SnackMagic picks up $15M to expand from build-your-own snack boxes into a wider gifting marketplace

The office shut-down at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year spurred huge investment in digital transformation and a wave of tech companies helping with that, but there were some distinct losers in the shift, too — specifically those whose business models were predicated on serving the very offices that disappeared overnight. Today, one of the companies that had to make an immediate pivot to keep itself afloat is announcing a round of funding, after finding itself not just growing at a clip, but making a profit, as well.

SnackMagic, a build-your-own snack box service, has raised $15 million in a Series A round of funding led by Craft Ventures, with Luxor Capital also participating.

(Both investors have an interesting track record in the food-on-demand space: Most recently, Luxor co-led a $528 million round in Glovo in Spain, while Craft backs/has backed the likes of Cloud Kitchens, Postmates and many more).

The funding comes on the back of a strong year for the company, which hit a $20 million revenue run rate in eight months and turned profitable in December 2020.

Founder and CEO Shaunak Amin said in an interview that the plan will be to use the funding both to continue growing SnackMagic’s existing business, as well as extend into other kinds of gifting categories. Currently, you can ship snacks anywhere in the world, but the customizable boxes — recipients are gifted an amount that they can spend, and they choose what they want in the box themselves from SnackMagic’s menu, or one that a business has created and branded as a subset of that — are only available in locations in North America, serviced by SnackMagic’s primary warehouse. Other locations are given options of pre-packed boxes of snacks right now, but the plan is to slowly extend its pick-and-mix model to more geographies, starting with the U.K.

Alongside this, the company plans to continue widening the categories of items that people can gift each other beyond chocolates, chips, hot sauces and other fun food items, into areas like alcohol, meal kits, and non-food items. There’s also scope for expanding to more use cases into areas like corporate gifting, marketing and consumer services, and analytics coming out of its sales.

Amin calls the data that SnackMagic is amassing about customer interest in different brands and products “the hidden gem” of the platform.

“It’s one of the most interesting things,” he said. Brands that want to add their items to the wider pool of products — which today numbers between 700 and 800 items — also get access to a dashboard where they monitor what’s selling, how much stock is left of their own items, and so on. “One thing that is very opaque [in the CPG world] is good data.”

For many of the bigger companies that lack their own direct sales channels, it’s a significantly richer data set than what they typically get from selling items in the average brick and mortar store, or from a bigger online retailer like Amazon. “All these bigger brands like Pepsi and Kellogg not only want to know this about their own products more but also about the brands they are trying to buy,” Amin said. Several of them, he added, have approached his company to partner and invest, so I guess we should watch this space.

SnackMagic’s success comes from a somewhat unintended, unlikely beginning, and it’s a testament to the power of compelling, yet extensible technology that can be scaled and repurposed if necessary. In its case, there is personalization technology, logistics management, product inventory and accounting, and lots of data analytics involved.

The company started out as Stadium, a lunch delivery service in New York City that was leveraging the fact that when co-workers ordered lunch or dinner together for the office — say around a team-building event or a late-night working session, or just for a regular work day — oftentimes they found that people all hankered for different things to eat.

In many cases, people typically make separate orders for the different items, but that also means if you are ordering to all eat together, things would not arrive at the same time; if it’s being expensed, it’s more complicated on that front too; and if you’re thinking about carbon footprints, it might also mean a lot less efficiency on that front too.

Stadium’s solution was a platform that provided access to multiple restaurants’ menus, and people could pick from all of them for a single order. The business had been operating for six years and was really starting to take off.

“We were quite well known in the city, and we had plans to expand, and we were on track for March 2020 being our best month ever,” Amin said. Then, Covid-19 hit. “There was no one left in the office,” he said. Revenue disappeared overnight, since the idea of delivering many items to one place instantly stopped being a need.

