An interview with
Fundie Ventures founders
Interview by Charlie Lindsey - Fundie Community Manager
The story behind Fundie Ventures
Q What inspired you to create Fundie?
[STUART] - There were three thoughts involved:
A [ANDY] to piggyback on that, if we can create buzz and awareness about social finance and impact investing, especially amongst those who haven’t heard about it before, then that might be something that peaks interest amongst students and even shift their career course towards that. For example, a lot of MBAs come in and wish to re-position themselves in the market, wanting to change jobs or industries, so if we manage to tweak their interest early-on that’s all the better.
Q Where do you hope to see Fundie in 2-3 years? What would be your ideal scenario?
A [ANDY] The ideal scenario would be to raise a sizeable fund and to have investments that we manage, which would also provide an educational opportunity, and is something that students often do not get a chance to do. To actually make investments, to work with companies and help fill positions. Education is not just an academic exercise.
A [STUART] What we’re trying to do isn’t something that exists with other business schools in Europe, although it is a common thing amongst US schools. So, there is evidence of us pioneering and creating a path and we hope for more business schools to jump on a similar concept. I think that the more funds there are in Europe, the better for the startups, the better for the investors, and it would be great to see that through our efforts we inspire one or two other schools to create the same thing and gain enough traction to create something. Within 2-3 years if we could have a name for ourselves, where we play a function in the eco-system: that is not just students trying something but it’s the real thing.
Q When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
A [ANDY] A famous musician, guitarist.
A [STUART] Between 4-16 I wanted to be vet. I like animals more than I like human beings. I think animals have a lot to teach us about how to be. They understand this planet in ways we will never imagine and by respecting that they too have place on earth, we can learn alot about the kinds of 'beings' we can be.
Q What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A [ANDY] My girlfriend.
A [STUART] Mine is actually Fundie. But it’s also the thing that prevents me from getting into bed. I can’t fall sleep at the moment because I’m thinking about the next step for Fundie.
Q How did you get into social impact investment?
A [ANDY] I used to work for an advertising and holdings company in their venture capital fund. Its not that fulfilling because they were looking for startups who were helping them push sugary snacks and sweets, so at the end of the day what am I going to say to my grandkids? So I actually ended up working at an NGO to work out what I wanted to do, and there I found out about this social enterprise idea, and then from there I went on to impact investing. And that’s when I went back to get my MBA to get the business tools needed to start a social enterprise. And then halfway through the MBA I realized I would prefer a path helping existing enterprises, which is why I did a second degree in Advanced Finance to learn how to be an impact investor. I started working with Impact Fund, tapping into their social entrepreneuring network in Vienna and that’s really where the love of it fostered.
A [STUART] I started on the other side of the coin, in another life. I have a tech startup in Cape Town and I was fortunate enough to raise two rounds of investment in London. I felt what it was like to be on the receiving end of receiving money, and as much as it sounds really cool its actually a lot of hard work. The decision-making process wasn’t mine the day after I got investment and it was an interesting lesson. Fortunately enough, there was a media company that offered to buy our technology so I could let go of the company and could have some time to think about what I wanted to do. I love business but I wasn’t convinced that what we were using business for was the right thing and I wanted to explore how to use business more positively. And then, looking at what I wanted to pursue after MBA and the one company I want to work for I don’t have enough expertise to get in so I thought, what could I do as a stepping stone to get there. I have to start something. That’s what I do. So I started to think about setting up Fundie as way to learn how to do impact investment. I didn’t know that I would love it as much as I do.
Q What are you going to do after IE?
A [STUART] Two things. The company that I thought I wanted to be at (and actually the reason I started Fundie), is most likely not the company I’m probably going to end up in. I want to go into impact investment - I won’t say who I exactly want to work for because they don’t know yet I’m going to reach out and convince them to open up a European office. But more importantly, I would like to continue doing something that will allow me to carry on doing Fundie until I am not needed.
A [ANDY] Ditto to that, in terms of hand holding Fundie until I’m not needed. And then taking on the role of an advisor and making sure the baby stays healthy and happy. I want to work in an impact investment fund, ideally something that lets me travel because it turns out I am quite the traveler.
Stuart Minnaar is a tech entrepreneur with 6 years experience in starting and growing startups. He cut his teeth as an entrepreneur by pioneering a mobile payments technology startup in South Africa that integrated into retail point of sale systems, Yappo Mobile Payments. In addition, he is a member of global networks for entrepreneurs such as Global Shapers (World Economic Forum), Net Impact, and numerous multi-national social impact projects. While doing an MBA at IE Business School, Stuart founded Fundie Ventures, the student-run impact fund that invests in early-stage socially responsible startups. Stuart believes in actively shifting from business as usual to purpose-driven businesses. You can see more on his website.
Andrew Wong is a partner at Fundie Ventures. He is also a mentor with Agora Partnerships and Bridge for Billions. Prior to Fundie, Andrew worked in venture capital in New York and with a children's organization in Santiago de Chile. Andrew holds a Masters in Advanced Finance from IE Business School, an MBA from Vienna's Walker School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University. LinkedIn
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