The first cohort of Maze X ended their 9-month acceleration experience at the Change NOW summit in Paris, a 3-day conference where the most promising impact entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and
decision-makers meet. Maze X was hosted by its founding partner, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations and was featured in an exhibition booth, two roundtables and pop-up events.
At Maze X, we believe in the power of collaboration. One of the most important perks of this programme is to enlarge the contact network of our founders. Whether the founders are looking into raising the next round or finding a corporate partner, they need the right intros. That is why we focus on helping our founders tap into a new and international ecosystem where they can scale their businesses and, consequently, their impact. The Change NOW summit was the perfect opportunity to do just that. This is what happened.
The founders opened new leads
The Maze X startups that attended the conference were: Bios, SitEinander, Springkode, Tuki, MyPolis, goodbag and Rnters. GoParity joined them too. They met:
- Impact investors in a Learning Expedition organised by the Edmond the Rothschild Foundations (EdRF)
- Ecosystem enablers such as Krloos and Margarita from the Social Nest Foundation team who invited Maze X startups to attend and exhibit at 4impact conference in Barcelona.
Maze X engaged with a diverse and relevant audience
The Maze X booth was right next to the European Investment Fund, the lead investor in our venture capital impact fund, and the European Investment Institute our long-time partner. We were glad to see a diverse audience reaching out to us in our booth, from private equity institutions to students looking for job opportunities, or researchers wanting to enter the space. We believe that to be effective, impact needs to become mainstream, and this audience is a shred of clear evidence that we are on that path.
The founders pitched to a jury of experts
Our startups benefited from a dedicated pitch stage juried by Hugo Gerauvilliers (Angelsqaure), Laura Cramer (Social Impact Ventures), Morgan Kessous (Gaia Capital Partners), Bethany Green (Bethnal Green Ventures), Ernst Hoestra (Startup Bootcamp). It was a great networking moment for our startups, as well as an opportunity to collect feedback from experts in entrepreneurship.
Christoph Hantschk, co-founder and CEO of goodbag, a participant from the first cohort of Maze X, pitching at Change NOW summit in Paris
Maze X team was featured in roundtables
Rita Casimiro, our Head of Acceleration, showcased Maze X in a roundtable with Sandrine Ricard (Head of Sustainability & Responsibility, Chivas Brothers) and Amy Lewin (Senior Reporter, Sifted).
Firoz Ladak, CEO of EdRF, presented the foundations view on impact entrepreneurship in roundtable with Charmian Love (Co-Founder and Chair B Lab UK), Ryan Gellert (General Manager, Patagonia EMEA) and Ramon Fernandez (Deputy Chief Executive Officer Finance, Performance and Europe, Orange).
Firoz Ladak, CEO of the Edmond the Rothschild Foundations, speaking in a panel at Change NOW summit
We were inspired by outstanding speakers
The programme of the summit is inspiring in and of itself. We highlight two moments that resonated with us deeply.
First, Ynzo van Zanten’s talk about Tony Chocolonely commitment to fight child slavery. Ynzo shared the story of the company’s foundation. The founder, Teun van de Keuken, is a badass journalist and entrepreneur that self-reported to the police for being an accomplice to the crime of slavery as a chocolate consumer. He chose to do this to raise awareness to consumers to be more mindful of the origin of the products we buy. “Once we know and are aware, we are responsible for our action and our inaction” -Jean-Paul Sartre.
We also highlight the talk of Alex Stephany, founder of Beam. We always feel excited when we meet a founder fully invested in solving a social and environmental problem. Beam is a crowdfunding platform that helps homeless people access training to enter the job market.
Attending ChangeNOW, an international conference entirely about sustainability, is a must-do for any entrepreneur interested in growing their impact startup. While the audience of attendees was quite diverse in terms of roles played in the ecosystem (founders, investors, corporates, support players, students, job-seekers), we all share a profound belief in impact investing as the solution for the most significant social and environmental challenges of our time.
The Maze X team and founders at Change NOW summit 2020 in Paris. Top: Michael Parkes (Bios), Ângela Silva (MAZE), Rita Casimiro (MAZE), Gereon Wellmann (MAZE), Reinaldo Moreira (Springkode). Bottom: Tomás Vila Luz (MAZE), Bennet Barth (BMW Foundation), António Miguel (MAZE), Luís Fonseca (MAZE), Guilherme Guerra (Rnters)
The Change NOW summit took place in the Grand Palais in Paris from January 30 to February 1 2020. Maze X and its startups were invited by its founding partner, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, to showcase their solutions to the most promising players in the ecosystem. EdRF extended the invitation to our acceleration partners BNP Paribas and Casa do Impacto as well as Portugal Social Innovation and the BMW Foundation.
Maze X was conceived and initiated by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations and MAZE, with the law firm PLMJ and BNP Paribas joining as corporate members, Hospital da Luz Learning Health, Casa do Impacto as partners.
Photo credits: MAZE Impact