Scottish tech and gaming veterans give £1 million backing to pioneering social fund

Chroma Ventures was set up in 2021 by tech veterans Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl as a broad-spectrum investment arm of their video game development studio, 4J Studios.

Based in Scotland, but with an international outlook, Chroma Ventures backs companies developing and deploying innovative technology and data-led businesses.

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SIS Ventures’ Impact First launched its second round of fundraising in February this year with the aim of attracting up to £5m to scale up its “mission-led investment” in high impact, early-stage businesses.

The “cornerstone” investment by Chroma Ventures, in addition to a further £700,000 already committed by other investors, means that the fund has now exceeded its minimum target and will proceed to first close over the next two months.

Van der Kuyl, principal of Chroma Ventures, said: “Since our first investment in 2019, we’ve been impressed by SIS Ventures’ expertise and ability to identify opportunities in companies that will make a significant, positive difference in people’s lives.

“SIS Ventures’ ambition and approach complements our desire to invest in exceptional leaders and teams, which is why we have chosen to enhance our support through their Impact First fund.”

Jill Arnold, head of “impact investor” SIS Ventures, said: “Since launching Impact First, we have maintained an unwavering belief in the potential of an impact-focused fund for the investor community, which harnesses the power of business and innovation to help address society’s greatest challenges and needs.

Paddy Burns, Chris van der Kuyl, Jill Arnold and David Ovens. Picture: Stewart Attwood

“This cornerstone investment from Chroma Ventures reinforces that belief and illustrates the current demand among investors for mission-aligned opportunities.

“We’re very excited about working with Chris and Paddy as lead investors in the fund and we hope this encourages others to come on board. Investor interest in the fund, since announcing the second fundraise earlier this year, has been very promising and we’re on track to reach our target over the next couple of months.”

SIS Ventures has already invested some £3.5m into ten high impact and high growth potential businesses.

Bosses said each business is led by a “unique mission” including providing earlier diagnosis for life-limiting diseases such as cancer (Dxcover), tackling some of the world’s most serious online harm issues (Cyacomb, formerly Cyan Forensics), encouraging the switch to electric vehicles through on-street charging points (Trojan Energy), and revolutionizing the advertising industry in making it a force for good (Good-Loop).

SIS Ventures said its second Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fundraise presents an opportunity for investors to support existing Impact First investees to grow through follow-on funding rounds, as well as invest in new, early-stage businesses.

The minimum investment sought is £20,000, with each investor backing at least eight businesses over a period of seven to ten years.

SIS Ventures is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Social Investment Scotland (SIS). Launched in 2018 and authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority, SIS Ventures has already raised and deployed its first £1.3m Impact First EIS fundraise.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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