Wellstreet appoints prominent sustainable investor Jenny Keisu as Chairwoman of the Board. Keisu will support the team directing investments and apply the objectives underpinning the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to portfolio companies, as well as bringing a wealth of professional experience in building Wellstreet’s funds.
We would struggle to believe that you might not be familiar with the work of Jenny Keisu. But, just in case her achievements have slipped under your radar, we’d like to do a quick introduction of Wellstreet’s newly appointed Chairwoman.
Jenny is best described as someone who thrives in the fast-paced, dynamic environments in which she can make a difference and drive change. With many achievements to her name, Jenny firmly believes that we can save our planet by investing in companies that solve global existential challenges that we all face.
She began her career in academia, teaching at Uppsala University and soon began practising law at Mannheimer Swartling. She then proceeded to be a Director and General Counsel of the top private equity firm, Nordic Capital, and completed an MBA at Stockholm School of Economics. The transformation in her career occurred when she became Partner and part of the team that built Summa Equity, a firm investing only in sustainable companies, where she still enjoys the role of a Principal. Last year, she joined as CEO of X Shore, a company that produces 100% electric boats often described as the "Tesla of the sea".
We’ve talked to Jenny about the direction of her career, her drive to implement the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals within the companies with which she works and the investments they make, and the reason she became the Chairwoman of Wellstreet’s Board of Directors.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as the true north of her career
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals announced in 2015 by the United Nations have become a focus for governments, institutions and private individuals. The objective of creating a better future envisions the concrete achievement of these goals by 2030. To entrepreneurs, however, it has proved challenging to reconcile environmental and commercial ambitions.
Early on, Jenny figured out that if she were to steer her career in a direction where she would be in a position to do good and help, she would need to work in a field such as politics. Her reasoning was influenced by the fact that the essential matters like the environment, healthcare and similar are done at the global level, and pursuing these locally in Sweden would simply not pan out. At the same time, she didn’t believe that NGOs were the solution, so joining Greenpeace didn’t feel like the best way to drive change. However, having had reservations towards heading into politics, she decided that law school would be a better option.
For many years she pursued her career and did CSR activities on the side. During that time, she went to Rwanda, taught at the local university and performed many other activities, but never quite figured out how to reconcile CSR with her career. At least not until she left Nordic Capital to be part of the team that founded and built Summa Equity in 2015. Ever since, she has been spending her professional time on companies that, in her opinion, are making the world a better place.
The path to joining Wellstreet
According to Jenny, joining Wellstreet was a fairly easy decision, since she was so impressed with the team.
“I was already working as a CEO of X Shore when I met Mikael Wintzell, and was impressed, both in terms of what he has achieved and in the way he thinks. Mikael introduced me to the rest of the Wellstreet team, and I really liked how everyone is both hands-on and lateral in thinking and approach.”
It is no secret that the world is currently experiencing a climate crisis. And in order to manage the situation, we need to curb emissions, ensuring the temperature doesn’t rise more than 1.5 degrees. If we succeed in doing that or come close to doing so, our economy will be circular. Jenny, therefore, sees the future of business models as circular and firmly believes that Wellstreet is very good at developing, accelerating and growing such approaches.
“I hope to learn from the best while, in turn, being able to help develop, accelerate and grow Wellstreet. Looking at Wellstreet’s track record, and what they’ve managed to do with a very hands-on approach in the early stages of their investments is very impressive. Given the entrepreneurial team and the partnerships with Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS), I am sure I will have ample opportunities to be challenged and to learn,” she comments.
“We are humbled and grateful to add Jenny Keisu to our family. As we are currently running our new multi-fund strategy, her experience is invaluable. Besides, it feels like a natural but essential path to take the quest of saving our planet by investing in companies that solve the global challenges we are currently facing”, says Wellstreet CEO Mikael Wintzell.
What she hopes to achieve as Chairwoman of Wellstreet
Given her previous experience at Nordic Capital and Summa Equity, Jenny hopes to provide stability and insights when it comes to developing a structured fund.
“It is vital to set the foundations right from the start; otherwise, it would take two to five years before you figure out what you should have done differently. Hopefully, I can be there to provide the lessons learnt upfront so that they can avoid mistakes.”
Jenny also hopes that by being part of Wellstreet as a sounding board, she gets to help people develop. “I have ongoing dialogues with Jessica Rameau, who’s responsible for bringing in companies and managing the portfolio, and Armando Coppola, who is heading up the ventures on the FinTech part. These discussions allow me to see what I can do to assist them in their way of thinking, how they can extend their network, and most importantly, how they can improve the companies also from a UN’s SDG perspective.”
We are proud to say - Welcome on board, Jenny!