Amin said that they took a look at the platform they had built to pick many options (and many different costs, and the accounting that came with that) and thought about how to use that for a different end. It turned out that even with people working remotely, companies wanted to give props to their workers, either just to say hello and thanks, or around a specific team event, in the form of food and treats — all the more so since the supply of snacks you typically come across in so many office canteens and kitchens were no longer there for workers to tap.

It’s interesting, but perhaps also unsurprising, that one of the by-products of our new way of working has been the rise of more services that cater (no pun intended) to people working in more decentralised ways, and that companies exploring how to improve rewarding people in those environments are also seeing a bump.

Just yesterday, we wrote about a company called Alyce raising $30 million for its corporate gifting platform that is also based on personalization — using AI to help understand the interests of the recipient to make better choices of items that a person might want to receive.

Alyce is taking a somewhat different approach to SnackMagic: it’s not holding any products itself, and there is no warehouse but rather a platform that links up buyers with those providing products. And Alyce’s initial audience is different, too: instead of internal employees (the first, but not final, focus for SnackMagic) it is targeting corporate gifting, or presents that sales and marketing people might send to prospects or current clients as a please and thank you gesture.

But you can also see how and where the two might meet in the middle — and compete not just with each other, but the many other online retailers, Amazon and otherwise, plus the consumer goods companies themselves looking for ways of diversifying business by extending beyond the B2C channel.

“We don’t worry about Amazon. We just get better,” Amin said when I asked him about whether he worried that SnackMagic was too easy to replicate. “It might be tough anyway,” he added, since “others might have the snacks but picking and packing and doing individual customization is very different from regular e-commerce. It’s really more like scalable gifting.”

Investors are impressed with the quick turnaround and identification of a market opportunity, and how it quickly retooled its tech to make it fit for purpose.

“SnackMagic’s immediate success was due to an excellent combination of timing, innovative thinking and world-class execution,” said Bryan Rosenblatt, principal investor at Craft Ventures, in a statement. “As companies embrace the future of a flexible workplace, SnackMagic is not just a snack box delivery platform but a company culture builder.”

Top 7 small cap altcoins with huge potential, says analyst George Tung

In the recent video, crypto KOL George Tung from CryptosRUs discussed 7 altcoins under $150M in market cap that he believes are poised to explode.

top-7-small-cap-altcoins-with-huge-potential-says-analyst-george-tung

Rally (RLY)

Rally (RLY) is the first altcoin on the list, a decentralized network for creators to monetize and align themselves with their community. As a community-owned network, the community is in charge of making the decisions for how the network evolves, not the Rally team itself.

“This is a brilliant idea! It’s a very easy way for creators to basically launch a token and interact and engage with their fans”, the trader says.

Moreover, excitingly, Rally recently launched a cryptocurrency dubbed Creator Coin that will help influencers, content creators, and streamers run their own virtual economies. The analyst also cites the news that Grammy-winning artist Portugal.The Man has also joined as a coin partner.

“All these entities have big followings and they’re adopting Rally”.

Terra Virtua (TVK)

Next on the list is Terra Virtua (TVK). Terra Virtua is a cross-platform non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem that offers a curated marketplace for NFT creators and collectors to interact. The Terra Virtua Kolect platform spans web, PC, and mobile AR/VR environments.

“Terra Virtua has launched a line of Godzilla vs. Kong NFT collectibles created in collaboration with film production giant Warner Bros. — among the first-ever NFT drops to coincide with the release of a major film”, Tung says.

He further adds that if there is anything more than places Terra Virtua uniquely in the NFT and blockchain space, it is the partnerships the project has bagged over the last 3 years, including Paramount Pictures, Legendary Entertainment, and more in the space.

Revv (REVV)

Next on Tung’s radar is Revv (REVV). REVV is designed to leverage the blockchain assets concept of interoperability, wherein a token can be utilised across multiple connected products.

“Revv is specifically created for games. Having one utility token for multiple game titles offers various benefits to players and game publishers and will encourage players to explore the other games that are part of this connected ecosystem, and has the additional potential benefit that any content or tokens could increase in utility as the larger token ecosystem expands”.

