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 Anna Daviau (CFO) and Guillem Sague (Partner) at Nauta Capital.
Previous interviews include: Kinga Stanislawska (Experior VC, European Women in VC), Miki Yokoyama (Tech Founders), Fabian Heilemann (Earlybird, Leaders For Climate Action), Kanyi Maqubela (Kindred Ventures), David Teten (Versatile VC)
How do you tackle ESG responsibility at Nauta Capital?
We focus on the areas where we can have the most impact. In our case, we believe it is the social aspect of ESG and, in particular, Diversity and Inclusion. We have created an internal task force with members from our three geographies (London, Berlin and Barcelona) that develops and implements measures to tackle this issue. Our task force oversees the design and implementation of Nauta’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy.
Our strategy is structured into three pillars, mirroring the drivers of our industry: 1) Talent, 2) Dealflow and 3) Portfolio. For each of the pillars, we have one member of the task force leading the efforts.
We started the project by measuring the current status and based on the results, we are implementing measures to improve our Diversity and Inclusion at each pillar. We plan to continuously track our KPIs and make the necessary adjustments based on the success or failure of the implemented measures.
Anna, you as the CFO are leading ESG initiatives at Nauta Capital. Can you tell us more about the thought process behind how you internally assigned ESG responsibility?
ESG is not only an internal concern: all our stakeholders, employees but also LPs and portfolio companies need to be involved and are part of our D&I strategy. As part of my role, I am in contact with all Nauta’s stakeholders.
Our team is distributed across three offices in London, Berlin and Barcelona. Functionally, besides the local investment teams, we also have one cross-office team focused on our operations led by one partner and by the CFO.
“ESG is not only an internal concern: all our stakeholders, employees but also LPs and portfolio companies need to be involved and are part of our D&I strategy.”
Since this is an effort across offices and across teams, it made sense that the CFO leads the project and coordinates the task force. As mentioned before, the task force has members from each geography and from each team to ensure that everyone is on board.
How do you measure ESG compliance in your portfolio companies?
For the past two years, we have been discussing ESG compliance as part of our due diligence at the time of investing. For each new investment, we proceed with an ESG questionnaire. This is a qualitative analysis focused on understanding which policies are in place, the intention to implement them, what the risks and the priorities are and basically trigger the discussion in the company.
The task force is now implementing new initiatives to support the companies in their journey towards increasing their Diversity footprint.
In parallel, we are also working on a set of KPIs and processes to measure the impact of the policies as well as the evolution of the Diversity and Inclusion in each of our portfolio companies. This is still under discussion but will probably include KPIs such as % of women on the team, at C-level, board-level, in the tech teams, etc.
You are a Pan-European VC with offices in London, Barcelona and Berlin. Do you see any differences between the British, Spanish and German VC startup landscape when it comes to approaches to ESG?
We definitely see differences between the markets. I would say that the trend is the same everywhere – ESG is becoming a priority, but coming from different starting points. In the UK, the subject of Diversity and Inclusion has been top-of-mind for longer than in other markets and therefore the ecosystem there is a few steps ahead. In addition, demographics are different across markets as well and that has been a challenge for us because we want to be consistent as a group.
“…the trend is the same everywhere – ESG is becoming a priority, but coming from different starting points.”
What practical advice would you give to other VCs who want to better tackle ESG and hold themselves accountable?
Firstly, Diversity and Inclusion is a long-term team effort. For us that meant creating a task force which would be able to work on the D&I strategy on the long term and where all the teams, all the levels of seniority and all the geographies at Nauta would be represented. Secondly, before improving, you need to measure your current situation. It is best to start with an assessment of the situation in each relevant dimension of your company. For us at Nauta, these dimensions are Talent, Deal Flow and Portfolio.
Lastly, once a set of policies have been designed and implemented, you need to track the progress, iterate, and make your policies evolve to improve the impact. This is definitively a long-term project.
About Anna Daviau
Anna Daviau is Nauta Capital’s Chief Financial Officer, based in Barcelona.
As part of her role, Anna oversees the Operations team which is in charge of the investment and divestment transactions and give financial and legal support to the portfolio companies. Additionally, Anna actively participates in the financial planning of the group, as well as fundraising, investor relations and relationship with regulators.
Prior to Nauta Capital, Anna worked at Ernst & Young in the Transaction Advisory Services Department, in Paris. Anna graduated from ESSEC Business School Paris with a Master of Science in Management and a specialization in corporate finance.
About Guillem Sague
Guillem Sague is a Partner at Nauta Capital based in Berlin, leading Nauta’s investment operations in Germany.
Prior to Nauta, Guillem was at the High-Tech Gründerfonds, the largest Seed Fund in Germany where he managed a portfolio of eleven companies, including seed investments in fos4X, Soley and SimScale. Prior to that, he opened and managed a manufacturing plant in China.
Guillem received his PhD in Applied Physics from the Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn and his Degree in Physics from the UAB in Barcelona.
About Nauta Capital
Nauta Capital is a pan-European Venture Capital firm investing in early-stage technology companies, with offices in London, Barcelona. and Berlin. With over half a billion assets under management and a team of 24 people, Nauta Capital is one of Europe’s largest B2B focused VCs.
As a sector-agnostic investor, Nauta’s main areas of interest include B2B SaaS solutions with strong network effects, vertically focused enterprise tech transforming large industries as well as those leveraging deep-tech applications to solve challenges faced by large enterprises. Nauta has backed more than 60 companies across Europe and exited 12.
Website — Linkedin — Twitter
About Marco Cesare Solinas
Marco is an Investment Professional at Blue Future Partners. He is passionate about Technology and Venture Capital and focuses on both direct and indirect investments. Previously, he has built an international and multicultural background across Italy, US, Germany, Turkey and Malaysia.
Marco holds a CEMS Master’s in International Management and a Bachelor´s in Economics and Finance from Bocconi University.
Linkedin — Twitter — Medium
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. We are people-centric and relationship-driven. We have a global mandate and existing relationships with Emerging Managers in the US, Europe, Israel, China and South East Asia.
Website — Linkedin — Twitter — Medium