Web Summit reaffirms commitment to Impact 

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Matthew Taylor
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New all-women steering committee to oversee Impact initiatives across startups, partnerships and investors programmes. 

Web Summit strives to empower its team and community to work towards a more sustainable future through its impact programme which is dedicated to contributing to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

While Impact has always played a pivotal role in Web Summit’s work, it is now moving to a new and exciting stage, through the establishment of the Impact steering committee, led by Karena Walshe, head of Impact Partnerships at Web Summit, alongside an all women team including startups team lead Margarida David, VP of community Carolyn Quinlan, VP of communications Katherine Farrell and senior speaker producer Alice McDermott who has built the bedrock of Impact for years. 

The Impact Steering Committee was established to advance the initiative across all aspects of Web Summit. The work of the committee ensures Web Summit’s efforts are holistically growing and that all attendees, startups, investors and partners can leverage and engage the Impact network at Web Summit.

“Impact at Web Summit is dedicated to contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  In particular we celebrate companies and mission-driven organisations that are focused on safeguarding the climate, diversity, equity and inclusion, and education. Impact has been successfully building across our events for many years. We’re delighted to double down on our commitment to Impact in 2024. Our aim is to make Web Summit events as forward thinking and solutions focused as possible; highlighting startup innovation, community mobilisation and corporate transformation to support global sustainable development,” said Karena Walshe, head of Impact partnerships and chair of the Impact steering committee.

For years, Web Summit has used its platform as an event company,  a convenor of leaders and innovators to highlight technology that is addressing the world’s most serious issues like climate change, education, human rights and more. In 2017, Planet:tech stage was established, which drew speakers like Vice President Al Gore to make his now famous state of climate change address to the tech world. 

In 2020, Web Summit doubled down by bringing hundreds of tech for good startups through its newly formed IMPACT initiative, partnering with organisations like the United Nations’s Race to Zero and Richard Curtis’s Make My Money Matter to promote promising startups that were directly addressing Impact issues. The Web Summit 2030 Sustainability Strategy was established in 2020 to spearhead this mission even further.

Impact will be key to Web Summit’s upcoming event, Web Summit Rio. Here are a number of measures Web Summit is taking across the event to drive the initiative with key companies and partners:

Impact partners at Web Summit Rio 2024

Our Impact partners are striving to make a positive difference in their communities, and the world at large, through the power of tech. 

Re:wild 

Re:wild is a force multiplier that brings together Indigenous peoples, local communities, influential leaders, nongovernmental organisations, governments, companies, and the public to protect and rewild at the scale and speed we need. 

World Climate Foundation

Since 2010, the World Climate Foundation has worked with a network of global leaders in the areas of climate, biodiversity and health resilience. 

Djassi Africa 

Djassi’s mission is to unlock the potential of the next generation of African and Afro-diasporan innovators and accelerate the growth of their businesses to deliver impact at scale. 

ID_BR

The non-profit Instituto Identidades do Brasil (ID_BR) was founded in 2016 to reduce inequalities in the labour market and society. 

ESPRO

São Paulo-based Espro – Professional Social Education is a non-profit organisation that works to provide professional training for the inclusion of young people aged 14 to 21 in the job market. 

Instituto da Criança 

Instituto da Criança was founded in 1996 and offers young patients and their families greater comfort and a comprehensive range of paediatric care. 

You can learn more about the Impact startups attending Web Summit Rio here

Impact startups at Web Summit Rio 2024

Impact startups are startups that show innovation in following the UN’s SDGs.

Rentbrella

Rentbrella is the world’s largest “umbrella sharing”, with 800 stations and 50 thousand umbrellas present in cities such as São Paulo, New York, London, and others. 

VoxCell BioInnovation

VoxCell provides a line of human-like tissue solutions for the drug development industry and the field of Oncology research by creating 3D vascularized cancer tissue models. 

TakeCarbon

TakeCarbon is the first fully open and decentralized environment for promoting impactful initiatives, revolutionizing the way carbon credits are tokenized, traded and retired on a global scale through Web3 technology applications.

PlurieBR

PlurieBR are the first SaaS platform in Brazil dedicated to managing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. 

One Tribe

One Tribe is a climate action platform, enabling businesses and customers to reduce their carbon footprint and make a positive environmental impact. 

AntiAlgas Soluções Ambientais

AntiAlgas Soluções Ambientais designs and manufactures ultrasound equipment to control the proliferation of algae, cyanobacteria, golden mussels and aquatic parasites. 

