We are delighted to welcome Akash Bajwa to our Investment Team. Learn about where his passion for venture originated, his work with impact-driven companies and the Augmentum portfolio company he’d work at if he had the choice in this, our latest ‘Meet the Team’ feature.
Why did you choose to join Augmentum?
I was extremely excited to join Augmentum for a combination of reasons. Foremost is the exceptional calibre of the team – the importance of this cannot be overstated in the hugely competitive venture capital industry. Another key factor is the firm’s ambition – to be part of what I believe will be Europe’s premier Fintech investor in the future is incredibly motivating. Finally, I was greatly excited by the firm’s unique position as a publicly-listed fund, which affords it significantly more latitude when it comes to making investments as compared to traditional VC firms.
Where did your passion for VC originate?
My passion for VC originated during my time at Barclays Ventures. I had very little knowledge of the industry until then, but a little while into my time there I caught the VC ‘bug’ and have been hooked ever since. When I was immersed in the role, I began to appreciate the wonderful privilege of being an enabler of entrepreneurs who are setting out to realise their visions for the world.
What is it about the fintech industry that you find exciting?
Financial services are ubiquitous and permeate almost every facet of our lives, in every corner of the world. Everyone I know, from friends to family, is materially affected by the array of financial services they rely on and are available to them. The disruption of incumbents in the financial services industry by fintechs is key to accelerating innovation, the benefits of which are passed down to consumers. We’ve seen significant innovation in banking and lending over the last decade, but what most excites me is the breadth of greenfield opportunities that remain ripe for disruption by fintechs. To be situated in Europe, and particularly the UK which incentivises fintech innovation, puts us in a unique position to capitalise on these opportunities.
If you could work at one of the Augmentum portfolio companies, which would it be and why?
I’m very impressed by Habito and admire their vision to radically improve the mortgage process. The pain points of the traditional mortgage process resonate strongly with me and the sheer size of the market opportunity is hugely exciting. More importantly, however, Habito have shown brilliant execution and continue to go from strength to strength. Their recent accreditation as a B Corp is a clear signal of their genuine commitment to placing importance on people and the planet, a quality I strongly admire.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I’m interested in helping impact-driven companies where possible, so I volunteer with a network called Shaper Impact Capital which matches such companies with mentors and investors. I also enjoy writing from time to time, as it allows me to work through my ideas and essentially begin a dialogue with my readers. Finally, I enjoy mentoring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through schemes like SEO London.
Tell us a random fact about yourself
I moved around a lot as a child – so much so that I was never at the same school longer than one year for the first 10 years of school, right up to my GCSEs!
Read Akash’s thoughts on markets, technology and venture capital in his blog, Socratic VC.
Get to know the rest of the team here.