GOVERNANCE

Our Ethical Standards

We see ourselves as a company oriented towards the common good. This page shows how we have firmly integrated this idea into our governance structure.

We have a non-profit roof

We founded Gexsi as a Social Startup and in April 2018 transferred 100% of the shares to the non-profit Good Impact Foundation (℅ Noah Foundation). Thus 100% of all profits remain in a non-profit framework.

Our promise of transparency

We are of the opinion that a social business should be as transparent as possible in its actions. We are therefore guided by the 10 criteria of the Transparent Civil Society Initiative and report exactly where our funds come from and how we use them.

GEXSI Impact UG (limited liability) Winsstraße 4 10405 Berlin Deutschland

Founding year: 2016

The GEXSI Impact UG (“Gexsi”) is an independent social business based in Berlin with a team in the Social Innovation Lab in Freiburg i.Br.. Founded in 2016, the company operates a Google-like search engine based on Bing technology. 100% of Gexsi’s revenue from search ads goes to projects that contribute to the 17 UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs). With their search engine, the founders want to strengthen social innovators who solve social challenges with fresh ideas. Gexsi is deeply rooted in the global social entrepreneurship scene. The vision and the name Gexsi – Global Exchange for Social Investment – go back to an initiative of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2001.

The criteria according to which we select projects are displays transparently on our website in the section Our Selection Criteria.

The shareholders’ agreement dated 29 January 2016, the entry in the commercial register dated 8 February 2016 and the transfer of shares to the non-profit Noah Foundation dated 5 April 2018 can be downloaded here.

Gexsi is a B Corp certified social business that generates market income and is not a non-profit itself, but is embedded in a non-profit framework so that 100% of the profits remain in a non-profit framework.

Further legal information can be found in the Imprint.

Founder and CEO: Dr. Andreas Renner Founder and CEO of the Noah Foundation as owner of Gexsi: David Diallo.
It is planned to establish an advisory board to advise Gexsi on the selection of projects, among other things.

We started the Gexsi search engine in May 2018 as a beta version. The activities are described on this website under “Our Impact Tracking” and on the page “Projects”.

Gexsi is one of the first B Corp certified companies in Germany. From 2014 to 2017 Gexsi was commissioned by the umbrella organisation B Lab Europe Foundation to set up the German chapter of Certified B Corporations as a country partner, actively supported various social business start-ups and advised international organisations on questions of impact-oriented investments.

Projects between 2008 and 2016 were mapped via the predecessor company GEXSI GmbH, all projects since 2016 via the newly founded GEXSI Impact UG, which continues the business idea of GEXSI, but in a different – now non-profit – shareholder structure and thanks to the search engine via a new, digital tool.

Our B Impact Report can be found here.

 

The Gexsi search machine was started by Andreas Renner and David together with Kevin Fuchs and is so far, supported by Andrea Rebensburg (communication) and further pro bono supporters as far as possible honorary led.

We want to describe our business model as simply and clearly as possible. The following overview serves this purpose:

Our core business is based on

  • a contract with System1 LLC (dated November 2018), an accredited partner of Microsoft, which makes the search engine technologist Bing available to third parties on the basis of a benefit-sharing agreement, and
  • an agreement with the Berlin-based company Searchturbo (dated May 2018), which monetizes direct links of our autocompletion box.

As of April 30th, 2019, we earned a total of 1.101€ through these two channels.

We successfully closed a seed financing round of 25.000€ in February 2019 (with the option to step it up). 

As a temporary activity, we offered consulting services in the area of Social Business / Impact Investing, which generated revenues: 

  • Impact Investment Advisory Services: 5,000€ (2016), 1,554€ (2017); no services offered since the beginning of 2018.
  • Building B Corp Network: 6.100€ (2016), 2.750€ (2017), 7.950€ (2018), a final down-payment is expected in the course of 2019.

Apart from these sources of funds, Gexsi has so far been fully bootstrapped through the founding team. 

The use of the revenues of our search engine is described in detail on the page Your Impact in our Impact Tracking Table. The development of the search engine has so far been done 100% by the founders themselves, i.e. no salaries have been paid.