Tung also shares his bullish view on the coin that given the current strong fundamental grounds, the coin will pump to the moon really soon.

Nuls (NULS)

Nuls (NULS) is the next potential low market cap altcoin on the video.

NULS is an open-source, enterprise-grade, adaptive blockchain platform that offers fast-track business solutions for developers. Featuring microservices, smart contracts, cross-chain interoperability, and instant chain-building, NULS sets a new industry standard in streamlining blockchain adoption.

“The coin has been finally climbing, crawling up and they’re finally above 100 million, 127 million to be exact, and you know what, hopefully, they could continue to momentum and gain and go back to their previous highs”, Tung says.

Frontier (FRONT)

Next on the list is Frontier (FRONT), a chain-agnostic DeFi aggregation layer.

“To date, the coin has added support for DeFi on Ethereum, Binance Chain, BandChain, Kava, and Harmony. Via StaFi Protocol, they also enter into the Polkadot ecosystem, and will put vigorous efforts towards Serum”, he says.

EasyFi (EASY)

The sixth altcoin is EasyFi (EASY), a universal layer 2 lending protocol built for DeFi focused on scalability, composability, and adoption.

Tung points out that the one of the most interesting features is that the network design is ethereum compatible and blockchain agnostic that facilitates the expeditious settlement of assets over different blockchain networks while retaining custody with the asset owner’s network.

Bepro (BEPRO)

Lastly, the crypto KOL lists out Bepro (BEPRO), a utility token that enables token holders to setup applications on BEPRO, participate in the network, and earn token rewards by providing value.

The trader says that BEPRO Network Staking on Kucoin has been increased recently as the previous hardcap of 330M BEPRO has been increased to 430M BEPRO.

He also comments that although this is still an early coin, looking at the technology, communities and its partnerships, he believes that this coin would soon begin its rally.

[Chainlink] How the Chainlink Network Goes Beyond Data Delivery

How the Chainlink Network Goes Beyond Data Delivery

Oracles are commonly thought of as blockchain middleware that enable smart contracts to access external data—yet oracle networks, as they exist within Chainlink’s model, are much more than data delivery mechanisms. Through a wide-range of off-chain computational abilities, Chainlink’s decentralized oracle networks are providing blockchains with decentralized services that go far beyond securely fetching external data.

From Chainlink’s widely adopted Data Feeds, an extensive collection of on-chain price oracles for DeFi smart contracts, to Chainlink VRF, which generates a verifiable source of randomness for dynamic NFTs, to Chainlink’s highly customizable external adapters, the Chainlink Network is supporting a rapidly-expanding array of key oracle functions that are enhancing the capabilities of smart contracts across numerous blockchains and layer-2 networks.

In his recent presentation at the 2021 ETHDenver Hackathon, Chainlink Co-founder Sergey Nazarov emphasized the expansive functionality of decentralized oracle networks and how Chainlink-powered off-chain computations service a wide variety of smart contract use cases, from DeFi to parametric insurance to blockchain-based gaming.  The following is an excerpt of Sergey’s talk highlighting a key takeaway that the Chainlink Network goes far beyond data delivery to power new features and applications for the fast-growing blockchain economy.


Chainlink is not just about data—it is about an oracle network—and oracle networks are responsible for everything that blockchains are not responsible for. An oracle network is not just about delivering data. It is about providing all the tools and services needed by a contract. Smart contracts run on blockchain platforms are hyper-secure and hyper-reliable, but they are low on feature-richness for security reasons. Oracles extend the capabilities of blockchains by offering decentralized services like off-chain computation.

Centralized systems have completely lost people’s trust in many cases and will continue to lose people’s trust in almost all cases. Centralized services from social media to communications to the financial system are being viewed even by the average person as unreliable. People no longer want to create long-term relationships with these institutions.

