Dagmar van Ravenswaay Claasen on Financial Inclusivity, Innovation and Simplicity in the Startup Ecosystem
Like many startups, WE.VESTR is made up of a team of entrepreneurial and motivated dreamers. While this recipe produces big ideas and fast solutions, we often benefit from a bit of grounding guidance from our trusted advisors.
We’re pleased to introduce a key member of our advisory team, Dagmar van Ravenswaay Claasen. Dagmar has provided WE.VESTR with significant guidance in our technological and our strategic approach to simplifying equity management for entrepreneurs. We sat down to discuss her experience with the WE.VESTR team and explore her vision for the future of the company.
Dagmar has years of experience in financial technology, governance and compliance, and purpose-driven strategy. This includes roles with Borski Fund, an investment group that improves access to capital for technology companies that are either run by female entrepreneurs or improve gender equality in a different way. Prior to her time with Borski Fund, Dagmar spent years at Adyen during their scale-up phase, where she was responsible for connecting the global growth strategy with the requirements of financial regulations and related governance. Dagmar also led the teams at De Nederlandsche Bank that supervise financial institutions. Here, she initiated a pro-active role in guiding an increased focus on integrity and sustainability.
Thanks for joining us, Dagmar! How did you become involved in WE.VESTR?
One could say it’s the synchronicity of the impact ecosystem. Through a mutual connection, I met Marc Wesselink, the founder of Venturerock and primary investor in WE.VESTR. Marc then introduced me to WE.VESTR’s co-founders, Floris & Maarten.
Part of the collective vision of Venturerock and WE.VESTR is to build more equality and opportunity in the financial and investment space. This is driven by values that I care deeply about: inclusivity, innovation and simplicity.
As you know, WE.VESTR is a single platform where entrepreneurs can manage their cap table, performance and shareholders. What about the WE.VESTR product attracted your interest and resonated with your background with entrepreneurs?
As an employee you often miss the overview of your equity and options portfolio and lack the ability to make assumptions that can help in your decisions to hold or sell stock options in the company you work for. And, as an investor you aim to have an overview of different investments. But, every venture tends to have its own way to manage their cap table and often all you have as an (angel) investor is a contract and an Excel document.
WE.VESTR can provide an employee, founder and investor with a clear overview that can do scenario modeling and connect the portfolio with relevant documents. Also, it’s only the start of a bigger goal: the ability to exchange shares within the ecosystem. This is clearly an added value, in my opinion.
Tell us, you’ve worked with companies of all sizes. What interests you about working with a startup like WE.VESTR?
Jointly building impactful products that truly solve SDG (U.N. Sustainable Development Goals) challenges, like financial inclusion, are fulfilling. When working with startups, you need to be creative in connecting industry knowledge and experience to the needs of the venture. Listening well, asking questions, highlighting different angles, and providing the industry connections can help the venture at this early stage. And in startups, the pace is high and the drive for change is positive.
Based on your expertise, what do you see as the main ways that WE.VESTR can exemplify data integrity and user experience?
When you are a founder, you want to stay in control of your business choices. The aim at WE.VESTR is assuring full control of your cap table as well as the data integrity and security of all relevant information. WE.VESTR made the right choice to immediately pursue its ISO27001 certification — the International standard for Cybersecurity. This covers legal, IT infrastructure, development, security and business organization. It’s certainly a plus.
Maintaining data integrity is therefore important to ensuring validity and accuracy — which increasingly drives decision-making for founders. The services of WE.VESTR improves informed decision-making as it unifies your cap table into a single view and seamlessly imports the company’s financials.
You have significant experience in integrating responsibility and sustainability into businesses, and you’ve taught our team a lot about responsibility and impact. Do you see WE.VESTR as an impact product?
When using WE.VESTR, the future of employee participation becomes easy for founders, investors and employees.
This way, employees benefit not only from working with a scale-up via their earned income, but they can also build equity. And, if an exit occurs, revenues often flow back into the tech ecosystem because employees who have been part of a successful exit often reinvest their profits in other companies or start a new company themselves.
This flywheel is known in the US and is needed in Europe to further boost our startup ecosystem and to improve the ecosystem’s impact on sustainable development goals. I think WE.VESTR can make a significant impact here.