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Pontus Gustafsson

Meet Pontus – Entrepreneur & Impact Investor. Founding partner of +Cap and CFO of Skillbreak. Pontus is an SSE graduate from the BSc program in Retail Management and MSc program in International Business.

Describe your role and what you do?

I am one of the founding partners of +Cap, a small impact investment company investing in early-stage startups within sustainability, health and sports tech. As we are a small company, I am involved in all parts of the business: working with identifying new investments, promoting our company, closing deals, and supporting the startups.

Being active owners, we also support some of our companies operatively and I am currently supporting our portfolio company Skillbreak. At Skillbreak, I am the CFO, mainly working with financing and financial management.

What inspired you to work with impact investment?

A few years into my career I came across the concept of Effective Altruism and learned about the organization Effective Altruism Sweden. Their thinking resonated very well with me, so I attended a workshop series regarding using your career for good and read the book 80,000 hours. I had never thought about the impact I could have through my daily work, but these two events really opened my eyes.

An important aspect of Effective Altruism is doing something you are good and enjoy, as these go together, and I knew I wanted to work with entrepreneurship and investments. Advocacy is another important aspect of Effective Altruism so instead of just getting an employment in an investment company I decided to start an impact investment company myself, to get more of a platform but also satisfying my need of being entrepreneurial.

Obviously, the fact that the impact entrepreneurship ecosystem in Stockholm was really taking off with actors such as Norrsken, also influenced my decision.

How did your education at SSE help you get to where you are in your career?

Reflecting on what SSE has given me I think it is two-folded: an understanding of business and the tools to break down, analyze and solve problems. The latter has helped me greatly, both at work and outside of it. Even at the football pitch in my role as coach, I benefit from my time at SSE and the abilities I learned there.

My exchange studies pushed me further and widened my horizon even more. I think it accelerated my ability to solve problems as you face situations you haven’t experienced before. In general, I think the Bachelor Program in Retail Management laid the foundation and gave me the basic knowledge about business while the Master Program in International Business greatly improved my problem-solving skills.

What have you learned in the past few years that has contributed to your success?

I think it mainly relates to social interactions and the importance of being empathetic. If you really want to have an impact you need to learn how to manage people by understanding them. In my role as an investor, entrepreneur or football coach, empathy is crucial.

What advice would you give to students considering applying to SSE?

I obviously strongly advise you to apply. I have got some of my best friends and memories at SSE and it has been a true door opener. Even if you are unsure what to do next, the foundation you lay at SSE will benefit you regardless of what you do!