Google Announces Impact Startup Special Managed Fund in the Asia Pacific
Google, through the nonprofit arm of Google.org, announced a new managed fund “Sustainability Seed Fund” focused on grant funding for impact startups in the Asia Pacific region.
This fund has $6 million in funds under management (over 86 billion Rupiah), will target startups that are serious about impactful sectors, such as air pollution, biodiversity, renewable energy, waste and the circular economy.
A non-profit organization in Indonesia is one of the countries on Google’s radar to receive the grant funding, although it did not mention the allocation of funds prepared by Google.
Google.org APAC Lead Marija Ralic said, the Asia Pacific region is very vulnerable to climate change, therefore her party continues to look for ways to advance sustainability and empower others to do the same.
“Through the Google.org Sustainability Seed Fund, we look forward to supporting innovative nonprofits through grant funding and resources, to scale up promising technologies and address the region’s most pressing sustainability challenges.”
He continued, Google.org has seen many innovative organizations and nonprofits across Asia. One of them, Indonesia uses technology to tackle climate change. An example is the Gringgo Foundation, which has previously been supported through Google.org.
Funding Benefits from Google
For the record, Gringgo received a grant from Google.org of $500,000 in 2019 after being named one of the 20 participants in the Google AI Impact Challenge.
Gringgo is a foundation founded in 2017 by Febriadi Pratama. This foundation adopts technology to help solve the waste problem in Indonesia, especially Bali, by using AI.
Ralic continued, previously his party conveyed at the COP26 global climate conference last year, that in terms of sustainability, the private sector, government and society have a responsibility to work together, forge new partnerships, and act now. “For this reason, we are providing the $6 million Google.org Sustainability Seed Fund in Asia Pacific.”
The funds will be used to assist local nonprofits across the region to develop promising technologies, address challenges such as air quality, water conservation, and improve access to renewable energy in Asia Pacific and beyond.
Through this fund, Google.org will not only support nonprofits and organizations with funding and in-kind support such as free advertising credits, but also technology and ideas, to address some of the most pressing sustainability challenges in the region.
“We look forward to sharing more details about the fund and how nonprofits can apply in the coming weeks.”
Impact Investing Vs Philanthropy
Managing Director of Angel Investor Network Indonesia (ANGIN) David Soukhasing explained, the basic similarity between philanthropy and impact investing is that they both have “impact intention” and “impact measurement”.
But we can distinguish them based on two factors, namely priorities and expectations of financial returns. Philanthropy clearly has social and environmental objectives, placing investments made as grants so that they do not expect returns.
Unlike philanthropy, impact investors prioritize impact and profit. Thus, impactful investors expect financial gains. However, there are investors who adopt a second approach called venture philanthropy.
This hybrid approach takes the best of both sides. The gain is the creation of social impact and the expectation of financial gain. Impact investors assess opportunities in a different way than philanthropists.
“It is important to note that not every impact (which is often discussed by philanthropists) is always suitable for impact investing and vice versa,” said Soukhasing.
Although the number of startups that use a green or environmental, social, and governance (ESG) approach is still limited, according to, currently there is a positive trend of business presence having an impact on the ecosystem. Impact investment has also emerged.
The majority of them are here to support entrepreneurship, providing more specific support for certain groups of social entrepreneurs, for example energy-focused accelerator programs, accelerator-focused waste management programs, or entrepreneurial support focused on specific geographic areas.