Enabling start-ups to level up their impact: introducing the Pollinator Impact Navigation Tool

Fund Updates · Jun 13, 2023

At the TELUS Pollinator Fund, we’re proud to invest in companies that are creating measurable impact in the world. We recently launched our 2022 Impact Report, where we showcase the innovations that our portfolio companies are pioneering and the impact that is being catalyzed in the two years since our inception.

We’re proud to have deployed almost $40 million into 26 companies, of which 42% are led by women, and 54% are led by Indigenous or racialized founders.

Impact measurement and management (IMM) are key considerations throughout our investment process. From initial screening to post-investment, we work with companies to understand, analyze‌ and optimize the impact generated. We have adopted industry frameworks such as IRIS+ and the Five Dimensions of Impact, and have participated with ecosystem partners like Impact Frontiers.

“The TELUS Pollinator Fund has developed an approach to impact management that is robust and comprehensive, leveraging existing frameworks where appropriate but customized to their specific impact goals and context, serving as a leading example within the Impact Frontiers cohorts.” - Mike McCreless, Executive Director, Impact Frontiers

Since our launch in 2020, we have accomplished several milestones:

  • Designed an internal impact rating tool that quantitatively measures a company’s potential impact

  • Integrated industry frameworks like IRIS+ and the Five Dimensions into our due diligence process

  • Participated in and contributed to an industry-first pilot designed to verify our impact strategy

  • Worked with our portfolio companies to provide in-depth, customized support for their IMM strategies.

We strive to be trusted partners with our portfolio companies and contribute to those start-ups’ impact measurement and management strategies. As investors in climate, agriculture, health‌ and inclusive communities, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to IMM. We noticed that amongst our portfolio of companies, the journey can be complex as they find the right IMM frameworks to adopt for their product or service.

To address this problem, we developed the Pollinator Impact Navigation Tool for our portfolio, which helps companies navigate the impact measurement and management landscape. One of our founders, Julia Rivard (CEO, Shoelace Learning), had this to say about the tool:

"Using data to drive decisions that drive our business and impact goals is foundational to our success. Unfortunately, we hadn't found a good road map or resource to help us navigate impact management until now. The Pollinator Impact Navigation Tool was immediately valuable and applicable to our business and would be to any impact business. Its simple diagnostic places each company into the right stage of impact measurement readiness and then clearly and simply directs you to what's important at your unique stage. It has become a tool that's core to our data measurement and reporting at Shoelace."

Today, we are releasing the Pollinator Impact Navigation Tool publicly to help advance impact management practices across the broader ecosystem. The Pollinator Fund impact tool will act as a playbook for early-stage start-ups developing an IMM system. By using the tool, start-ups will be able to:

  • Assess their company's current impact management capabilities

  • Identify priority areas to address to level up the company's IMM system   

  • Track, manage‌ and communicate the company's impact on an ongoing basis through templates.

If you are part of an early-stage company, or work with start-ups as an investor or advisor, we invite you to use the tool to aid the formation and refinement of IMM strategies.

For more information and to download the Pollinator Impact Navigation Tool, please visit this page. As IMM is a continuous process of improvement, we will circulate a survey shortly to obtain your feedback on the tool.

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