What is ESG and what actually is impact and how do I measure it?

Here are a few links to resources about ESG, impact, company building and strategy


stands for  Environmental, Social and Governance. 

This typically referes to hygiene factors that every fund or business should have in place, such as adherence to labour laws in the country of operation, adequate health and safety standards as well as hygiene, waste management, environmental impacts such as climate change

  • CDC Group has a fantastic ESG toolkit for fund managers, it's emerging market focused, but actually very good to browse through. Here is the link to an 'ESG primer for VC funds'.


Impact usually refers more to the opportunities that the fund sees to address societal issues with its investments, i.e. how does the fund improve people and planet and by how much? 

Some funds align their impact targets to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They have targets to report against. 

What we would typically ask here is, how many jobs do your companies create, how do you protect the environment and what type of underlying businesses do you invest in (telecoms, education, healthcare, real estate etc) each one could have different impact angles and goals. 




  • Saying No to Jugaad: The Making of Bigbasket The story of India’s largest e-grocery company, a story about customer-centricity, how to scale, build vs buy, team building, competition and emerging markets.
  • The Everything Store. The rise of Amazon and how Bezos did it. Got great lessons on strategy and focus
  • Wild Ride: Inside Uber’s Quest for World Domination. Story of how Uber scaled. A playbook on scaling quickly across cities and geographies with lessons on operations and marketing.
  • How Google Works One of the best books on how to grow a company, hiring smart creatives and motivating a team.
  • The Customer-centricity playbook A short little guide on how to build a more customer-centric enterprise, why de-averaging is so important, what customer life time value is, why it’s hard to measure it.
  • What it takes. Lessons in pursuit of excellence Steve Schwartzman’s autobiography of how he built Blackstone. Great lessons on perseverance, risk taking and how to be unapologetically arrogant about excellence in your team. Only limited applicability if you are not a white American man with a stellar rolodex and career in Wall Street.
  • Bad Blood. Secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley Start-up Well, lessons on what not to do (basically, don’t lie if your product doesn’t work)


  • How I built this: Guy Raz interviews founders
  • Startup: By Gimlet Media. The story about how to build a podcasting company. a dating company and American Apparel. All seasons are fantastic
  • Masters of Scale: Reid Hoffman explains how to scale. Best thing is the insight from top founders

Articles & Magazines

  • First Round: A fantastic repository of articles for every single problem or topic you may encounter in the first years of growing and scaling a company
  • The Ken: Worth the subscription, amazing long form reporting on India’s start-up scene, technology and VC

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