Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Frank Malek was recorded in January 2019.
Frank Malek is General Partner at Impacteo, an impact investment fund that invests in companies in the US and in Europe. This includes companies in digital health, climate change, FinTech, etc.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you and to Impacteo. Tell us about your background. What is the investment thesis of Impacteo?
Frank Malek: I grew up in Silicon Valley. I was a geek that turned executive. I worked at some of the large companies. I was an early employee at Cisco Systems and then became an entrepreneur and investor over the years. Currently, I have a small fund with a partner named Damien. It’s called Imapacteo. We are an impact-oriented, technology-based, early-stage investors.
Our mission is to back entrepreneurs in both Europe and North America who want to transform society by using technology to solve some of the world’s toughest problems today around education, health, and environment.
Sramana Mitra: Tell us a bit about fund size, check size, and focus of the fund. When you talk about impact investment, what kinds of stuff are you looking for?
Frank Malek: In impact investment, we require financial return but only from companies which can generate measurable beneficial environmental impact. Usually, we don’t like to lead although we do lead at times. Usually, we like to follow institutional investors. We write checks anywhere between $50,000 and $500,000.
We like to follow, especially, in round A. Just to give you an example of some of the deals that we are investing in today, we would invest in anything around healthcare. We’re interested in education for children with autism and using Blockchain for the bank-less. We’re looking at a technology right now that finds leaks underground. Water is going to become a scarce resource for us. We’re looking at next-generation disease diagnostics, matching designers with ethical factories. We’re looking for things like that.
One of the areas that we’re interested in today is around climate change. As you know, the frequency of climate catastrophes as well as their intensity have increased. There’s a large part of our society that get impacted by that. There is a gap there.
Sramana Mitra: One obvious question based on what you just said is since you follow, there must be a group of investors that you work with who have a similar investment thesis to yours and who are interested in leading. Who are those funds that you tend to collaborate with around a similar investment thesis?
Frank Malek: We have relationships at three levels. We have industrial relationships today. I won’t give you an exhaustive list. We have venture capital relationships with the Google’s, Amazon’s, Facebook’s, Cisco’s of the world. My partner and I have both been entrepreneurs and raised money, and have had exits. We have relationships with top tier venture capitalists and investors both in Europe and in the US. I have co-invested with Sequoia and Mayfield. As an early stage investor, I also have a relationship with the incubators and accelerators across Europe, Asia, and the US.