Luca Torre '06
Founder and Co-CEO, Ambers&Co Capital Microfinanzas
In 2008, I left Credit Suisse with the idea of starting a microfinance fund. It was around the same time that I met Agustín through a friend and he was in exactly the same position. He had a strong motivation to leave his job as CEO of Dalbergia to do something with more social impact. We were both passionate about it and wanted to launch a microfinance fund together.
I think the fact that we were both from Kellogg helped us to trust each other. We decided at the beginning to set up our positions at Ambers&Co Capital Microfinanzas as co-CEOs so our interests would be fully aligned and so each of us would be empowered to make executive decisions.
I've spoken with a lot of other entrepreneurs and it seems that often their partnerships are quite difficult. With Agustín, I'm really lucky. There is full trust and very little ego, so it is not really about me or about him — it's just about the project. That's an important lesson Kellogg taught us: generosity in working with and supporting your classmates.
At the moment, we're a small firm with about $30 million under management, but we expect to increase that substantially over the next few years. We believe the sector is growing really fast. There will be more investment opportunities and already more investors are interested in the space.
Our objective is to build an impact investing platform so that, like any other asset management company, we will have a number of different funds that we manage as a team. We want to operate in more sectors than microfinance. I want to see our platform be able to help millions of poor people in different ways, alleviating poverty, providing better health services and leveraging technology to improve agriculture. We hope to have different funds that will cover different financial returns and create a huge social-impact profit over time.
There are investors who want to maximize their financial return while keeping above a minimum of social returns, and there are investors on the other side who want to maximize their social impact but receive at least a minimum level of return. My personal motivation has always been to try to leverage my business experience to do something that went beyond just making money. It may sound naïve, but that is what has driven most of my career.
Until a few years ago, it was unthinkable that investments could have both a financial return and a social return. But I think the recent evolution of the field has proven that it's possible.