Ventures At The Helm
This guide seeks to help impact ventures identify and advocate for the impact measurement and management (IMM) strategy that will serve them best in the moment. We provide new insights and actionable guidance for both ventures and investors committed to improving their IMM practices and performance.Download Guide
How to Use this Guide
Our hope is that when ventures and investors constructively engage with each other by leveraging the experiences and tools in this guide, they can realize the potential of IMM to drive greater impact, together.
Find out how other ventures have navigated through phases of their impact journeys, addressed high-priority questions, and made choices.
Identify concrete ways to support ventures, and how your can align your expectations and contributions to get the most value from IMM.
Understand the questions, context, and choices that both ventures and investors face in market-based settings, to promote better practice.
We suggest three ways that IMM, as it is currently practiced, can and should be reframed to represent the needs of ventures
What can and should be measured depends on a venture’s visibility and control over impacts and how its business model and mission evolve.
Ventures cannot hold conditions constant or use the same metrics consistently because their context, resources, and mission & strategy changes.
Along the IMM journey, there are ebbs and flows between sophisticated, multi-dimensional approaches, to simple and direct measures, and then back again.
Phases of the Venture Impact Journey
Ventures enter, exit, and revisit phases in response to their needs, inflection points, resources, and changing contexts.
is an intentional, defined moment of framing and goal setting. It often happens in a venture’s early stage, or during a time of intentional pause and reflection.
is a continuous period of exploring new opportunities and testing questions. It often takes place in the early stage as a venture is seeking proof of concept and product-market fit.
is a continuous period of moving and managing towards a streamlined and optimized set of goals, often during a time of greater demand and momentum.
is an intentional, time-limited pivot or adaptation to a new opportunity, need or question, often in parallel to the core business.
We designed a set of worksheets to translate these findings into actionable strategies and tactics for both ventures and investors.
How Investors Can Support Ventures with IMM
There are many ways you can support ventures in adopting value-generating IMM. Some of this support is technical and financial, but there are also important non-technical and non-financial supports.
Identifying your own expectations around IMM is necessary to avoid misalignment with the venture’s IMM approach.
Plan to chart a course together
Investors can support ventures directly to bolster their IMM capacity through directly supporting them, or facilitating access to technical expertise.
Equip ventures with gear and guides
Keeping ventures at the helm involves deliberately shifting how you engage with, and model, a set of behaviors related to IMM across the investment lifecycle.
Defer to the ship’s captain
Beyond supporting your own portfolio, you can influence co-investors and the broader field to promote IMM that allows ventures to gain even more value.
Act as a lighthouse for others
“What if IMM could be positioned in a more accessible, dynamic, and empowering perspective – not only for ventures, but also for those that support and animate them?”
“We heard plenty of stories over the course of developing this guide, but my favorite by far were the stories of impact ventures taking ownership of IMM and making it work for them.”
“IMM has an important and underappreciated role to play in a venture’s impact creation journey, and we hope future research will continue to explore these relationships.”
“For this to work well it needs careful consideration and negotiation more than simply relying on off the shelf approaches – a balancing of interests and a learning orientation.”