This is the sixth post in our Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF) series.
Looking to transition to a Impact Investing career in her home country of Mexico, Anette Urbina Gamboa (MBA16) spent the summer working with IGNIA, a US$100 million venture capital firm investing in companies serving the base of the pyramid in Mexico. “IGNIA proved the perfect opportunity for me to gain exposure and work hand-in-hand with leaders and innovators in the field,” Anette said. “Their main focus is on investing in companies providing high-impact goods and services, such as healthcare, housing, financial services, and other basic services.”
A principle that resonated with Anette throughout her summer with IGNIA was: Question the status quo. She felt that the organization personified this principle its very core. With a history of social change only through governmental or philanthropic organizations, groups like IGNIA and other impact investing funds spurring a social entrepreneurship ecosystem, “the landscape is rapidly changing. It took a few early pioneers who dared to imagine a new way to deliver social good and forever alter the social impact landscape in Mexico.”
Anette’s first plunge into the field had her laying the groundwork to further alter that landscape. After speaking with entrepreneurs, VC firms, and start-up incubators, she co-authored a paper with one of IGNIA’s Co-Founders about the impact of corruption on Mexican entrepreneurs, building and understanding of the breadth and depth of the corruption problem from diverse perspectives. Another project involved helping IGNIA refine their evaluation process determining an entrepreneur’s potential to lead and grow a successful start-up: “I learned that the founding team is a critical aspect, if not the most critical, when assessing a start-up. By having a more structured approach to the assessment process, you can help offset the complexity and make a more informed decision.” Lastly, Anette researched the local Student Finance and e-Learning sectors to help IGNIA identify potential future investment opportunities.
“My fellowship was an amazing experience,” Anette said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity the HSIF gave me to work with IGNIA and experience life as an impact investor in Mexico.” The HSIF is funded mostly by current Haas MBA students who divert a small part of their summer salaries to support their classmates’ social sector endeavors. “Contributions are completely voluntary,” Robbie Heath, MBAA VP of Community, noted, “but they support the unique and important part of Haas culture that focuses on social impact.”
You can also read the paper co-authored by Anette with one of the founding partners of the fund by clicking here.
Find out more about how to get involved in the Haas Social Impact Fund.