With global problems exacerbating local issues and these in turn spilling over to other areas of concern, structural weaknesses in our systems are revealed. In a world both more interconnected and more divided than ever, how do we create sustainable solutions to common needs through our individual perspectives and strengths?
Startup investor David Hamilton Nichols sees unique opportunities in the destabilization of the current order—whether Covid-19, climate change, or other crises—and positions his impact investments and advisory roles accordingly.
By bringing together diverse stakeholders and their wealth of experience, companies can enhance both the bottom line and the quality of life of those they serve.
For example, in emerging markets like Africa, someone who has grown up there has an understanding and motivation that an American or European does not. However, if the same person has also been educated and lived for a time in the United States or Europe, he or she will also see possibilities for progress that those who have never ventured outside the African continent might miss.
Nichols seeks that kind of balance for his global portfolio. In addition to the company serving one of Africa’s most pressing needs—healthcare—this combination of local and global experience among its founders impressed him in his decision to invest in Africa Health Holdings Ltd.
Our experiences shape us. Interestingly, a founder of Norwegian climate startup CHOOOSE, Andreas Slettvoll, is a former attorney for a large oil company. With this irony, another of the first things to intrigue Nichols about CHOOOSE was how they put the gloom-and-doom climate crisis in an upbeat, solution-oriented way to motivate people to act, offering digital tools to make climate action part of everyday life. Nichols, whose prior experience with environmentalism had been seeing it as impractical extremists and doomsayers thus became the first American investor in CHOOOSE and serves as a strategic advisor to the company.
In addition to experiences, some locations offer advantages for specific purposes. Another company in Nichols’ holdings, Virtual Control Ltd, is therefore based in Hong Kong. Since its focus is logistics and technology and it adds new dimensions to asset inspection and container tracking, its proximity to the world’s highest-volume cargo airport and base in the gateway to Asia are appropriate. The solutions developed and implemented first there and then globally will help more high-value cargo reach its destination in our interconnected world. Covid-19’s disruptions highlighted how dependent the world is on supply chains and logistics.
As a well-traveled American with family roots in business and agriculture, David Hamilton Nichols himself sees life through a multifaceted perspective. He also brings earlier experience in the personal development field to his work through his conscious style of capitalism, investing in today’s changemakers who will be tomorrow’s moneymakers.
So much is happening so fast. Globally and locally, the frustrations driving people apart and the desire to come together create a time of tremendous potential transformation. Business can solve many of humanity’s most pressing problems if it brings the human component to its growth.