Investment Decisions That Impact Your Career
by Bonnie Foley-Wong, Founder, Pique Ventures and Pique Fund
There are many paths to a career in impact investing. Some impact fund managers began their careers in traditional venture capital, whilst other investors have found success previously as entrepreneurs. I am an impact investor and I’m an entrepreneur in the impact investing industry. I found my way here after beginning my career as a Chartered Accountant (now Chartered Professional Accountant) after decades of working closely with, advising, and financing entrepreneurs. A defining phase of my career was a 10-year period in London, when I was as a corporate finance advisor and investment banker. During this time, I refined my due diligence skills and gained the critical and foundational experience of understanding how capital moved in private and public markets. Most importantly, I experienced how people made investment decisions – individually and in committees – and I began to influence capital decisions directly.
My career reached a critical point 8 years ago when I myself started to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and sought to answer three critical questions: • How can we move money in a more purposeful way? • Where are all the women investors? • What does it mean to be an entrepreneur in the investment industry?
For me, the answer to all three questions was Pique Ventures, an impact investment and management company that I founded in 2012.
After trialling different models for Pique Ventures (such as something resembling a boutique corporate finance advisory firm and an investor network), my early adopter investors wanted a fund. I realized that an impact venture fund was a way to move money more purposefully and with intentional design, and it could attract more women investors to the space. Even though some start-up founders didn’t consider me a founder, I soon discovered for myself that a new venture fund is a start-up business just like any other new business – a start-up with a very particular business model of aggregating and deploying capital.
Through Pique Ventures, I started out advising organizations on developing new venture funds, while in parallel planning my first fund. A turning point came in 2014, when I launched the Pique Fund, an inclusive angel fund focused on leadership diversity. It was the first step to Pique Ventures, evolving from a consulting firm to an impact fund manager. After managing Pique Fund for three years, still working closely with entrepreneurs, and even being a hands-on operator within another business that I manage under Pique Ventures, I finally embraced the entrepreneur in me. I enjoy finding investment product-investor market fit and continually thinking about how our investment thesis and strategy needs to evolve with our economy and society.
Someone asked me recently if they should focus on making a lot of money early in their career and then do something impact-focused later. That is essentially an investment decision about how to spend your time and resources along your career path. Every person’s path is different, but from my experience, earning enough to have your own seed capital is helpful – particularly for being an entrepreneur in the investment industry and starting a new venture fund. I seeded Pique Fund with my own capital. It wasn’t a lot, but it was necessary because investors wanted to see that I was putting my own money where my mouth is. What I lacked in capital, I made up for in terms of expertise and network.
My career choices were almost always guided by curiosity about the unknown and a passion to observe and understand how people make decisions, which is what led me to investment banking. Although I learned that investment banking was not my final destination, it was a great way for me to gain the financing expertise I needed to later launch an impact venture fund. The fascination with decision-making continues to this day, defines much of my work, and is core to who I am as an investor, entrepreneur, and author. I went on to document an impact investing decision-making methodology called Integrated Investing, and published it as a book in 2016
Read the rest of Bonnie's insightful post here - http://greenmoneyjournal.com/investment-decisions-that-impact-your-career