At Spring, we’re on a mission to showcase the inspiring stories of individuals making a difference in the world of impact investing. We had the privilege of sitting down with Olivia Hornby, an experienced investment professional. Olivia shares her incredible journey in impact investing and her involvement in the Women Led Impact Investor Challenge. With over a dozen years of experience in asset management, Olivia’s passion lies in connecting capital with purpose-led innovators.
Early Initiatives in Impact Investing
Olivia’s journey took her from studying the early days of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in finance to working with institutional and individual investors. Her commitment to aligning investments with values was evident even in the early stages of her career.
“I was looking at how you can make your portfolio aligned with your interests, so I was looking at this very early ESG, how do you rate public companies from an environment, social, and governance perspective?”Olivia Hornby
Diving into Impact Investing
Olivia’s journey led her to work with organizations that developed her impact portfolio. Her desire to combine her finance expertise with a greater sense of purpose ultimately drew her into the world of impact investing.
Olivia’s Three Key Investment Criteria:
Founding Team: Olivia emphasizes the critical importance of the founding team, their values, coach-ability, and resilience.
Impact Intentionality: She looks for founders with a clear mission and a commitment to driving meaningful change through their businesses.
Sustainable Business Model: Olivia believes that a business must have a reasonable chance to scale and thrive. A sustainable model with growth potential, innovation, and competitive advantage is crucial.
Impact Investing Challenge and Takeaways
Olivia’s involvement in the Women Led Impact Investor Challenge presented her with the opportunity to connect with like-minded investors and impact-driven entrepreneurs. The program not only expanded her network but also had a profound impact on her approach to impact investing.
Supportive Ecosystem: Olivia was struck by the program’s supportive and collaborative atmosphere. It was a stark contrast to the traditional venture capital environment, where founders often feel pressured or unsupported. The challenge fostered a culture of genuine support for the founders’ success.
Shift in Perspective: Through discussions with fellow investors, Olivia discovered that different people had varying perceptions of impact. This diversity of thought challenged her and enriched her understanding of the multifaceted nature of impact investing.
Venture Capital Journey with Spring
The program propelled Olivia’s career into the venture capital space, aligning perfectly with her aspirations. She is now a Managing Partner of the Spring Impact Fund, which focuses on investing in early-stage Canadian startups with a mission-driven approach. The fund aims to democratize access to funding, support diverse founders, and shift the traditional venture capital mentality.
“I’m 100% focused on impact, and it feels incredibly rewarding. I love sitting in front of entrepreneurs, hearing their stories, and hearing their passions.”
Recommendations for the Impact Investor Challenge
Olivia wholeheartedly recommends the Women Led Impact Investor Challenge to investors and entrepreneurs looking to make a difference. The program provides a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between values and investments, fostering meaningful connections, and creating a supportive community dedicated to driving positive change.