Water impact investment project featured as Spanish social exchange gears up

Start-up achieves targets responsible water use in agriculture

Bolsa Social, Spain’s first equity crowdfunding platform regulated by the securities authority, ran last week a social impact investment roadshow in Madrid to raise capital for a number of companies.

They included PRISMAB, a start-up focused on the responsible use of water by SME agribusiness.

At a pitch attended by Responsible Investor two days before World Water Day, PRISMAB’s Founder and CEO Antonio Pastor said that 90% of the available water in Spain is allocated to agricultural irrigated land.

Pastor asked investors how much water is need to produce one kilogram of rice: “2,500 litres. Water management is one of the challenges of this century. Farmers carry a great responsibility for this,” he said.

Pastor said the vast majority of arable land in Spain (15m hectares, of which 3m are irrigated) are in the hands of SMEs or sole traders who lack access to the agricultural technology their larger peers do.

PRISMAB says its social impact mission as a company is to democratise access to such technology offering SMEs affordable and easy-to-use tools to set up irrigation management systems via a ground-based, internet-linked sensor. This, it is claimed, saves water and improves the quantity and quality of production – in line with SDGs #6 (clean water and sanitation) and #12 (responsible consumption and production).

On 25 March, about a month ahead of the deadline, PRISMAB had reached 111% of the initial target of €125,000 in exchange of 20% equity.José Moncada, CEO and founder of Bolsa Social, said that the platform’s financial assessment committee selects carefully the companies allowed to raise capital.

All projects have to pass also a legal due diligence test by law firm Gómez-Acebo y Pombo. Dutch sustainable bank Triodos serves as custodian banks for investors. So far 11 companies have raised €2.5m since inception in 2015-2016.

“The whole point is to support profitable companies that make a difference by creating social value and improving our society and planet. But companies need to report on their social impact KPIs [key performance indicators] via the platform,” Moncada said.

In February last year, another company backed by Bolsa Social, agriculture firm Nostoc Biotech, reported returns of 62% to investors that sold their stock when a group of business angels acquired a new share issue.

A second company pitching to investors at the event, MENSOS, a sustainable delivery company, also surpassed the target; while ONE OAK, a sustainable fashion designer and manufacturer, has so far reached 55%.

The roadshow was hosted by Impact Hub Madrid, which recently produced an impact investment framework for the city of Madrid.

For more on Bolsa Social see here.