During the first six months of our Cambridge MBA and MFin, a team of five of us – Guangze Lu, Haruka Hoshino, llman Dzikri Ihsani, Shubham Jaipuria, Yingying Wang – took part in an impact investing competition run by MIINT – MBA Impact Investing Network & Training. The competition is a competition between business schools worldwide to identify real impact-driven startups with the potential to make a seed investment of $50,000.
Our team comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including MBAs and MFins, which enabled us to bring a wealth of knowledge and perspectives to the table. Through weekly meetings, we developed a deep understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, establishing a strong sense of trust and collaboration.
As we transitioned into November in our first term at Cambridge, we focused our efforts on sourcing specific companies. Drawing on our collective work experience and leveraging the extensive network of the University of Cambridge, we identified a range of promising startups. We also attended events at Cambridge Judge and sought guidance from esteemed faculty members, enabling us to connect with impact-driven startups and build valuable relationships. These interactions proved to be a significant asset for our Cambridge Judge Business School team.
After winter, our team started the exciting process of selecting a company to invest in from the many we had interviewed. We conducted extensive research across various industries and conducted our due diligence using the valuable course material and lectures provided by MIINT. Additionally, the MIINT program connected us with experienced professionals who served as mentors and provided invaluable guidance throughout the process.
After much consideration, our team ultimately decided to invest in Phoenix Carbon, a sustainable recycled carbon fibre company with a mission to create a circular economy for composites. We were particularly impressed by the company’s innovative recycling process, which reduces CO2 emissions by an astounding 87% compared to virgin fibre while still maintaining high-performance properties. This breakthrough technology provides 50% cost savings compared to virgin fibre, creating a sustainable alternative to the traditional composites industry.
Phoenix Carbon’s groundbreaking technology presented a unique challenge during our due diligence process. Nonetheless, we collaborated closely with the company’s founders and Carbon 13 in the wider Cambridge eco-system to thoroughly evaluate the potential benefits of their business model. We meticulously compiled our findings into an investment thesis and presentation.
Our team had the opportunity to participate in the semi-finals and finals of the prestigious impact investing competition held at Wharton Business School in Philadelphia from March 31st to April 1st, 2023. Despite fierce competition from over 30 teams representing leading business schools from around the world, our team was named the winner of the semi-finals on March 31st and advanced to the finals on April 1st.
We are proud to have been recognised with several awards, including the 1st Runner Up for the Best Impact Investment Award, Honorable Mention for the Best Diligence Award, and the Audience Choice Award for the Semi-Final Round. This MIINT Competition experience has been an incredible honour and has provided our team with a tremendous amount of knowledge, skills, and confidence that we will carry with us throughout our careers in impact investing.
The last six months have given us irreplaceable impact investment experience and skills. We are grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this impactful venture capital competition. This experience has inspired us to pursue careers in impact investing, and we look forward to making a positive difference in the world through our work. We are excited to continue to learn and grow in this field, and we hope to be a part of many more impactful investment opportunities in the future.
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