nordic Impact Report takes a close look at that and a range of other common myths and misconceptions.

Here’s what they found:

Blog post about Sustainability impact myths

For 01, 02, 03 and 07 onwards, get your copy of the 2020 +impact Report.


Corporations have been doing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) since at least the sixties. Many of these have been small scale, philanthropic and arguably peripheral. Now many are tackling sustainability at the very core of their business. And the number of acquisitions of purpose-driven tech companies increased steadily over the past years. 


Venture Capitalists demonstrate greater concern about the potential impact of their portfolios:

80% of VCs say they assess the long-term societal and/or environmental impact of an investment, either in a pre- or post-investment timeframe (Atomico, 2019).

And a range of purpose-driven investment rounds really stood out in 2019.

Collaboration across startups and large corporations

The Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 calls for cross-sector collaboration. Without it we won’t be able to tackle the sustainability challenge. Here, innovation and new technologies are a key lever. New solutions and technologies (from, for example, startups) need to be woven into private and public business.

In Urbantech we take corporate-startup engagement as one entry point. We bridge the gap between new solutions from startups and the experience and scale corporates bring to the table. Together they can then bring innovation and sustainability to scale. And with that, accelerate the development of sustainable cities.

Talking of the Sustainable Development Goals, Rainmaking just launched the SDG Compass – a world-leading map of over 2,000 startups. Each of these are addressing one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Use it to understand and analaze early signals and trends across the impact startup scene. 

And of course, our Urbantech 2019 startups are listed there. And we’ll be adding the 2020 cohort later this year. It is our core business after all. 


SDG compass rainmaking



Are you an impact startup…? 

… looking for investors? Sign up for Plusimpact
… want to be listed on the SDG compass? Get in touch
… work in the Urbantech field? Stay tuned on updates about the Urbantech Program