Meet the Scouts - Ramona Liberoff

Ramona has been working on innovation and investment to global challenges for over 20 years, first with large multinationals and increasingly with global south-focused early-stage innovators. She has invested personally in more than 20 early-stage companies, mostly climate, energy, and fintech.

How long have you been scouting for?

On and off for about a decade

What got you into scouting?

I kept seeing many fantastic start-ups that either weren’t in my personal area of interest or beyond my capacity to invest, and wanted to be able to share these with a broader community of investors.

Potential compensation aside, what do you enjoy most about scouting?

The chance to connect like-minded investors and start-ups.

What makes you stand out as a scout?

A clear focus on innovators working on systems change for a more equitable and sustainable world, often global or in the global South.  Most investors focus on disrupting established markets in the rich North, so it’s a very particular focus.

If you had $1m to invest right now, where would you put it?

Hands down, anything that supports a just energy transition, particularly innovations that allow our grids to function better (in the global north) or allow for off-grid/minigrid installation and scaling (in the global south).

If I had it to spend in 5 years’ time, regenerative agriculture.

What do you think is most important about cultivating the relationship between a scout and founder? And between a scout and a vc?

Scout and founder: the founder needs to be very clear about the ask and the best potential investors.  

Scout and VC: VCs should do more than just ‘take the name’ of the start-up, but also get the scout’s point of view about potential strengths and where the VC could add value beyond money.

How would you like to see the startup/venture/fundraising ecosystem evolve in the future?

A much fairer and balanced funding system: it’s still wildly skewed toward privileged, young, white, and male founders despite evidence showing that there is a vast amount of founder talent outside this group that has an equal or greater chance of success.  More interest in funding businesses that solve the world’s toughest challenges: they are often slower to build, but produce a lot of gain beyond financial returns, and in many areas, solid financial returns as well.

You can connect with Ramona on LinkedIn here and follow her Twitter here.

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