53 Degrees North discovered more about impact investing during an interview with Anaisa Seneda, INSEAD alumn, Investment Manager and Partner at Meraki Fund in Amsterdam.
A VC fund for mission driven start-ups
Meraki Fund looks at a start-up from many different angles, not just their profitability. Before investing, they evaluate (i) people, (ii) the business model (iii) the product and/or service, (iv) (iv) the impact for society and environment, including (but not limiting to) sustainable use of natural resources such as water and soil. “We need to understand what the mission of the founder is and if it goes along with Sustainability and Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations”. Several times Anaisa referred to SDG targets when considering which start-ups to invest and to analyse whether they are impactful or not. Now, Meraki has a strong focus on Agritech and other environmental sectors such as water. But the fund is doing a bit more than just investing, they are also advising and scouting different kinds of investments, such as Funds, ETFs, Bonds etc. This is part of the new strategy which includes focusing on new asset classes and clients.
The Team in Amsterdam
Anaisa is one of 4 partners at Meraki Fund, which has locations in Amsterdam and New York. She has a background in engineering. While at INSEAD, Anaisa discovered her interest in Impacting Investing together with her husband, whose background is in Marketing & Sales and has already successfully exited a previous start-up. Now they are running the fund together with 2 other partners. “Everyone in the team is very hands-on, highly skilled and with a mission. We look for these same qualities in the founders of the start-ups we invest in.” She went on to explain that, “Being located in Amsterdam is a great advantage. The ecosystem is really good! The government provides many incentives and the sustainable thinking is growing.”
“What does salary mean to you in your life?”
Anaisa and her husband made the tough decision to take the salary cuts that come with starting your own business. “I had nothing to leave behind, and I realized that salary is not everything. I believe everyone should take the time to ask themselves, what salary means to them in their life…” We think this is a very fair question, and hope our readers take a second to answer this for themselves.
And finally, our two wacky questions…
…If Meraki Fund was an animal what would it be? “a Falcon, because it is bravely flying to the unknown in order to find food or shelter…”
…And if you can hire anyone in the world for Meraki Fund who would it be? “More INSEADers, people with business background!”