Evaluating sustainable business models through an impact investing perspective : a qualitative exploration
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- Master's theses (HH) 
How do investors evaluate the sustainability of a business model? The evolution and evaluation of a sustainable business is a burgeoning field of research, but many questions surrounding investment decisions remain. Using inductive methods, this thesis examines the ways impact investors evaluate early-stage startups and then presents how these evaluation strategies contribute to the academic discourse. The insights put forth in this thesis is gathered through semi-structured interviews with impact investors and impact experts based in Norway. The findings suggest four broad themes in investment deliberations, which we have presented in a framework. First, evaluation is not centered around a business model. Instead, impact investors’ primary concern when evaluating a startup is the second broad theme, an impact driven value proposition. Third, the business model is suggested as all the activities aimed to achieve the value proposition. Fourth, impact investors execute financial and impact assessment that is concerned with knowledge and adaptability. This study contributes to the discourse on the evaluation of sustainable business models in the academic field. An understanding of evaluating sustainable business models is not only beneficial to the academic field, but to startups and impact investors as well.