Andrew Smith, Associate at Greenbackers Investment Capital, talks to BQ about guiding businesses and matching them to finance, his personal journey and how Scotland House has enhanced the business.
What is it your company does, and what makes it special?
GREENBACKERS™ Investment Capital are investment specialists for cleantech, climate and circular economy businesses. We act as funders and fund brokers throughout the UK, Western Europe and the USA. Covering equity, asset and project finance, our team works, in the main, with established technology companies and project developers looking to turbo-charge their capital-raising programs.
How do you feel your business is ‘representative’ of Scotland?
Two of our four members are based in Scotland which is the home of innovative financial solutions and ahead in renewables and young, high growth businesses – and that is exactly what Greenbackers are all about!
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
Finding, shaping and guiding businesses and their projects and matching them to equity, debt grant and asset finance.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you progress?
I am the Former Head of the £103m Renewable Energy Investment Fund run for the Scottish Investment Bank (investing debt and equity in a range of marine, low carbon and community-owned renewable energy projects), and former Head of Investment for DP Energy (a renewable energy and sustainable development specialist operating in sites across the world).
I now help shape projects & businesses and raise finance for them and their projects with Greenbackers Investment Capital, specialising in raising finance for low-carbon, cleantech and climate change businesses. I am also part of the expert group advising on the new EU Innovation Fund and a regular speaker at the DG Mare Blue Invest events.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Instrumental in delivering companies of scale all delivering clean tech, low carbon, circular economy solutions that collectively will contribute to reducing the effects of climate change.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Listening more than talking, leading by doing, freeing up people to achieve their potential and providing support when and where ever needed.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Trying to convince myself that it really is work – I love what I do.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I remind myself that I am but a tiny cog in a huge world – perspective is my most useful coping tool.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Travel; speak to as many people as possible; work out your own core values and stick with them throughout – even if it means walking away from a deal.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Keep every contact you make in some form of good, searchable order!
How and why did you become involved in Scotland House?
I heard about it through former colleagues at Scottish Investment Bank. We needed a London base - Scotland House is perfect.
How has your Scotland House membership enhanced your business?
Scotland House is Greenbackers London home; impressive for client meetings, superbly located, excellent staff and facilities. We host our main bi-annual event there - the Greenbackers Investment Pitch.
Describe the three biggest benefits of being a member.
Excellent location with top-class business facilities creating an excellent impression on those with whom we engage.
What would you say to a Scottish business considering membership?
As a sports fashion brand once said: “Just do it.”
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