How the Chainlink Network Goes Beyond Data Delivery
Chainlink offers a wide-range of off-chain computation and decentralized services.

I think the middle ground between highly centralized, feature-rich systems and highly trust-minimized but low-feature blockchain systems is an oracle network. An oracle network sits between every use case and all of the blockchains that those use cases run on, providing blockchains with all the other services they need. All of the other services a blockchain needs are a huge universe of inputs that may start at providing different types of data but quickly moves on to trust-minimized computations that, generally speaking, blockchains usually don’t do and probably won’t do at scale. Oracle networks will expand to do trust-minimized computation, in addition to providing data, and the combination of these will enable a much wider realm of products to be built.

The middle ground between highly centralized, feature-rich systems and highly trust-minimized but low-feature blockchain systems is an oracle network.

The first thing that is becoming very popular in the blockchain gaming community is Chainlink’s Verifiable Random Function (VRF). VRF is working for many different blockchain games that already use it in production, and it’s going live on multiple blockchains. Anyone can easily use it on Ethereum to provide random inputs to games. Beyond that, we are finalizing some of our plans around Chainlink Keepers and the ability to maintain a smart contract’s proper operation through a Chainlink Network. This is important, once again, because even DevOps and maintenance of contracts are responsibilities of oracle networks, as these operations need to be trust-minimized. Even beyond that, I think developers can think about, “How do I use the expanded computational capabilities of Chainlink’s adapters to compute more and more advanced things in a trust minimized-way that doesn’t require me to disclose things to blockchains?”

The realm of services the Chainlink Network offers will continue to grow, so if you’re a developer and you want to build cutting-edge, truly world-changing applications, Chainlink is  fundamentally here to help you. The Chainlink Network is here to help the world’s developers make trust-minimized decentralized applications that will be the new way that society interacts around various information. To me, it’s apparent that is where society is headed because of the systemic and continued failure of trust relationships with centralized institutions like social media, other communication systems, and financial systems. Fundamentally, our goal is to accelerate the transition to a truly decentralized and fair economic system.

CEX.IO Launches Crypto Savings Account Service With up to 20% APY

CEX.IO, a leading international cryptocurrency exchange, launches its Savings service as the newest solution in the fast-growing Earn ecosystem. Available in 171 countries, CEX.IO Savings offers users up to 20% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on 19 different digital assets with the flexibility to move funds in and out of their accounts without any restrictions.

Similarly to savings accounts in the traditional finance industry, CEX.IO Savings offers users a way to generate a passive return on the digital assets they hold. However, unlike a savings account, the international exchange’s Savings product allows customers to add capital or withdraw their funds at any time without fees, expiration dates, or the requirement to lock their holdings for extended periods.

Currently, CEX.IO Savings users can earn interest between 2% and 20% APY on 19 different cryptocurrencies, including multiple stablecoins and DeFi tokens. However, the company is soon expanding its list of supported digital assets.

Users can earn interest in their cryptocurrencies in two ways within CEX.IO Savings. While Flexible Savings provides customers access to their funds any time they need, Locked Savings is for those who are planning to hold their digital assets for a longer time period. While users have to lock their assets until the expiration date, they can utilize this savings type to achieve higher returns with fixed interest rates. On the other hand, the APY for Flexible Savings is fixed on a daily basis. It is reviewed every 24 hours and will respond to the market conditions based on supply and demand.

CEX.IO launched its Savings service as part of the greater Earn ecosystem, which is centered around crypto users seeking to generate an extra income on their digital asset holdings. As the first solution in the Earn suite, CEX.IO launched Staking in 2020, a service that allows customers to earn rewards for locking up their tokens and maintaining the blockchain networks of cryptocurrency projects utilizing the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. One of the USPs of CEX.IO Staking is that CEX.IO takes on all the complexities of staking node management and technical integrations.

