An ESG Training for
Venture Capital Investors

‘Leading in ESG’ is a unique fit-for-purpose training developed by VentureESG with KfW Capital and the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt to enable venture capital investors to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles across fund and investment processes.

Why ESG and why the training?

Why ESG matters for VCs?

ESG (environment, social, governance) principles and impact increasingly matter for VC investors: integrating considerations across the investment process (decision making and due diligence), internal fund management, and portfolio support (post-investment) has material consequences and has, until recently, been a gap in most VC funds’ practices.

While investing in ‘impactful’ businesses (environmental, social or otherwise) is also becoming increasingly common among VCs (and will hence form part of this training too), ESG is a full-body-workout for all VCs, regardless of their specific objective.

Why the ‘Leading in ESG’ training?

While the momentum among VCs around ESG is building, we at VentureESG want to support the ecosystem with fit-for-purpose training. Following an initial pilot in Q4 2022, co-developed with the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt and German state-LP KfW Capital, this training combines our unique industry insight with best practice examples, tools, and voices.

The training touches on all internal practices, routines, and processes and cuts across a large variety of subject areas and functions such as investing, portfolio support and stakeholder management. Integrating ESG across the investor and startup value chain with a VC-specific approach (including frameworks, resources, and tools) will prove to be essential in growing the next generation of ‘good’ and responsible startups.

The goals of this training programme are simple: educate participating VCs on both the basics of ESG and help with its concrete implementation across fund processes. We can differentiate four concrete goals: 


Establish a baseline understanding:
there is much confusion between ESG, impact, ethical and responsible investing, and many other concepts and practices. Defining and rationalising what ESG and impact stand for is a first step towards common practice and avoiding ESG-washing. We will provide evidence and examples for the ESG business case in VC. 


Support the move to concrete action:
after establishing a common baseline, focusing on concrete action and implementation for VC investors and portfolio teams is the crucial step to enable change. As part of the training course, we will propose practical tools for VCs (e.g. our ESG framework and portfolio support tool) and show how they can be adopted by different people across VC functions. 


Learning by doing:
each of the sessions will not only consist of an easy-to-understand explanation of key concepts and tools, but also of an interactive exercise, case study, or application. Split up into smaller breakout groups or in the full plenary, we will spend time thinking about how ESG and impact play a role in VCs’ practical day-to-day roles concretely. 


Inspired by industry leaders:
during most sessions, we will draw in external speakers to share short, pointed, and specific examples of a learning or ESG/impact application from their own practice. Building on the network of ESG and impact leaders of VentureESG, BMW Foundation, and KfW Capital, this set of practitioners, investors, and LPs adds another layer of depth.

What to expect

Some key insights from our training sessions


Participating in the first Leading in ESG training cohort was enormously valuable in deepening our understanding of the importance of ESG considerations in seed investing. The training provided us with practical tools and resources to improve the way we integrate ESG analyses into our investment process. On a personal level, we enjoyed the perspectives shared by the various external speakers as well as those of the VentureESG team: with backgrounds in both academia and the investment profession, their approach feels more holistic and flexible, particularly when compared to written-only resources available elsewhere.
Moritz Nathusius, Cherry Ventures
Johannes, Hannah and their team offer a unique insight into the challenges of integrating ESG in venture investing, and have added real value to the Bank this year.
Julia Groves, MD Sustainability, British Business Bank
Initiatives like VentureESG are enormously important for the development of the market and have already brought the ecosystem a great deal forward. For us, especially the partnership and joint creation of the ‘Leading in ESG’ training has a great added value and we are happy to now be able to offer our funds a tailor-made training for ESG in VC.
Theresa Bardubitzki, KfW Capital
Our team has enjoyed participating in the Leading in ESG training - as it finally closes the gap in ESG upskilling for VC professionals. Overall, we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in this initiative and its impact on our investment strategy and approach.
Anna Ott, HV Capital
The 'Leading in ESG' training was a unique opportunity for us to take a step back and look at our overall ESG strategy, validate the work we are currently doing, and help prioritise where to focus next. It was also value add in upskilling members of our investor relations and investment teams and help frame for them the bigger picture of the importance of integrating ESG in venture investing. Johannes, Hannah and the team at VentureESG are experts in their field and their perspectives on ways to overcome the associated challenges with ESG sparked so many new ideas!
Ashleigh Brown, Atomico
VentureESG's Leading in ESG Training is an absolute must-have for any private market professional looking to integrate ESG into their fund operations. The training was collaborative, provided exceptional tools to create practical ESG frameworks, and included an interactive case study that gave us the opportunity to share perspectives with fellow participants. The addition of speakers from the Venture and LP world rounded out an exceptional agenda. The training exceeded my expectations - I highly recommend it!
Andrea Schmitz, Partner, Knickerbocker FG
A practical and informative training covering a wide range of topics and case studies. We especially appreciated to access to post-training materials which have been very informative in enabling us to implement our learnings and key take-aways
Angela Sibley, Lightspeed

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