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Beyond Capital Fund

Interview with a Local - The Thankful Series - Beyond Capital Fund
November 22, 2011

Being Home for the Holidays at Galavante from our working jet set circuit gives us time to reset and to be THANKFUL for everything and everyone in our lives. Each of us at Galavante is dedicated to improving our local and global communities. This week, we are honored to speak with Beyond Capital, started by our own extraordinary Eva Helene Yazhari and her husband Hooman. 

Galavante: You and Hooman have taken on the enormous endeavor of ameliorating global poverty. How did you start Beyond Capital?

Eva: When I met my husband Hooman, we had an instant connection and shared values. Love at first site sounds cliché, but I am so fortunate to say that was my situation. The foundation originally started as the EH Foundation. EH stands for our first names, which represents our commitment to each other, our families and to our vision of service for the global community. As the works of our organization grew, we changed our name to Beyond Capital. It represents the evolution of the foundation beyond us as Founders. It also better embodies our mission, which is to not only fund but mentor socially oriented businesses.

Shortly after moving to Zürich in 2009, I made the decision to use my background in finance and the resources at my disposal and in my network to help present the issue of global poverty to those who could make a difference. Under the premise that market-based solutions are the antidote to poverty, the Beyond Capital supports high-potential entrepreneurs with innovative business models that address critical human needs such as healthcare and clean water.

Galavante: The premise of market-based solutions to fighting poverty is such a reflection of your background in Finance. How severe is the issue of poverty in the world? 

Eva: Despite all of our economic and technological advances, nearly 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.00 per day. As global citizens, we believe that what happens beyond our own communities impacts our daily lives so we’re committed to achieving widespread change for those living at the bottom of the global economic pyramid.

Galavante: We had no idea that almost 20% of the world lives at that level of poverty. How does the Beyond Capital work?

Eva: Beyond Capital Fund is comprised of a team of professionals with business backgrounds. We source, invest in and help scale innovative business ideas that offerthe greatest possible impact for achieving our goals. We also reinvest our profits back into new ideas in an effort to build on the success and to muliply the social impact of our investments.

Galavante: How does your organization make a difference?

Eva: Beyond Capital Fund makes a difference beyond simply investing in social entrepreneurs because our investments play a critical role in seeding the business’ operations. There is a large bottlneck of early stage social entrpreneurs that can’t find funding for their great ideas! We are also a first actor and have built a repuation which can help attract additional capital to the business later. As such, we are committed to building the ecosystem of support for social businesses and are constantly developing partnerships and looking for co-investors.

Gavalante: How do you decide which projects to invest in?

Eva: We have identified four key market segments necessary for economic and social development in impoverished countries: healthcare, clean water, clean energy and sanitation. An enterprise’s social mission is our first criteria in deciding whether or not to support it. We then weigh that against additional criteria including financial sustainability of the business model, the scale and reach of the business, scope of the product/service delivered, the enterprises’ effect beyond the direct consumer and constituent feedback. Once an enterprise moves beyond our social analysis, we consider traditional investment criteria and seek out businesses that fill a niche in a simple and intuitive way.

Galavante: Is there a project that you are most proud of? 

Eva: I am proud of all the work Beyond Capital Fund has done since inception, particularly in Healthpoint. Healthpoint is a hybrid healthcare organization that provides medical services in rural India. Prior to Healthpoint’s entry into the market, there were no reliable sources for clean drinking water and quality medical care. We view our investment as an accomplishment in that now, rural Indians within range of a Healthpoint clinic, are able to pay an affordable price for clean water, medical diagnostics and approved pharmaceuticals. The business also broke even within 8 months of operation.

Galavante: How can people get involved?

Eva: We have begun to create a community around our work which engages in our sourcing and investment process. For those intereste, co-investments are another possibility for engagement. Corporate partnerships and personal time commitments of skills and in-kind services for social entrepreneurs. Our website is www.beyondcapitalfund.org and I can be reached directly at eva@beyondcapitalfund.org.

Galavante: We wish BCF the best; thank you for inspiring us.