This allows CEX.IO Staking to guarantee fast capital withdrawals for our users to the extent that users can even place limit orders on our exchange with the assets they staked. This unique feature allows our users to keep generating a passive return on their staked asset while waiting for the price to increase up to the level when they would like to exit from their position.

Founded in 2013, CEX.IO is an international cryptocurrency exchange that offers a wide range of digital asset solutions to over 4 million customers. With a fast-growing ecosystem of innovative products, the London-based company serves all participants of the cryptocurrency market – from retail traders to institutional investors. With a robust, enterprise-grade service, CEX.IO’s multi-functional digital asset solutions feature cutting-edge security while being regulated in multiple jurisdictions, including the United States, Gibraltar, and Cyprus.

In July 2020 and February 2021, CryptoCompare ranked CEX.IO among the top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide in its Exchange Benchmark Rating. In both reports, the London-based company secured an A grade as well as the third spot in terms of security.

“The way the crypto market was developing in 2020 and 2021 provided digital asset holders a good deal of new options to earn. Staking, lending, and yield farming – to name a few. During the times we have spent in the DeFi sector, we noticed a demand among our users to earn passive income while holding crypto assets. For that reason, we decided to launch CEX.IO Earn, a new service within CEX.IO ecosystem allowing crypto owners to profit by contributing to the blockchain industry. After rolling out Staking and seeing the hugely positive market response, we are now launching Savings. With our new product, customers can earn interest after the coins they contributed on the platform while having the flexibility to withdraw their funds or increase their holdings to achieve better returns at any time,” Konstantin Anissimov, Executive Director at CEX.IO, stated.

Spain Seeks Public Comments on Potential Cryptocurrency Regulations

Cryptocurrency regulations across different countries continue to be a hot topic, and Spain is the latest to join in. The nation’s watchdog has asked industry participants, investors, and consumers for their opinion, and they have until April 16th to respond.

Spain’s Regulator Looks for Crypto Legislation

According to a report from La Informacion, The National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), Spain’s watchdog overseeing the securities markets, has initiated the first steps of nationwide crypto regulations.

The process has started by sending emails to representatives of the cryptocurrency industry, investors, and customers. They have less than two weeks to prepare statements with their comments on the proposals and send them back to the agency.

The coverage outlined that the potential regulations could affect almost all areas of the cryptocurrency industry. However, the legislation could exempt some professional activities, assets that are exclusively used as means of payment, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Interestingly, the US also hinted at new rules regarding NFTs recently, but they seemed significantly more strict. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may implement taxes on NFT purchases made with profits of digital assets, as CryptoPotatoreported recently.

Apart from the aforementioned potential regulations on crypto assets, Spain has also explored developing a central bank digital currency. The country’s central bank said in late 2020 that releasing a CBDC is among the priorities in the next three years.

Regulations in Other Countries

The exponential growth of the entire crypto space in the past year or so has caught the attention of global regulators. Consequently, numerous countries have started looking into inserting legislative frameworks.

Spain’s northern neighbor, France, called for a new and robust approach towards crypto regulations in February this year. The chairman of the nation’s financial regulatory body (AMF) believes that the current legal structures are insufficient when it comes down to new asset classes such as digital currencies.

Continuing north on the map and Britain’s Finance Minister, John Glen, urged the country to firstly focus on regulating stablecoins rather than the entire market, while the FCA has repeatedly issued warnings.

In some countries, such as South Korea, the implemented regulations have caused troubles for some of the firms operating within their borders. The East Asian nation introduced new AML legislation last month, and several cryptocurrency exchanges announced closing doors for their respective South Korean branches in response.

Raze Network Announces Partnership with UNION

Today, we are excited to let you know Raze Network partners with UNION, a technology platform that combines bundled protection and a liquid secondary market with a multi-token model.

Under the UNION system, DeFi participants are able to manage their multi-layer risks across smart contracts and protocols in one scalable system. UNION also aims to decrease the entry barriers for retail users and lays the foundation for institutional investors.

