Investing in innovation

June 2024 / 2 minutes

Key points

  • Baillie Gifford invests in innovation via the companies shaping the future
  • From Zipline to NVIDIA, our portfolio holdings are striving for a more efficient and sustainable world
  • By asking ‘what if?’, we can find exceptional businesses to invest in on our clients’ behalf

Your capital may be at risk.


First imagine how the future could look. Then take the right steps at the right time to make that vision reality. That formula may work as well for long-term investors as it does for entrepreneurs building great businesses.

Baillie Gifford offers you, its clients, the chance to invest in innovation via companies with a clear idea of their role in the future. It’s often their own innovations – products, services and business models – that are leading us forward.

Through our investment trusts and funds we can give you exposure to the exceptional companies shaping the future.

They could be healthcare innovators, such as vaccine maker Moderna using artificial intelligence to improve diagnostics and discover better drugs, faster. Chip designer NVIDIA providing the 'picks and shovels' for revolutionary AI technology. Or drone logistics company Zipline building the world’s first automated, on-demand drone delivery system to serve all humans equally.

They could be advanced battery cell makers, such as Sweden’s Northvolt. They could be Space X, connecting millions to the internet, or Shopify, helping small traders set up stall in cyberspace.

These are the companies finding shortcuts to a better future – the healthier, more efficient, more equitable and sustainable world we want our children to inherit.

Over the decades, Baillie Gifford has amassed specialised skills, insights and networks. We put all these to work to construct carefully balanced portfolios. These trusts and funds contain what we think are the world’s best companies: the ones that see the dynamics of global change most clearly.

We’re getting better and better at identifying these companies, and at partnering with them at each stage of their development. We call this Actual investing. Continual exchange of expertise and experience with visionary business leaders works to our mutual advantage. The goodwill generated by our support in good times and bad helps us identify new opportunities, often with companies yet to list on the stock exchange.

We like businesses that adapt, evolve and innovate to achieve their vision, and which aren’t just focused on quarterly earnings targets. That includes well-established companies that have reinvented themselves, sorted out problems, or exploited openings into adjacent markets. What they all have in common is a knack for providing – sometimes anticipating – what customers want.

When their progress is recognised more widely, we want you to stay with us and reap the benefits, helping you achieve your long-term financial goals. When you come to retire, the transformations accelerated by the companies we spotted, maybe decades previously, will be widely taken for granted. Hindsight after all, is a wonderful thing.

Baillie Gifford favours foresight which is far rarer and much more rewarding. Achieving it takes decades of experience, great sources of academic and commercial intelligence, and the ability to ask ‘what if?’.

What happens if we can develop vaccines for cancer from the mRNA technology used in some Covid-19 vaccines? What happens if low Earth orbit satellites make internet access feasible for everyone on the planet? What if solar cells on the ground become worth more than the oil under it?

The truth is, we don’t yet know. But long-term client benefit comes from our knowing what questions to ask, and seeking the businesses which could provide answers in years to come.

Important information 

This communication was produced and approved in May 2024 and has not been updated subsequently. It represents views held at the time of writing and may not reflect current thinking.

Investments in private companies may be more difficult to sell, so changes in their prices may be greater.

This article does not constitute, and is not subject to the protections afforded to, independent research. Baillie Gifford and its staff may have dealt in the investments concerned. The views expressed are not statements of fact and should not be considered as advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a particular investment. Baillie Gifford & Co Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Baillie Gifford & Co Limited is an authorised Alternative Investment Fund Manager and Company Secretary of investment trusts and is an Authorised Corporate Director of OEICs. The investment trusts managed by Baillie Gifford are listed on the London Stock Exchange and are not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

All data is source Baillie Gifford & Co unless otherwise stated.


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