Good & Well is just one of the companies that are shaping the IFH Lab, offering exclusive value and insights to program participants. That’s why we’re so pleased that we had the chance to sit down with Olga Cruz, G&W’s Senior Associate.
In this interview, we were able to get a sense of what Good & Well is all about, why they joined IFH Lab, and their take on impact measurement.
All About Good & Well: Focusing on Positive Social Impact
Good & Well is a family office investing in Canadian companies that are leading the way to a more equitable and sustainable economy. They define success not only from the financial lens, but from a lens of positive social impact and sustainability, taking a more holistic view than traditional funds.
Good & Well’s Investment Criteria
As an impact focused VC firm, Good & Well looks for startups that have certain characteristics – balancing strong business results with positive social impact. “For us, businesses are only really succeeding when they’re doing so sustainably: meeting their impact objectives and achieving financial success without externalizing harm to people or the environment,” says Olga.
In Olga’s experience, a keen business mind and an unshakeable passion for impact are a powerful combination that can help make the founder’s vision so compelling it feels inevitable. Good & Well looks at the whole package – a founder’s capabilities, motivations, and values. Put simply, at Good & Well they “care a lot about what founders care about.”
Some of the key things they’re looking for in the early stage founders they invest in include:
- Passionate founders who are not only entrepreneurial, but fueled by a desire to make a difference, and whose motivation to make a difference is at the heart of their venture’s purpose
- Positive impact being integral to the startup’s value proposition, with social/environmental missions actually embedded into the revenue models, decision-making processes, and company cultures.
- Early-stage businesses that can scale sustainably, and are finding a way to unlock an important, untapped opportunity – whether supplying an unmet need, sparking a change in behaviour, or providing a solution to a stubborn problem
- That Good & Well’s support and expertise will create value for the startup and founder
How Can Startups Measure Their Impact?
We asked Olga about two key methods that startups should be using to measure their impact, Theory of Change and Impact Measurement Framework. She clarified that these strategies go beyond just a routine reporting exercise, and are considered in conjunction with the operational and financial metrics to help founders fine-tune their strategy.
Good & Well considers these strategies comparable to tech roadmaps and marketing KPIs – if there’s an intention to drive social change, it’s crucial to have a clear plan of action.
“There is a very popular phrase that says that you can’t manage what you can’t measure, and that’s why one of the first things we do when we invest in a company is to create that blueprint, the theory of change, and then later define output and outcome metrics to help us identify if we’re on track or need to change our approach,” Olga explains.
Theory of Change
A theory of change is a visual strategy document that explains how the activities undertaken by a company contribute to a chain of results that lead to achieving the ultimate impact goal of the company.
Olga recommends starting with that identified ultimate impact goal, then thinking about the activities of the company, and mapping backwards the necessary pre-conditions and how these are linked to the activities to realize those goals.
Impact Measurement Framework
An Impact Measurement and Management Framework (IMM), is based on the theory of change and it helps startups better understand their positive and negative impact. Some of the elements that are defined in this framework are:
- the metrics or targets that tell you whether you are on your way to meeting your ultimate impact goal
- the data you are going to collect and how you are going to collect it
- why you are going to collect it (what is it going to help you learn, prove, and/or improve)
- how often you are going to collect it
Tips for Early-Stage Companies to Define Their Impact
For early-stage startups with constrained resources, developing an IMM may seem daunting, or even unnecessary. However, it’s important to note that the framework can be adapted based on your current capabilities and stage – it can evolve as your business evolves. Olga recommends, at minimum, having a Theory of Change. More complex aspects of measurement like control groups, confirming causality, and doing independent evaluations, can all come into play in later stages.
IFH Lab x Good & Well: A Perfect Pair
IFH Lab is dedicated to working with startups that are advancing technology in the financial health space, particularly for those who are financially vulnerable. As such, they’ve found an ideal partner in Good & Well.
Olga explains, “IFH Lab is today our most trusted source to find impact oriented, early-stage companies in the fintech ecosystem. We have continued building the relationship because we feel our values are aligned, and we always engage with great cohorts of passionate founders, some of whom we may partner with one day.”
Through their involvement, Olga and the Good & Well team are able to share their learnings and practices from their portfolio companies and learn from the IFH founders.
Olga personally hosts an impact measurement & management workshop for participants to dive deeper into the topics we’ve explored here today.
About The IFH Lab
The IFH Lab is a four-month, equity-free program for startups designing real solutions to the most pressing financial health challenges Canadians face today. Applications are now open until June 12th, and we’re inviting Canadian fintech founders to learn more in our upcoming info-session on May 29th.