The Genius Behind GenieShares

 
Ben Brabyn is a Business Development and Ecosystems Expert and the founder of GenieShares and is one of our guests for Innovation Day, the 17th of March 

SHE Conference

11.02.2021

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Ben Brabyn is a Business Development and Ecosystems Expert and the founder of GenieShares. Ben Brabyn is one of our guests for Innovation Day, the 17th of March 

Get to know a little bit about Brabyn, as well as his thoughts on impact investments and equality.  

— I grew up on a farm in the English Midlands but have lived most of my adult life in London. I started my career as a Royal Marine before moving to London and working as an investment banker for JP Morgan for a short time. I left to set up a crowdfunding business that helped charities raise donations. After selling that business I’ve been involved in several roles building entrepreneurial ecosystems. My guiding interest is finding ways to reconcile ambition and private sector investment with public and community benefits. 

The Story Behind GenieShares 

— GenieShares sets out to entertain and interest people who don’t think that they are interested in business or technology. By telling the stories of entrepreneurs who are looking for a new shareholder, we make business more interesting and accessible to people who might otherwise think that business has no public value. And we provide entrepreneurs with a powerful marketing message that takes them to new customers, investors and team members. 

— Venture Capital can speed the development and adoption of new technologies and makes a valuable contribution to economic growth, but investing exacerbates financial inequality, both by concentrating the rewards of growth in relatively few hands, and sometimes by enabling technologies that threaten existing jobs and substitute technology for labour.  

— While the overall growth that VC creates is welcome, there is a danger that the industry will not continue to enjoy public, popular and political support, so through the pandemic and beyond it will be increasingly important to win hearts and minds to support the VC industry and make sure it’s seen to be “on the right side of history”. 

In Brabyn’s opinion, what are the most important sectors for impact investments?  

— It’s hard to pick the most important sector for impact investing, so instead I prefer to focus on those opportunities that are most likely to improve the impact across many sectors simultaneously. For example, I believe that trust in business and technology is a necessary precondition of business, and technology contributions to major issues such as climate change, sustainable development and financial inclusion, so the first priority of impact investors should be the building of trust in business and technology. 

What are Brabyn’s thoughts on gender lens investing? 

— I have been influenced by the work of Professor Laura Huang at Wharton and more recently at Harvard Business School. She has thoroughly investigated the behaviour of investors and entrepreneurs with respect to gender, and her findings are shocking. That such a small proportion of investment goes to women-led businesses suggests both injustice and inefficiency in the allocation of capital. This is bad for individuals and it is bad for communities too. Both principle and economic incentives highlight the need to improve the gender perspective of investors. 

What does equality mean to Ben Brabyn? 

— My hope is that opportunity is open to all, while also that collectively we reinforce success. In other words, I think we should prize equality of opportunity over equality of outcome, and also recognise that luck plays an important part in all our lives and that we should therefore not over – or under – play the role of chance in our outcomes. 

— GenieShares sets out to entertain and interest people who don’t think that they are interested in business or technology. By telling the stories of entrepreneurs who are looking for a new shareholder, we make business more interesting and accessible to people who might otherwise think that business has no public value. And we provide entrepreneurs with a powerful marketing message that takes them to new customers, investors and team members. 

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