Hi everyone. I’m Rob and I’m very pleased to be the new Operations Associate at BGV! Let me share a bit more about my journey here and what I'll be up to in my new role. With a finance degree and experience at a large tech company, it may seem natural for me to have ended up in tech for good investing, but my journey hasn't been as typical as you may think.
Experiencing trading floors, IBM and purpose-driven work
My fascination with investment and financial services began when I was at Nomura Bank for a short work experience. The vast trading floor and knowledgeable research teams at the London headquarters amazed me as a young student and I quickly decided this was an industry that attracted me. This led me to studying Banking, Finance and Management at Loughborough University. This variation of modules became useful as I didn’t know at the time where my skills were going to best fit within a business when the time came to find a job. Luckily my university course offered a year in industry which was a good way to find out.
I spent my industry year at IBM, supporting the Software Channel team. This is where I first realised how new technologies were being used to scale disruptive innovation in all types of industries. Whilst working, I became involved in a programme called Cyber Champions where I ran workshops for school children to promote best practices and cyber skills to stay safe. Being part of a purpose-driven organisation felt meaningful and motivating, something which has later influenced my decision to work in a role with a wider social impact.
Although the skills and experience learning about technology solutions at IBM were invaluable, the two types of roles offered after the placement programme were either sales or consultancy. I was reluctant to apply as my interests were still pointing me towards investment or financial services at the time.
Discovering venture capital and impact investing
Before returning to my third year at Loughborough, in the Autumn of 2018 I spent time at Octopus Investments. I swiftly discovered, and gravitated towards, the ventures business. Sitting in on pitches, listening to investment decisions, and hearing the stories of founders with various backgrounds, I was hooked. I thought it was so inspiring and maybe this could be my next step. Unfortunately, it would be three more years before I would be reunited with venture capital.Once I graduated in 2019, I moved to Whistler, Canada, and qualified as a ski instructor.
During the two years I lived in Canada, I was fortunate enough to explore the wonderful scenery and remote parts of the Yukon which boasts a large diversity of wildlife. I couldn't help but think of the need to protect these areas from climate change. From glaciers disappearing to record wildfires in the summer of 2021, it made me think seriously about what change is needed and what meaningful action I could take. One answer was obvious - pursuing investment in environmentally beneficial businesses. I later found out this was part of a larger movement: impact investing.
Upon my return in September 2021, BGV caught my attention as an impact investor with strong principles of creating positive change within society and the environment. I believe these are fundamental if we are to create a society which is fully inclusive and sustainable for future generations to enjoy. I’m thrilled to have now joined the BGV team.
During my time here I’ll be involved with reporting on the performance and impacts of our portfolio and helping founders navigate the investment process. I'm also excited to get involved with the tech for good programme, meet founders and help the portfolio wherever I can.
Please feel free to reach out for a chat anytime and I look forward to meeting the wider Tech for Good community soon.