Privacy and protection, while often used together as a term, require the cooperation of different players to address the nuanced layers. For us, there are just too many synergies between UNION and Raze Network to pass up this chance to team up. UNION is known for its full-stack DeFi protection, open access for all, and creating peace of mind for DeFi users, all of which coincide with what we believe.

UNION’s approach is a natural fit for protecting value locked in Raze vaults and sent in payment channels. Beyond protection, we will explore extending our Secret DeFi Bridge to support their collateral optimization protection (C-OP) and lending platform (ULend) so DeFi participants can optimize their capital in a private fashion.

With UNION, we can help each other explore different ways of offering protection to users, be it in trading or via information and data exchange.

Raze Network, as a privacy protocol aiming to protect the user identity and confidentiality for the entire DeFi stack of the Polkadot ecosystem, can work to help UNION and UNION users acting as second-layer protection.

Additionally, with the Efficient Σ-Bullets algorithm, a self-developed algorithm based on the Σ-Bullets encryption proof mechanism of the open-source project Zether, we can help UNION encrypt user account balances and transactions, and eventually propel us toward finance sovereignty.

“We’re excited to bring our work at the UNION Protocol Foundation to the Raze Network. Privacy preservation is a necessary tool for ensuring self-sovereign data rights and maintaining transaction confidentiality in a complicated, composable DeFi environment. Privacy rights and data control architectures have had a foundational role in my own interests in distributed ledger technology; Raze has developed a leading-edge approach that is set for success. We’re looking forward to working with the Raze team and engaging their input as we address privacy considerations in our own work, going forward,”

said Michael Beck, UNION’s Project Lead.

About UNION

UNION is a technology platform that combines bundled protection and a liquid secondary market with a multi-token model. DeFi participants manage their multi-layer risks across smart contracts and protocols in one scalable system. UNION decreases the entry barriers for retail users and lays the foundation for institutional investors. UNION’s full-stack DeFi protection is inclusive, composable, and brings battle-tested capital and pricing models from TradFi to the DeFi ecosystem.

About Raze Network

Raze Network is a Substrate-based cross-chain privacy protocol for the Polkadot ecosystem. It is built as a native privacy layer that can provide end-to-end anonymity for the entire DeFi stack. The Raze Network applies zkSNARKs to the Zether framework to build a second-layer decentralized anonymous module. It will then be imported as a substrate-based smart contract. The objective of Raze Network is to enable cross-chain privacy-preserving payment and trading systems while protecting the transparency of your assets and behaviors from surveillance.

Prepare Your Crypto Startups as Binance is Shopping
Prepare Your Crypto Startups as Binance is Shopping 101
Source: a screenshot, Instagram/binance

Major crypto exchange Binance plans to do about three acquisitions every month, according to CEO Changpeng Zhao (aka CZ).

Binance is “actively doing acquisition deals, especially in a lot of these new areas. My view is I’m not an expert in these areas, and it’s better for us to find strong teams that are already doing this well,” he told Bloomberg.

And the future, per the CEO, holds quite a few of these deals as well. CZ said that,

“We plan to do somewhere between 20 and 30 acquisitions a year. Most are smaller acquisitions—we don’t announce them. Some will be bigger ones like CoinMarketCap, but we do plan to do about 30 acquisitions each year, which probably means about three deals every month now.”

The CEO did not elaborate on potential acquisition targets.

As reported, responding to speculations in South Korean media that Binance might be among potential buyers of the Bithumb exchange, Binance said that they are “always open to considering strategic partnerships and investments at any given time.”

Meanwhile, in their recent M&A report, major consultancy company PwCsaid they expect to see further consolidation in the industry with some of the larger, well-funded, or profitable firms continuing their M&A activities.

“We expect the focus to be not on the acquisition of smaller competitors but rather of firms that offer ancillary services to their current offering (e.g. crypto media, data, compliance, research),” they added.

