Hedvig Andersén talks about her job as an Investment Manager at Industrifonden.
“The hardest thing, but also the most exciting, is that you’re investing in the people who are running the businesses. If you can work well with the board, management and owners of a company, then a relatively ordinary project can be a huge success on the market. But if there is too much tension and too many problems within the company, then even a firm with a perfectly viable business idea can still go under,” says Hedvig Andersén, Investment Manager in Industrifonden’s fast expanding Life Science segment.
The job as an Investment Manager focuses mainly on identifying interesting and promising investment projects. The basic criterias for Industrifonden to invest capital are that the company has reached a certain technical and scientific level, that there is a potential growing market, and that the management is credible and competent. Then it’s a matter of finding co-financiers and contributing to the company’s development in such a way that it can be exited at a profit within five to ten years. In short, it is about generating growth and adding value to companies, thus earning a healthy return on Industrifonden’s investment.
“We are often involved at relatively early phases in the life of the investment object, which often is a small company. I am usually a member of the board. At times, I can become actively involved in the company, when I work closely together with both the owners and the management. My contribution is, naturally, governed by what the company needs. But it could be a case of offering ideas about business development, marketing, recruitment etc.”
“The earlier we invest in a company, the greater the risk. Maybe we make a misjudgement. But that’s part of the job – and you’ve got to be willing to take a risk! It’s by no means uncommon, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, for an idea not to come off. Early drug development have an attrition rate of 97 percent,” explains Hedvig Andersén, adding that the business area Life Science has a broad mandate that includes everything from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and equipment.
Industrifonden invests only in Swedish companies.
“We know the Swedish market well, but it’s also extremely important to keep abreast of the global market, since we have to be able to assess whether the company and its products will be competitive in an international perspective.”
This is one reason why Hedvig Andersén’s work involves close co-operation with the research community at a high level. Participating in national and international conferences and congresses, as well as in various investment foras, is also a normal part of an Investment Manager’s job.
Several of the companies in which Hedvig Andersén and her colleagues have invested have experienced international breakthroughs. One example is Esperion, which was sold to the USA. Xcounter obtained a listing on the AIM list on the London stock exchange, and CanAg Diagnostics was sold to Fujirebio, a Japanese-American company.
Ms Andersén really enjoys her job and its diversity. “There’s really no formal education for this kind of profession and I had many ideas before I ended up here – everything from working with orangutangs in Borneo’s tropical rainforests to becoming a marine biologist. If you’re open to challenges and willing to take a risk, then life can take you anywhere!”