Investing for Impact & Greater Returns

By our Managing/Capital Partner James Lochrie (September 2021)

We talk about investing for impact a lot at Thin Air Labs.

I regularly use the phrase “we invest in companies creating massive human impact.” It's a critical part of our investment thesis. Why? Because we believe ventures that create greater human impact will also drive greater investment returns.

In fact, the word impact is in the Thin Air Labs mission statement:

Ignite venture growth for greater human impact – Thin Air Labs Mission Statement

But what does this really mean? Simply stated – we believe the number of people impacted and the depth and value of that impact is directly correlated with the returns we get on our investments. More human impact equals greater returns.

We think if a venture builds something or solves something that has a positive impact on humans, it has global market potential, it then has a greater chance at delivering massive investment returns. On the investing side of our business, it’s useful to look at examples from our portfolio.

Orpyx is currently in the process of the initial launch of their sensory insole, specifically designed with sensors to prevent diabetic foot ulcers, a common complication of diabetes. This product has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for the over 400 million people living with diabetes globally, preventing limb amputation and empowering patients with medical care in the real world outside of the hospital or doctor’s office. This insole has the added benefit of significantly reducing costs to the health care system.

“If we have learned anything from COVID, it is that healthcare has acute capacity issues that directly impact the delivery and quality of life for our patients," says Orpyx CEO Dr. Breanne Everett. "COVID revealed that remote care is going to increasingly comprise a critical piece of our healthcare delivery—one that allows for cost-effective and efficient models for disease prevention and care maintenance. This includes care for diabetic foot ulcers in people living with diabetes. As a healthcare provider, I have learned that the only way forward is to take a holistic approach to patient care through collaborating and aligning with our colleagues, and bringing care outside the walls of an institution whenever possible, which will result in significantly improving cost of care, sustainability of care, and most importantly, the quality of life for people living with chronic disease."

That's what we mean by massive human impact.

Then there’s Fluid Biotech. The neurosurgeons behind this venture have developed the next generation of brain stents designed to treat brain aneurysms without invasive surgery. It’s expected this stent will soon be used in humans, improving patient outcomes and lowering risk and cost to the medical system. And it’s expected, this type of stent could one day be used in many other parts of the body to treat conditions like heart disease and much more.

We’ve also invested in Arbor, a data science platform that combines environmental and societal data to drive measurable change within the global consumption cycle. Arbor supports businesses with the power to assess, improve, and showcase the sustainability of their products and services. With an unprecedented shift towards sustainability in the global markets, companies are provided with a unique opportunity to build trust and loyalty with consumers around the world.

CEO Alex Todorovic says, “The power of Arbor is that it is for all businesses. With more and more capital being directed towards global sustainability goals, the shift towards a sustainable future is happening right now. Every company looking to increase their revenue, build trust with consumers, and remain competitive, needs Arbor.”

At Provision, they’ve built software that uses digital forms so food suppliers can automate food safety and advance quality control. That means fewer errors and more efficiency for suppliers and improved food safety for the rest of us.

These are just a few examples of the types of ventures we choose to invest in and support. And we plan on making many more investments into ventures that will create this kind of meaningful human impact on a global scale as we raise the Thin Air Fund 1.

We know there’s a way to make the world a better place and make money at the same time because we’ve already started.

  • The companies in our portfolio have raised $70 for every $1 we have invested into them.

  • 4 of our companies have already raised Series A’s

  • Our companies have raised over $250M in follow on capital to date

"By igniting venture growth for greater human impact, we can generate outsized returns, create more jobs and attract more capital, talent, thinking and resources that can be reinvested back into the economic ecosystem" – James Lochrie, Managing/Capital Partner

By igniting venture growth for greater human impact, we can generate outsized returns, create more jobs and attract more capital, talent, thinking and resources that can be reinvested back into the economic ecosystem.

This type of impact investing will help Alberta and eventually the world with the transition to a regenerative economy that will thrive well into the future.

This is how we’re #BuildingWhatsNext


For more on our investment thesis and how we like to work with unicorns at the earliest stages, watch this video.


Contact our capital team to learn more about us and Thin Air Fund 1.