On multiple occasions, Binance stressed that they’re building “the infrastructure for the blockchain ecosystem.” They control both custodian and non-custodian crypto exchanges, develop Binance Smart Chain, own a token launch platform, have their own investment arm, an incubator for blockchain projects, provide digital asset research services, have their own crypto wallet, operate a charity foundation, and recently introduced a crypto pay service.

Also, in the interview, CZ went on to discuss some other potential plans. Unlike its competitor Coinbase, which has filed for a direct listing, Binance is “right now […] not looking at an IPO.” The CEO said that the company is cash-sufficient and able to grow itself, adding: “We don’t need a huge amount of money, we are profitable, and we are growing.”

On the other hand, as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage now, Binance “may look at doing something there,” said the CEO.

Besides that, they plan to add more fiat channels, saying that the exchange added about 50 different channels worldwide last year, and that they could “probably add another 30 or 50 more this year.”

As for financial metrics related to the company in terms of growth, CZ claimed that they don’t have “a lot of specific numbers.” The numbers change quickly based on bitcoin (BTC) price, he said, adding that, as the company is lowering fees across various places, it’s too early in the year to estimate the revenue. But the volumes “have grown quite a bit” in the first two months of this year, the CEO said.

In December 2020, he said that the company expects to have profits of USD 800m to USD 1bn in 2020, up from about USD 570m in 2019.

Also, Binance is making a number of “fairly large expansions” in different areas, including the Binance Card – which is actually losing money, he said. This is fine though, he argued, “because we want to get that product out.”

As to whether Binance would eventually becoming a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), the CEO said “it’s possible, but it’s going to take a number of years.”

In the meantime, as reported, Binance is being investigated by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission over concerns that it allowed Americans to place wagers that violated US rules.

Artemis’ Bonthron: Being different is good, being right is key

In the autumn of 2020, Craig Bonthron, Neil Goddin, Jonathan Parsons and Ryan Smith departed Kames Capital to join Artemis, with the intention of launching and co-managing global equity funds with a focus on positive impact.

At the beginning of April, the former co-managers of the Kames Global Sustainable Equity, Global Equity Market Neutral and Global Equity funds debuted the Artemis Positive Future fund with their new employer.

The unconstrained portfolio of 35 to 45 holdings across global equities focuses on disruptive companies, primarily within the small- and mid-cap space, creating “transformational change” in their sectors and in society.

How does Artemis Positive Future compare to strategies your team previously managed at Kames and how will it differentiate itself from existing impact funds?

What we have here is really differentiated. We have less than 5% overlap with most of our peers in terms of the stocks in the portfolio, 70% of the stocks in the portfolio are classed as small and mid caps, and the median market cap of the fund is £4bn.

As was the case at Kames, it is a very high conviction strategy. We have an active share of around 99.5% versus the [MSCI All Country World] index, which is something I do not think any competitor could claim.

We are also genuinely bottom up. Many approaches come from a thematic or top-down perspective – a focus on renewables, for example. We are trying to find differentiated companies that are underappreciated and emerging growth, which is something that is very different from what is available in the market.

It is always important to be different, as long as it is in a good way. Within our space, being different is good but being right is key.

The fund is based on an underlying philosophy that ‘the 20th century consumer-industrial complex is being disrupted’. How does that translate to investment opportunity?

The rate of change from an innovation perspective is accelerating and there are significant problems in the world, which we cannot turn a blind eye to and which need to be solved.

At the intersection of those two things, creative and innovative companies have the potential to create significant economic value – not just to capture that value but to create value for society at large. It is a once-in-a-generation, perhaps longer, opportunity for innovators looking to capture value at that intersection.

While the strategy is bottom-up, given that philosophy, are you able to identify particular sectors or regions where you would expect most investment opportunities to spring from?

We are looking for innovation, wherever it springs, and for companies that are genuinely trying to create value at that intersection. So it could be anywhere and we are keeping our minds open.

Some of the biggest positive impact opportunities we have found are second order impacts or are non-obvious.

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