Reeciclar

Reeciclar is a cleantech company looking to solve the problem of low recycling rates in Brazil.

Bússola Social

Bússola is a startup that provides end-to-end visibility for Private Social Investment (ISP), allowing clients to manage social projects and monitor results and third sector activities financed with private resources.

IMPACTO

The Impacto platform is the  environmental, social and governance solution for companies that connects donors to social projects, with the aim of giving them visibility, with structure and transparency. 

Labnow

Labnow’s platform connects laboratories to healthcare providers and patients, facilitating vaccine administration and test collection directly from the comfort of customers’ homes. 

You can learn more about the Impact startups attending Web Summit Rio here

Impact investors at Web Summit Rio 2024

We have invited Impact investors who are specifically interested in funding social enterprise startups. 

Positive Ventures

Positive Ventures is an entrepreneurs-run early stage venture capital fund based in São Paulo, Brazil. It teams up with mission-driven founders bridging tech and positive impact to solve Latin America’s social and environmental challenges. 

SP Ventures

SP Ventures is a leading early stage investment fund for Ag and Food Tech in Latin America, with over 10 years of track-record and experience. 

Vox Capital

Vox invests in innovative technologies, fortifies the impact investing ecosystem and aims to inspire people to be a part of this transformation, while integrating impact to risk and return in all their investment decisions.

Seedstars

Seedstars is a global organization with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging and frontier markets through technology and entrepreneurship.

Barn Investments

Barn is a greentech investment firm based in São Paulo, Brazil. Their investments are applied across four verticals: agri and land use, transport and mobility, clean industry and the circular economy, and renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

Accion

Accion is a global nonprofit that develops and scales responsible digital financial solutions for small business owners, smallholder farmers, and women, so they can make informed decisions and improve their lives. 

Senior Tech Ventures

Seniortech Ventures’ purpose is to contribute to everyone’s longevity by strengthening the quality of life for the over 50s. As such, they invest in ‘seniortechs’ with innovative solutions for the needs of this demographic.

Acelera-se Ventures

Acelera-se Ventures is a partner for startups investing in industrial tech startups. As a corporate venture builder, it offers administrative support from respected professionals to ensure that your startups reach their maximum potential.

AddVentures

AddVenture is an international venture capital fund with a sector-focused strategy. They focus specifically on companies that help people market their skills and provide them with more work opportunities in the home and local services sector. 

Synthase Impact Ventures

Synthase Impact Ventures find and help promising entrepreneurs who have set-up tech-based businesses to address key Brazilian educational, health, financial and environmental priorities.

You can learn more about some of the Impact investors attending Web Summit Rio here

Impact speakers at Web Summit Rio 2024

Many of our speakers focus on issues related to Impact. Our event offers a unique platform for tech and environmentalism to meet. Here are some of our speakers. 

Maya Pindeus, Co-founder & CEO, Another Earth  

Maya envisions a world in which technology is built around people, positively impacting people and society. At Another Earth, Maya is building the leading visual synthetic data engine to power AI and solve some of the key challenges facing society.

Peter Fernandez, Co-founder & CEO, Mombak

Peter Fernandez is the CEO of Mombak, which builds the world’s largest carbon removal projects by reforesting the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, serving customers like Microsoft. He was previously CEO of Brazil’s first technology unicorn, 99.

Helena Gualinga, Co-founder, Indigenous Youth Collective of Amazon Defenders

Helena is an Indigenous land and human rights defender from the Kichwa people of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Helena is co-founder of the Indigenous Youth Collective of Amazon Defenders.

Jens Nielsen, Founder & CEO, World Climate Foundation

Jens Nielsen is the founder and CEO of World Climate Foundation, an international stakeholder platform for accelerating the green economy through public-private partnerships. He has worked in more than 20 countries and with the world’s largest companies.

Theresa Williamson, Executive Director, Catalytic Communities

Theresa Williamson, Ph.D. is a city planner, community organizer, environmentalist and founding executive director of Catalytic Communities, an award-winning NGO providing strategic support to Rio de Janeiro’s favelas since 2000.

Cristiano Pinchetti, Head of LatAm (Regional CEO), Indigo Agriculture

Cristiano is head of LatAm at Indigo Agriculture, a technology company focused on sustainability, combining research and development of high-performance biologicals and monetising sustainable practices to deliver higher profitability to farmers.

Main image of Karena Walshe, head of Impact Partnerships at Web Summit: Gerry Mooney/Irish Independent

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