20 ideas to steal - The Entrepreneurs 1 - Magazine | Monocle

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Yenn Wong

Founder, hospitality company JIA Group

“I would invest in alternative protein or ‘clean’ meat. Though I’m not a vegetarian, the environmental impact caused by beef and other meat production is a problem too big to ignore. We are seeing more and more customers who are reducing their meat intake for health and sustainability reasons. I foresee this space growing exponentially in the next five to 10 years.”



Molly Goddard

Co-founder, sleepwear brand Desmond & Dempsey

“We need modern communication tools between factories and e-commerce brands. I would invest in developing the systems that automate the ordering and manufacturing process, giving clear visibility on data and order statuses for both ends. If we can cut out all the back and forth in between placing orders and determining volumes, the whole process could become a lot more efficient.”



Matt Taylor

CEO and co-founder, running-wear company Tracksmith

“I’ve recently been mentoring a handful of companies in the Techstars Sports Accelerator, based in Indianapolis. The process has really taken me back to the early days of Tracksmith: the excitement, the hope, the doubts. I’ll never forget how much of an impact it had to have people believe in my dream. I’d disperse my investment across a handful of these start-ups in the sports technology space. Those kinds of early investments can make a meaningful difference in getting some diverse entrepreneurs and great ideas off the ground.”



Taco Carlier

Co-founder, high-end bike company VanMoof

“There is only one place left to invest and that’s sustainability projects. I personally would invest in Follow This. It’s an organisation that buys Shell shares in order to change it into a sustainable company from the inside out. We need to get rid of the carbon economy as soon as possible.”



Alain Marhic

CEO and founder, watchmaker March Lab

“I’d invest in a green Porsche 911 Targa from 1969. Porsche cars may be the best investment these days as vintage editions have a fast-growing price. That would combine pleasure and investment: the perfect match.”



Andrew Peek

Co-founder,Toronto’s The Annex Hotel

“With the world approaching another era of quantitative easing I’m not sure I can put much faith in anything that isn’t an alternative to global currencies at this point. If you’re not comfortable with crypto then I would lean towards gold. That said, cryptocurrencies have many properties that make them a better store of value. If you can find a solid operation – look for experienced investors with deep networks in tech – then you’re likely to see greater upside.”



Rebekah Hall

CEO and founder, soft drinks brand Botanic Lab

“I see cannabis as one of those once-in-a-lifetime industries; it’s much more than a trend. The heritage and history of cannabis, and intertwined societal stories, combined with the broad spectrum of recreational and therapeutic uses, make it a unique investment opportunity. My personal interest – and where I would invest – is in the branded end of the spectrum, where there is the opportunity to create cannabis 2.0 for the 21st century.”



Simon Mottram

CEO and founder, cycle-wear brand Rapha

“Brands that go deep with a niche audience will have the authenticity and focus to win in the long run. Some of my current favourites that fit the bill are Noble Rot for wine drinkers, Glossier for cosmetics and Aesop for beauty products. If the purpose of the investment is to catch a wave and get a quick return I would look at any business that’s early into using cbd oils. If that’s too racy then men’s skincare is definitely having a ‘thing’.”



Ronald Akili

CEO, lifestyle and hospitality group Potato Head Family

“I would invest in a children’s camp based around instilling a sense of ownership in the environment. Using interesting and interactive sustainable design, the camp’s purpose would be to subtly ingrain mindful practices and sustainable thinking so that the children develop into environmentally conscious adults. Ultimately, if we invest in inspiring the next generation to be better than we are today, that is where the fundamental change that will protect our planet will come from.”



Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

CEO and co-founder, media and conference firm The Next Web

“Just like it made more sense to invest in bubble wrap when e-commerce took off, or shovels during the Gold Rush, my strategy is to look for what happens on the side of the current tech wave. I see potential in everything that’s the opposite of technology. The more we’re digitally connected, the more we’ll want to find a balance and complement our digital lives with analogue things. So invest in art – the more human, organic and random the better. Art will bring balance to the world.”