The financial statements for 2016 and 2017 do not yet reflect any revenues of the search engine and are at a low level. The use of funds in the two years referred exclusively to the management of the network of Certified B Corporations by Andreas Renner and Andrea Rebensburg and individual Impact Investment related consulting services by Andreas Renner. The last submitted annual financial statements can be downloaded here.

GEXSI Impact UG (“Gexsi”) is a B Corp certified social business founded in February 2016 by Andreas Renner, whose shares were fully transferred to the non-profit Noah in April 2018. The transaction was carried out at the nominal value of the share capital (€1,000).

The Noah Foundation is an independent, private foundation based in Potsdam (Stiftung-Register: #164). It was founded in 2008 by David Diallo. It is planned to increasingly work with the label “Good Impact Foundation” in an international context. There is an agreement between David Diallo and Andreas Renner, which provides for the establishment of a subfoundation or a foundation of one’s own at a later date and thus ties in with the GEXSI history.

The idea of “GEXSI – Global Exchange for Social Investment” goes back to an initiative of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2001 with the aim of closing the financing gap for social entrepreneurs.

Even if the history is not directly relevant under company law, it is still important in order to understand the basic idea of GEXSI and to be able to classify the legal entities that operated with the brand in the past. The GEXSI idea was pursued in different legal forms, all of which sought a bridge between non-profit and for-profit structures. Andreas Renner joined in 2005, since 2008 in leading positions as CEO of Charity, partner of LLP and founder and managing director of GmbH and UG:

Launched as an internal project of the Schwab Foundation under the leadership of Pamela Hartigan in 2001, GEXSI was spun off at the end of 2004 as GEXSI Ltd in London and then, under the leadership of Maritta Koch-Weser at the beginning of 2005, quickly set up as a UK Charity, whereby this was supplemented by a sister company, GEXSI LLP, for consulting projects. The latter was replaced in 2008 by a German company, GEXSI Capital Partners, in which Andreas Renner and David Diallo (via Diallo Beteiligungs GmbH, today Impact Ventures GmbH) and Marc von Krosigk held equal shares. With the dissolution of the GEXSI Charity and the simultaneous revaluation of GEXSI Capital Partners GmbH as a “Certified B Corporation”, the GmbH was renamed GEXSI GmbH in 2015.

The new foundation of GEXSI Impact UG 2016, which replaces GEXSI GmbH, has opened the way to continue the original business model in a changed, now non-profit shareholder structure. Legally, GEXSI Impact UG is not a legal successor of GEXSI GmbH. However, the mission, the brand, the business model, to develop solutions that strengthen the social enterprise sector and the associated B Corp certification has been transferred to the new company.

The GEXSI story reflects a long-standing search for the most meaningful legal structure for a social business that operates in the market but is 100% committed to a social mission. It also carries a strong message that the challenge of closing the funding gap for social entrepreneurs has remained virtually unchanged despite the huge developments in the social impact sector, but that today – unlike 15 years ago when the GEXSI idea was born – we have new digital tools that allow us to rethink solutions. It is this continuity in vision that has led to the idea of using the search engine to revive the GEXSI – Global Exchange for Social Investment brand with its own history.

 

We are a Certified B Corporation

With more than 2,500 certified companies, B Corp is the world’s largest network of companies that measure their success against social benefits and have it certified independently. In addition to the governance structure, the positive effects of the company on its direct environment (“communities”), its customers (“customers”), the natural environment (“environment”) and its employees (“employees”) are evaluated.

Due to its high score, GEXSI was last honored as a “Best for the World” company in 2017 and 2018.
Further information can be found in the GEXSI B Impact Report.

Our Environmental Guidelines

For us, environmental protection is an important part of our understanding of ethical management. We have pursued the following principles to date:

  • Our websites are hosted 100% CO2-free.
  • We have our bank account with Triodos Bank, one of Europe′s leading sustainability banks, which transparently discloses how it invests its funds.
  • We use coworking and shared offices in Berlin and Freiburg to reduce our space and energy consumption.
  • We print our advertising materials climate-neutral and predominantly on 100% recycled paper.

We see ourselves as a learning organisation that strives to continually review and improve its standards.