Meet Jessica Rameau – the French-Brit running Wellstreet’s First Fund

Know more about Jess, a person who never stops learning. She brings a wealth of insight and perspective to managing a portfolio, and a thriving curiosity that takes her to the forefront of the industries she invests in.
November 25, 2020
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Meet Jessica Rameau – the French-Brit running Wellstreet’s First Fund

You' will find an updated version of this article here.

An already experienced investment professional, Jessica Rameau – after 18 months as Wellstreet’s Chief Investment Officer – now becomes Fund Manager for Wellstreet’s first fund; Wellstreet Ventures Fund I. As a person who never stops learning, Jessica brings a wealth of insight and perspective to managing a portfolio, and a thriving curiosity that takes her to the forefront of the industries she invests in.

Her career began as an International Relations and Development master’s graduate. She spent three years in operational roles, from a large multinational to a fast-growing law firm. In 2015, she joined the investment arm of a family office, where she hit the ground running and took over management of a portfolio of 35 early-stage startups in the cleantech and social impact space. Jessica learned on the job in a matter of months, before running the portfolio for five years. 

“Although I often represented the largest or second-largest shareholder on the board meetings, I was only 25 and would be the only woman in the room, with mostly male founders and white male investors in their 50s. I was often mistaken for someone’s secretary and asked to make coffee. Not knowing what to say, I’d become offended and embarrassed. It wasn’t their fault, probably young women in the boardroom up until that point in their career WAS there to take notes. It was my job to signal to them that times were changing”. 

But she learnt a lot from very experienced professionals and angel investors from a wide variety of industries, and she wouldn’t trade her place in those board meetings for the world.

Getting to know London’s large and complex startup ecosystem, she supported the portfolio companies as an active board member, trusted advisor and mentor. She saw them evolve and understood how founders’ decisions and actions at an early stage have a real impact in the long term. Watching some of these scenarios play out was an invaluable experience that she has transferred to Wellstreet’s family of founders. 

For Jessica, Sweden is an "amazing test bed" for new technologies and business models. This tech-savvy, mature, “not-too-big” and fast-moving ecosystem made for an exciting transition. Jess grew up in a multicultural home in France, with a British father and a Bulgarian mother. Now married to a half French-Swede whom she met during a stint in Berlin, Jess’ first thought when meeting companies here is how they will fare in other markets, and pushes founders to understand their competitors and potential customers outside of Sweden. 

Although always enveloped in the British - sometimes excessive - politeness, Jess is a straight talker. She doesn’t like wasting anybody’s time and can be impatient, but will keep digging until she gets the answer she’s after. She’s like a dog with a bone when it comes to process and pushes those around her with great ideas to follow through with the execution. 

Her passion for startups doesn’t stop at investing. She has worked with almost 100 London-based founders through mentorship, advice and consulting work. After seeing fantastic entrepreneurs make avoidable mistakes in the process of fundraising, Jessica also founded an educational platform for entrepreneurs, Five Years Time, in 2017. Furthermore, she has worked as an advisor to the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) on innovation and lean methodology for development projects. 

In 2019, Jessica joined us as Portfolio Manager, before swiftly becoming Partner and Chief Investment Officer in the same year. Today, Jess is the Fund Manager for Wellstreet’s new early-stage investment fund. She operates a portfolio of some 25 companies, with a focus on e-commerce and FinTech, and companies with business models that allow them to reach financial sustainability early. Constantly evolving, she thrives in our small-team, dynamic environment. Her promotion and invitation to become a Partner was in recognition of the outstanding contribution Jessica was already making.

Gamifiera (SaaS e-commerce) and Hyber (children’s clothing rental) are just some of the varied companies Jessica has helped set on a trajectory of success at Wellstreet. Looking forward to future funds, she sees further potential in next-generation technologies for e-commerce, new business models for emerging consumer habits, as well as in the localisation of production.

Networking is another way that Jessica is building an advantage for Wellstreet. She meets five new companies on average every week and she loves the unpredictability in those meetings, especially when her expectations are not very high from initial contact and then the founders really turn things around during the conversation. As she likes to say, “when investing as early as idea or PowerPoint stage, you have to kiss many frogs. You can’t just meet those who know how to build a pitch deck. And that’s how you find the best opportunities”

Jess makes sure she is further  open when it comes to meeting female founders, who are typically underrepresented at the application stage, particularly in the industries Wellstreet invests in. Even if the investments end up not being right for Wellstreet, she strives to offer additional feedback and advice so they have a better chance of securing the financing they need. Sometimes months after she has met them, they still call her for input and advice. She’s also active in the female founders and female VCs forums and events in Stockholm. 

Jess’s mission at Wellstreet is to ensure the entrepreneurs’ success and to this end, she leads the Wellstreet Launchpad program in Partnership with Google for Startups. She has been a mentor with Google for Startups for over three years, working with startups all over the world from the UK, Spain and the Czech Republic to Nigeria and Indonesia. Knowing the program and its benefits so well, she was able to secure Wellstreet as the only partner for this initiative in the Nordic countries.

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Aside from reading press, blogs and news to keep on top of the industries she invests in, Jessica doesn’t have one deep-rooted passion but instead loves to learn a little about many things and maintaining a broad perspective. Brought up in France, she loves food and exercises so that she can eat - rather than eat so that she can exercise, as so many people seem to be doing. She does find exercise helps keep her stress levels down though, especially when it’s kickboxing, which releases pent-up frustration when things don’t go her way. An unstoppable force who will always fight your corner, Wellstreet takes this opportunity to applaud Jessica’s success!  

You' will find an updated version of this article here.