With our #ESGinVC initiative, we want to foster a discussion around ESG and help each other develop and improve our frameworks. As part of this initiative, we spoke to leading managers and LPs about their ESG frameworks. The long-form interviews will be published in a reader on our website, while we will regularly post interview extracts on our social media channels (Linkedin — Twitter — Medium).
The interview below is with Antonio Giménez de Córdoba, Partner at Seaya Ventures.
How do you tackle ESG responsibility at Seaya Ventures?
We see ESG and our commitment to a positive social impact more as a belief than a responsibility. Since 2013, Seaya has invested in founders of tech companies whose mission goes beyond financial goals, focusing on generating that positive social and environmental impact.
“We see ESG and our commitment to a positive social impact more as a belief than a responsibility.”
In addition to making the world a better place, these companies are more resilient, attract and retain top talent, and provide a superior financial return for investors. Our track record demonstrates that we can deliver outstanding measurable outcomes in social inclusion, job creation and environmental footprint, as well as top-quartile returns. We are committed to contributing to sustainable growth by investing in innovative companies.
To what extent do you take ESG compliance into account in your due diligence, and how do you measure compliance in your portfolio companies?
Our investment process follows ESG best practices, which allows Seaya to maximize financial returns and our social and environmental impact. The process is divided into two phases, pre-investment and post-investment. The pre-investment phase consists of an internal ESG assessment focused on financial and material ESG risks and opportunities during sourcing, as well as due diligence and the integration of ESG factors into the investment process on the part of the investment committee and internal reports.
The post-investment phase consists of applying and promoting the adoption of ESG best practices across Seaya’s portfolio. In parallel, we have implemented an internal process to monitor and measure the ESG evolution of our portfolio companies and to report on them to our stakeholders on an annual basis.
Your investment focus is on Europe and Latin America. Do you see any differences between approaches to ESG in those two markets?
While we perceive ESG as a priority in all the markets we operate in, we can see some differences, especially regarding its development stage and the main issues tackled. In Europe, ESG has been at the top of people’s minds for longer, which has led to the establishment of protocols and measurement criteria. Both companies and investors in Europe are more focused on climate change, sustainable development and equality.
While ESG in Latin America is already completely integrated into top businesses, it is less institutionalized. And we perceive that startups in this region are more focused on topics like social inclusion, especially in fintech, and reducing poverty and hunger.
In your opinion, are tech companies uniquely positioned to lead the way forward on ESG?
Even though we can see that all companies are willing to respond to the challenges of the future, we consider tech companies better positioned to address such challenges due to three factors.
First of all, technology is key to adapting the economy to ESG policies, and we are witnessing how many tech companies are providing solutions to these global needs. Secondly, tech companies integrate ESG concerns into their philosophy and culture. Challenging the status quo and trying to do things better are in their DNA, which makes them take a more social approach. And finally, these companies are more flexible and can easily adapt to new needs and market requirements.
“In addition to making the world a better place, these companies are more resilient, attract and retain top talent, and provide a superior financial return.”
Having said that, as society evolves and the world demands more responsible management, it is becoming almost mandatory for every company to grow and adapt its business plan to achieve long-term, sustainable success.
What conversations do you have with your LPs around ESG? Is attention to these issues driven more by them or by the GPs?
At Seaya, ESG has always been a key part of our strategy – and as consequence, it has always been a key topic to discuss with our LPs. We see that both GPs and LPs are becoming increasingly conscious of ESG. But the attention might be more driven by the LPs, as they have a catalytic effect on the GPs in which they invest.
About Antonio Giménez de Córdoba
Antonio Giménez de Córdoba is a Partner at Seaya Ventures based in Madrid. Prior to Seaya, Antonio worked at Oliver Wyman consulting working for clients in the tech industry across the globe. He holds a double degree in Law and Business from ICADE.
About Seaya Ventures
Seaya Ventures is a leading European & Latin-American Venture Capital firm based in Spain, investing in value-driven founders who are building global technology companies with a sustainable approach. Since raising its first fund in 2013, Seaya manages €350M across three early-stage funds. Seaya Ventures accelerates startup growth by working with the founders to enhance their strategic vision, putting at their disposal its global platform, its strong network of founders, investors and corporates, as well as Seaya’s experience in scaling leading companies such as Glovo, Cabify, Wallbox (NYSE:WBX), Spotahome, Clarity AI, Clicars and Savana.
Website – Linkedin – Twitter
About Sabine Kaiser
Sabine has worked with Blue Future Partners as an external advisor since 2017. With more than twenty years of investment experience, Sabine has extensive expertise in fund manager selection and allocation spanning across private equity and venture capital. Previously Sabine was in charge of managing illiquid PE/VC/Credit fund investments and regional asset allocation at BTV, a German single-family office. Prior to that, she worked as a venture capital investor in the field of life science and as a strategic consultant with McKinsey & Company.
About Blue Future Partners
Blue Future Partners is a Fund of Funds with decades worth of experience in investing in Venture Capital. We specialize in backing Emerging Managers focused on early-stage technology investments.
Website – Linkedin – Twitter – Medium