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Investing in the digital transformation

To be able to invest in the best companies, you must have something more to offer than capital. The investment itself is followed by the ownership phase and the opportunity to help the company to develop. “Volvo has strong values, a good international reputation and a global reach, all of which make a positive impact when we approach companies we want to invest in,” says Christina Brinck, newly appointed Investment Director at Volvo Group Venture Capital, the Volvo Group’s investment company.

Christina previously worked as Investment Director at the Sixth Swedish National Pension Fund, a public pension fund specialising in unlisted investments. She has extensive experience of the world of venture capital. Volvo’s strong value base and good reputation were two of the factors which prompted Christina to take up her new role, together with the opportunity to work in an exciting industry that is in the midst of a digital transformation. “Our transport and infrastructure solutions are being completely transformed and everything is happening now! If you want to be part of it, you mustn’t get left behind.” Christina, who joined the Volvo Group in mid-May, is looking forward to an interesting time. “Volvo Group Venture Capital is well positioned to make the most of the opportunities in the industry. We focus on investing in companies in three areas: logistics, site solutions and electrification. We are looking for companies that Volvo can have a strategic cooperation with and also make a financial return.”

Christina has brought with her several important and extensive networks in the field of venture capital. “I work a lot with internal networks, but first and foremost with external ones. I didn’t realise the extent of this until I broke my leg and only needed to inform one person at work but had to make a lot of calls to people in my network outside work.”

Providing the finance is just the start
She explains that providing the finance is just the start of a long investment process. “The quick part is the investment itself, but this is followed by several years of ownership. We are constantly working to achieve our goals: strategic and financial value creation.”

One area that is gradually incorporated into the investment process is ESG: environmental, social and governance. This involves quality-controlled processes for sustainable investments. “We want to do the right thing from the start. Volvo has strong values and we can use them as a base for our investment process.” As an investor, we have an opportunity to influence the company. When a company is growing, there are constant decisions to be made about strategies and HR issues, for instance, and it is important to have a healthy culture when scaling up a company.

Many of the entrepreneurs with start-ups already have this same mindset. The job of Christina and her colleagues is to identify the potential that the companies they are investing in have for gradually developing their ESG activities. “Companies are built up slowly and the opportunities for attracting customers and employees and for getting the maximum value out of future capital rounds increase if the company has a structured sustainability approach in place.”

What’s a good investment?
The digital transformation is moving at a fast pace and involves many investment opportunities. But what actually is a good investment? Christina explains that just because a company or a service looks promising does not mean that it is worth investing in. “In addition to valuation in relation to risk it’s also important to have a strong ownership consortium that matches the direction the company plans to go in. The company must fit in with Volvo, have a strong business idea, provide an effective service and also represent a good business opportunity for Volvo. I’m looking forward to evaluating the companies we want to invest in and immersing myself in new technology and new ideas. The whole aim of venture capital is to find new business models that solve problems. This will allow us to drive the digital and electric transformation in the field of transport and logistics.”

Take me to Volvo Group Venture Capital website