Aug. 14, 2020

098: Loyal to the Soil: Faye Walsh Drouillard and WakeUpCapital

098: Loyal to the Soil: Faye Walsh Drouillard and WakeUpCapital

Faye Walsh Drouillard from WakeUp Capital joins the show to talk about how her formative years and life experience drove her towards early stage impact investing, the two biggest challenegs we face as a global population and fuelling self confidence with humility, constant curiousity and a drive to do better.

This episode is kindly sponsored by Ireland’s fintech and financial services recruitment specialists, Top Tier Recruitment.  If you would like an intro to the team at Top Tier Recruitment, please click here.

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Faye is the founder and principal of WakeUp Capital, an Ireland based early stage impact fund that backs European companies already shaping a better, brighter future for people and planet. Faye grew up and spent her formative years between Washington DC and the West Coast of the US, and she credits these early experiences in shaping her view of the world and her ambition to do something about the two biggest challenges we face as a global population  – mass inequality and climate change,

Just a heads-up - we’ve been moving platforms over the past few episodes, and still working out the kinks, so Pete’s track is a notch below what we’d like it to be, but it was a great conversation and we know you’ll enjoy it. 

Faye shared a lot of great insights on this episode, including: 

  • On geographic parallels to personality: “The west coast feels very much home for me when I’m there because of many of the traits that people who are in entrepreneurship and startups and investing look for - open spirit, innovation and trying something new.”
  • On her time with the Freedom Writers Foundation: “It’s one thing to go and work with really determined entrepreneurs, it’s another thing to work with young people who have overcome things such as homelessness, drug abuse, mental issues, being brought to America as illegal immigrants and then to help them become part of this business with an aim to improve educational outcomes for students worldwide.”
  • On her impetus for becoming an investor: “I realized that there are so many wonderful entrepreneurs out there having epiphanies and light bulbs going off and having great ideas, but how could I take my knowledge and experience and influence the people who had the funds?  I really wanted to get inside their minds and figure out how they made their investment decisions.”
  • On her motivation: “For me, the unwillingness to accept the status quo has to do with the two biggest challenges we face as a global population - mass inequality and climate change.  These are not entirely new today, but more people seem to be paying attention to them, but I’ve been frustrated with both of those issues for a good part of my life."
  • On her mindset: “I will treat everyone exactly the same no matter who they are or where they’re from.  I think a lot of people do that, but they don’t do it enough.”
  • On measuring success: "There seems to be this zero-or-one, black or white feeling about doing good and doing well and they can’t be done together, and that the only way to measure success in business is the profit metric."
  • On timing: “I think we’re now at a time in history where thinking about the impact on people and on the planet with any investment decision is going to become inevitable.  We’re still early days, but that’s part of why I wanted to start Wake Up Capital.”
  • On the impact of impact: “We want to help early stage entrepreneurs understand how to measure the impact they’re having on society and the planet, and grow the space of impact investing, so that stakeholders and co-investors know what it really means.”
  • “We say to early stage companies that by positioning yourself appropriately and by identifying those impact metrics now, it actually might help you raise more money.”
  • "If you want to make a difference in the diversity of early stage startups, it helps to be on the funding side of the table.”
  • On the impact of impact: “We want to help early stage entrepreneurs understand how to measure the impact they’re having on society and the planet, and grow the space of impact investing, so that stakeholders and co-investors know what it really means.”

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