Tom Marchant

Co-founder and owner, The Black Tomato Group

“The ability to eat healthily – be it passing through airports or train stations, or actually on planes and trains – is abysmal. I would invest in businesses that create genuinely attractive, high-quality and healthy meals that have a long shelf life, making them ideal to be stored and taken on longer journeys. The consumer is becoming more discerning and health-focused so the interest and opportunity in this area will grow and grow.”



Isabelle Dubern

Co-founder, furniture website The Invisible Collection

“We have noticed a shift in the perception of collectible design over the past few years, with people investing heavily in particular designers, eras of design (ie, mid-century) and iconic pieces, such as Pierre Yovanovitch’s Asymétrie chair. These icons of design have been retaining value and continue to be in demand globally. If I had to invest I’d be looking at pieces like José Zanine Caldas’s iconic ZC desk, designed in the 1950s; or, in contrast, a piece by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert, a rising young star who freehand-blows the most unique glass lighting.”



Tony Papas

Co-founder, roastery chain Allpress Espresso

“I would invest in support of a campaign to clean the region where I live in southern Italy. Puglia has recognised it has a problem with the disposal of rubbish and the pollution of its beaches and landscape with plastic. As a citizen of the region I believe that a little bit of awareness could turn this dire problem around. Funding a carefully planned campaign may well make Puglia pristine again and set an example to other regions, or indeed other countries, on how to clean up their acts.”



Patrick Grant

Creative director,menswear line E Tautz

“A croft in the Scottish Highlands. Solitude and self-reliance might well be the only sane life choice.”



Carla Sozzani

Founder, concept shop 10 Corso Como

“I would invest in publishing. It is still an integral part of my life and something I continue to enjoy doing and sharing in a variety of ways. With a book, everything in your hand is there to present sensations of beauty and harmony through the touch of paper and the smell of ink. Books were supposed to die. They haven’t. They continue to grow because people still want them.”



Prue Freeman

Director, London-based café chain Daisy Green

“I would back independent businesses. There are some really interesting opportunities in our space, from artisan non-alcoholic spirits to thoughtful companies promoting more ethical sourcing and sustainability with the future in mind. There is definitely an opportunity to back some fantastic people who can really deliver change on a grander scale, which is especially important in light of the ever-increasing demand for transparency in supply chains.”



Ara Katz

Co-founder and co-CEO, consumer health company Seed

“When I invest I define ROI as not just a return on investment but a ‘return on impact’. I would invest in synthetic biology, microbial technologies, ethics-based artificial intelligence and women’s health. Essentially, technologies and solutions that offer sustainable models and that have downstream impact beyond their direct customers or users.”



Josh Wyatt

CEO, co-working space provider NeueHouse

“As a CEO I feel that we have a responsibility to put our corporate and personal dollars behind brands and products that address climate change and sustainability issues. I would invest in clothing brands and manufacturers that are integrating sustainability principles into their business strategies. Modern Meadow, Yatay, Bode and other entrepreneurs in this space should be rewarded with capital.”



Petra Barran

Founder, street-food company incubator Kerb

“I would invest in some of the incredible homegrown talent coming out of New Orleans right now. New Orleans generated $9bn in cultural sales last year but the ones who create the juice that keeps its flavour flowing don’t see the benefit, and are instead used as wallpaper to sell the city. My money would go towards the collective House of the Young, which is creating content that takes back the narrative, empowers local artists and builds cultural and financial capital from within.”



Kshama Fernandes

CEO, microfinancing company Northern Arc

“I would like to invest in a VC fund that promotes unusual pursuits that may not create immediate wealth but could eventually leave us richer. It’s not a new concept. Indian kings were known for promoting sculptors and musicians who got a dependable livelihood but the work itself belonged to the kings. European explorers enjoyed the patronage of royal houses that financed their ocean expeditions. We need ambitious venture capital that has a longer fund life and a wider investment thesis that goes beyond the obvious.”

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