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#36 Elin Ashrafi

Elin was our LUMA #36, watch her film and read more below about what attracted her to Kinnevik

What did you do before you came to Kinnevik?

I recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics, specialising in finance as well as accounting and financial management. During my studies I was very involved with the Student Association at SSE and did a few internships within banking and private equity.

I’ve also been very active within sports and competed in basketball on an elite level from a young age. Even though my focus right now has moved towards my professional growth, the experience has really contributed in developing my abilities to be a strong team-player and a leader.

Why did you apply to Kinnevik?

Kinnevik is a highly interesting investment company with a long history but with a very modern touch despite its long heritage. It has been around for more than 85 years but constantly manages to reinvent itself in strategy and leadership. I was drawn to the most recent strategic pivot towards technology and consumer centric businesses.

However, what I think differentiates Kinnevik from other investors is our bold ambitions and targets around Diversity & Inclusion. Being in the forefront and leading the way in such an important topic really resonates with my own values and was something I wanted to be a part of.

What attracted you to the role of LUMA?

I attended a lunch presentation with Georgi, the CEO, and Johan, the previous LUMA, where they spoke about Kinnevik and the role. I quickly understood that the LUMA role is unique in many ways. You get to follow and have a strong mentorship with Georgi, which gives you comprehensive insight into a complex business and puts you in a position you will not be in for many years to come.

Simultaneously you get to put so many of your own practical skills to the test through project management and execution by either leading projects yourself or by working closely with several different teams: anything from doing research on a potential investment with the investment team or preparing a press release with the communication and investor relations team. It is a chance to see and understand many parts of the business, to test your wings and see in what setting you enjoy working in.

What do you think you will learn from this year?

By following the CEO, I learn what questions and challenges a formal leader faces and how important it is to manage different stakeholders. That I am certain that I will be able to leverage in my future career as I believe managing expectations will be important in any role, matter if you are a CEO, trainee or analyst. The only thing that differs is who those stakeholders are.

Another important skill that I hope to gain a deeper understanding of during this year is the investment process from an investor’s perspective: how does an investor look at an early stage company, what questions do they ask the founders, which metrics are important to evaluate, does that differ per sector, and what needs to be in place before we are comfortable with taking a bet?

Describe the role?

On the one hand side, you work really closely with the CEO and management team and get to be the spider in the web in that setting as you have a unique helicopter perspective of the company. Those workstreams include preparing the agenda for the management meetings, planning of bi-annual Kinnevik strategy sessions, and making sure that the team follow up on our short- and long-term goals.

At the same time, you get to dig deep into the practical work with the different teams. That is to some extent shaped by what happens in Kinnevik during that year. I’m entering at a time where Kinnevik is pivoting towards becoming Europe’s leading growth investor, so naturally, I try to spend time with the investment team on sourcing and evaluating potential investments opportunities, with the platform team to support our growing portfolio as well as with the investor relations team to demonstrate to the market how we are executing on that strategy.

Your impression after three months?

It is an exciting time to be joining. I’ve always had the view that the company is very large, probably due to that it is listed, has a long heritage and a strong brand. However, what surprised me the most was the fact that the organisation is run by less than 40 people in total, based in London and Stockholm. In that sense, it is easy to become close with everyone, and my perspective and thought are really appreciated.

It is also easy to get involved in all aspects of the business which allows the LUMA to tailor the year to be the most interesting for her / him. However, as there only is 24 hours in the day, there comes a challenge with managing your own time. With that said, it is clear that the opportunities are endless.