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Tech-based disruptors looking to modernise a traditional system


Use technology to address system inefficiencies + time poverty, and build a fair and just ecosystem


Market creators and value chain enhancers


Set industry standards


Elevate authenticity, transparency, productivity, agility, responsiveness

Creative capitalists poised to scale
Carry a strong innovation focus
  • For-profit companies with a strong focus on productivity, profit, and growth

  • B2B2C / B2B

  • Mostly male founders from non-creative, often technology / finance backgrounds

  • Have an experiment / expand mindset — similar to mainstream startups

  • Likely to build aggregator platforms or disruptive ecosystems while consolidating smaller players / producers

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Business Hardships

  1. Takes time to change the system, build a market, and garner B2B acceptance

  2. Not mass market and unlike tech startups in other sectors, will not be able to promise acquiring tens of thousands of users

  3. Adaptability to new tech is slow; even large organisations do not have basic ERP

  4. Fewer examples of success / failure to inspire, educate more startups

Workforce Concerns

  1. HCMs need to partner with governments but find it difficult to access that support

  2. Investors rarely understand the core DNA / value proposition of Process Enhancers since they are seen as foreign to the handmade sector

    • ​HCMs find it hard to find investors willing to invest large ticket sizes in untested terrain; they are forced to reach out to multiple investors for small ticket sizes

    • HCMs prefer financing from one or fewer sources to reduce paperwork

    • HCMs prefer investors who are involved and supportive at every stage without interfering with the core mission

    • Enterprises are also averse to equity because they do not want to lose control; they rarely have access to mission-aligned investors

    • Lack access to investors who understand arts/crafts + rural + heritage + livelihoods + appreciate market based solutions in the sector

  3. Urgent need for and lack of catalytic grants and equity

    • ​Investment horizon needs to be > 5 years but most investors are not so patient or willing to accept lower returns

Deep tech / IoT is expensive to develop and needs larger ticket sizes. This category of HCMs is working on collecting + analysing data to improve processes and need significant capital for measurement and documentation of impact metrics as well as brand building to help customers, industry and investors see value.

I can tell investors we have a market that will grow 1000x. But I can’t tell them it will happen in 5 years. It may take us a lifetime to do that. It’s very difficult to find investors who are willing to work with ops-intensive craft businesses where you can and will see steady returns over a long period of time.



Skilling & Training
Ecosystem Building
Working Capital
Measuring Impact
Scaling & Expansion
PE/ VC Investors and Institutional Investors
  • Not willing to be patient and / or accept lower returns

  • Unwilling to work with a longer time horizon

  • Demand quick turnarounds, need clarity on scaling which is not easily available in an untested arena

  • Not used to seeing a mainstream, profit-seeking, impact-driven startup trying to make a difference in the handmade sector

Angel Investors
  • Lack access to the right investor networks

  • May need multiple angel investors to get to the larger ticket sizes they need, further complicating matters

Impact Investors
  • Prefer proven terrains and impact metrics that are demonstrable in a short time span

  • Less likely to see the strong business centricity of Process Enhancer HCMs; view them more as social enterprises that focus primarily on bottom-of-the-pyramid impact.


  • Allows HCMs to experiment and innovate, build R&D capabilities 

  • Aids the training / skilling / educating components


  • Allows HCMs the freedom to pursue their People and Planet priorities 

  • Backs solutions that may onboard customers slowly compared to mass tech solutions but are likely to plug ecosystem challenges

  • Allows HCMs to command greater premiums in a more equitable manner

  • Supports HCMs to avoid mission drift

Patient, Risk-Tolerant, Long-Term

Allows HCMs the time + flexibility required to:

  • Test and validate disruptive technology or hardware; experiment → fail → learn → pivot quickly

  • Mainstream the solution, ensure its market adoption, and broader acceptance by customers / users

  • Solve for market failure at a systems level rather than offer a superficial solution

  • Scale slowly and sustainably

Non-Financial Support

Delivers exposure to right networks + partners who understand sector-specific impact + market solutions; enhances HCM learning curve, reduces failure

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“When you bring in a partner, it’s not just financing. There's going to be a lot more involvement, which can be good or bad. If we are not aligned in our vision, it can be a bad partnership. Whatever investment is in the pipeline can be a burden. If we are aligned on the vision, then that same investment becomes an asset.”


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