Eva Yazhari
IMPACT INVESTING

Eva Yazhari

#119

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General Partner at Beyond Capital Ventures

Lessening environmental impact – Eva Yazhari

“When you’re pioneering, you typically are subsidizing a little bit of the future cost of a new product or new material or new methodology.”

ABOUT

Investor with 16 years experience working in the impact investment, venture capital and asset management industries. Co-host of The Beyond Capital Podcast and Founder of The Conscious Investor online magazine. Eva is also an angel investor and a proponent of the 100% Impact Portfolio approach. She is the author of ‘The Good Your Money Can Do.’

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Eva Yazhari

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the Supporters Fund Ask An Investor. I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin. Let’s please welcome Eva, the GP of Beyond Capital Adventures and the author of “The Good Your Money Can Do,” our investor for today. Eva, we’re super excited to have you today. Thank you very much for joining us.
Eva: Thank you. I’m happy to be here with you.
Jeffery: Well, Eva, I’ve gone through your book. I’ve gone through a lot of the online content you’ve created and I can say you’ve done an amazing job in really hyper focusing which I love to talk about, focus on countering the market on what it takes to be an Impact Investor. So, absolutely amazing. And I can’t wait for you to share more about your background and all the great things that you’ve accomplished all the way back from school, all the way through. If you can go back to that. And share one thing about you that nobody would know.
Eva: I’m a trained yoga instructor.
Jeffery: I love it. I’m a big fan of yoga. Now, is that Pilates or which one of those? Which one does it fit in?
Eva: No, yoga. I mean I actually happen to do Pilates every day because at the age of 37, I have arthritis in both of my hips. But I’m working on that and I do Pilates every day and I’ve got a great teacher. But I am a trained yoga instructor and that’s to focus on the practice of yoga as a life practice, not just the practice of yoga on the mat.
Jeffery: ah, that’s awesome. Brilliant. And do you prefer hot yoga or regular? Or, I’m going to mess up the name Ishani? like there’s a few different variables I guess on the types of yoga. Is there a preference?
Eva: Yeah, the lineage I was trained in is centered around Hatha Yoga. So, the more traditional yoga. I find that that’s really what I need as a venture capitalist, as somebody who sometimes does things a little bit more intensely. It’s really a grounding exercise.
Jeffery: I love it. I do find it to be very grounding. And because of the pandemic and shutting everything down, I now do everything myself, yoga movements and positions. But I do miss the hot room where you can just focus in on the darkness and just get out of your head and then just work away. So, I do miss that and can’t wait for that to open up again. But besides that, we got to dive into your background and all the great things that you’ve been up to. So, love for you to share that as well.
Eva: Sure. Well, thank you for mentioning my book and my fund Beyond Capital ventures. I’ll rewind to even my childhood. I grew up in a place called Staten Island in New York City. Me, Colin Jost and Pete Davidson and the Wu Tang clan and many more people. And why that’s relevant for my background is that my upbringing in the burrows of New York City made me realize that finance and capitalism is a gated community and I was literally cut off by bridges and tunnels from Wall Street. I could see Wall Street from the house I grew up in, but it took 45 minutes to get there by car and bus or ferry. And why that really matters is because I was lucky to work hard to have a tremendous amount of privilege and to fall into a career in finance and learn the language of finance and capitalism. But not everybody has the keys to that. And as I progressed in my career, amid the big short trade, amid the financial crisis, amid Bernie Madoff’s stealing millions, I realized that there was more I could do to use my skills as an investor to express my values. So, I became what’s known as an Impact Investor. And just so happened, I have a family that lived in Africa in the 1960s, in Tanzania. I didn’t have the biases around emerging markets that a lot of investors do. So, I decided to pivot and focus on Venture Capital in Africa, in emerging markets, as a part of how I would be more aligned with my values. And that’s how I started my first fund. We have top quartile venture returns, very strong impact as well. Every dollar we invest impacts a lot of lives. Now we are in the process of raising and deploying our second fund. And our strategy is diversified, emerging markets turnkey Venture Capital and we have an impact focus embedded and we believe that impact is not a trade-off, that it can be baked into a sustainable business model. And you mentioned my book. So, I’ll touch on that as well as a part of this broader thinking of speaking to a wider audience, that it is possible to be an Impact Investor and that everybody can be an Impact Investor even with a 401k or a thousand dollars in an investment account or less. That’s when I decided to write my book because I had a message to communicate. that this doesn’t have to be only for Musk and Zach. This can be for you and me and all of our friends and peers. And I didn’t think that message was communicated widely enough in the impact investment space. So, that’s why I wrote my book, “The Good Your Money Can Do,” and it’s a playbook for anybody who wants to consider becoming an Impact Investor.
Jeffery: I love it. And I want to unpack all of that because there’s a lot of great things, especially on the book side. But to go back a little bit on the finance side, you talked a little bit about it but being able to see Wall Street. But maybe not be able to play in the same investment areas that all of these big investors were going into. Now you’ve got a whole world changing into D5 and everything is about having you manage it yourself and take care of all these things yourself. So, I think the timing is brilliant for the book release. And of course, all the things you’re doing. It’s just aligned nicely, that the world is hey wait a sec. I want to be sitting at that table too and I want to invest in these companies and I want to be able to do these things that we weren’t allowed to do really obviously, to touch spaces that we weren’t able to do or were blocked from when you were working as that financial analyst. I find that in anything that we do, your background really defines your forward push of what you end up becoming, especially when it comes to investing. I find that bankers or people that have worked in finance have a really big effect on startups and early stages. They have a really strong understanding of how a startup works from a financial standpoint. So, taking your experience, and as you work through that, how did you decide that you wanted to get into early-stage companies? Did that start in that time period when you were working and doing your work as an analyst and building your way forward? Were you seeing that a lot of these companies were lacking a lot of that knowledge and that you were just a real shoe foot right into that company?
Eva: I decided to focus on the early stage because I wanted to have more intention and purpose behind my investing the companies that were out there that were doing that were young and this in 2009. while yes, there were the Tom’s Shoes of the world