This is the second in a series where we are taking a deep dive into what it means to be a Talent Investor. This developing field is the frontier of company building, and some of the people who will come to define it may not have even heard of it. If you believe that you could identify and amplify exceptional individuals that will build generation-defining startups, apply now.
Talent investing is not recruitment. It’s simply not enough to find people with extraordinary potential. Talent investors are the catalyst in converting them towards entrepreneurship. They are the trusted partner through the earliest parts of the journey, making sure these people actually reach extraordinary results.
This can sometimes be an uphill battle, working against “ambition suppressants” like legibly ambitious career paths of working in finance, consulting, or big tech. Kitty, a Talent Investor working with graduates, faces this problem often with her candidates: “The impact I would like to see from my work is that the people who are best equipped to solve the planet’s existential risks are doing that instead of working in a bank”. Sid, in Bangalore, agrees: “You know those high-flyers who are doing incredible things, but are sticking to the script of ‘traditional success’? I want to nudge them and say ‘Why not go off-script’? For me, it’s all about supercharging exceptional people to go beyond the ‘business as usual’ and really make waves.”
Impact through scale
Both Talent Investors and founders have a deep desire for impact, but impact can be made on many scales. Talent investing focuses on creating impact through startups because as London-based principal Mike says, “I believe companies are a vehicle for scaling impact to a huge number of people on a relatively fast timeline.”
Changing the trajectory
EF started talent investing with a simple principle: “we exist to make great companies happen that otherwise wouldn’t”. There’s a thousand reasons why a startup may fail, or never see the light of day: the founder doesn’t believe in themselves enough to launch it, they pick the wrong co-founder, they pick the wrong idea… Every single example is a moment when a Talent Investor can change the trajectory of someone’s career. This is the core of Pete’s desire to have impact as a Talent Investor: “I want to help people make a dent in the universe, to see how the companies they build change the world.” In Paris, Marie has the same goal, but with a very specific focus: “I want to find founders who will build companies with a strong impact on climate, whatever the industry.”
Championing underrepresented talent
Talent investing also has the unique opportunity to change the demographics of startup founders, by influencing who starts the journey in the first place. Milette’s personal goal of “helping exceptional women be ‘seen’,” is just one of the ways that this type of investing can have an outsize impact on the world. Eliza agrees: “I’m most excited about championing underrepresented talent. Finding exceptional women and amplifying their ambition to become top level founders is incredibly satisfying.” Diversity of thought comes from diversity of experience – and the more diversity that exists within the people we choose to invest in, the greater the outcomes can be overall.