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The Conscientious Investor

Full Transcript - Episode 19

 

Vaccine hopes and fears, currency concerns, and what's in a name? Plus Miss Elle tells us why she likes Christmas.

Plus - Pedro Vilela talks about his decision to step out of management consulting and launch his own venture capital impact investment business.

G: So, Happy Christmas everybody!

J: Merry Christmas!

L: Merry Christmas, São Paulo!

G: Hooray.

J: Yay, ho, ho, ho!

G: Merry Christmas Miss Elle!

L: Ho, ho ho.

G: Ho, ho, ho!


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G: So, here we are with our Christmas episode, I guess this is.

J: Ho, ho, ho. So, Gee, what...what do you plan to do this Christmas?

G: What do I plan to do? I plan to celebrate the fact that it’s Christmas, and we have a vaccine, and hopefully next year will be different to 2020.

J: Nice. Erm, do you eat any special food in England for Christmas?

G: We have very much what you normally have at Thanksgiving, actually. We have turkey, we have stuffing, we have roast potatoes, we have...um...

J: Do you have cranberries?

G: We don’t usually have cranberry sauce. We normally have cranberry sauce with lamb. That is traditionally our Christmas meal, yes.

J: Yeah...I’d...I’d say ours is...at least my family’s...is typically turkey and stuffing. Yeah, it’s very similar to Thanksgiving, in many ways. It’s just bigger and better.

G: Yeah, it’s kind of strange for the Americans cos it’s like only a few weeks apart between Thanksgiving and Christmas isn’t it?

J: And, we’re basically eating the same bird twice!

G: Yes. So, you can just freeze it for a couple of weeks and get it out again – eat the other half!

J: Ergh! That doesn’t sound so good.

G: And you? What are you planning for Christmas this year?

J: Well, I’m...I’m going to travel to the interior. We have a house in the interior. I’ll stay there for...er...probably about a week, and then I’m going to go to the beach.

G: Ah, which beach?

J: Santos.

G: Santos is good.

J: Yes.

G: I like Santos.

J: Yes, Santos is nice. There’s...there’s a big city with lots of good restaurants.

G: And it’s nice at New Year there, too, isn’t it?

J: It’s wonderful. They...they have got fireworks. They have got really good fireworks.

G: So, that sounds like a good time! I bet you are looking forward to that.

J: I am. So, what do we have today for the pod, Gee?

G: Well, the main thing we have today for the pod is we have a gentleman coming in called Pedro Vilela.

J: Pedro Vilela?

G: Yes. He is...

J: Is he Spanish?

G: He is actually a Brazilian chap who I have known for a little while and he is going to tell us all about his business, which is investing in eco-friendly and responsible businesses. ‘Positive impact’ businesses, I think he calls them.

J: Nice.

G: So, we’ll hear all about that and how he’s getting on in trying to change the world, cos he is quite an interesting chap, actually.

J: Well, it should be good fun then?

G: And...

J: I’m looking forward to that.

G: ...I imagine we’ll have a bit of Guru and probably a bit of What Caught My Eye and...

J: And probably...

G: A bit of Laurie in the background. Miss Elle, sorry. I shouldn’t call her Laurie.

J: Yes.

G: A bit of Miss Elle in the background.

J: Yes, she’s her ever-present self.

G: Omni...omnipresent...omnipres...er...one of those words, anyway.

J: Omnipresent!

G: Omnipresent.

J: Yes.

G: So, let’s get going!


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G: So what...what caught your eye, this week, Jay?

J: Well, my top story is actually important. I know a lot of times we...we make jokes here and we have fun with the stories but this one is actually quite serious. It’s about the Covid...er...vaccine.

G: Yes! We have a vaccine!

J: Yes! From...from Pfizer. And my news actually comes from the UK.

G: Hmm, well, they’ve started vaccinating, haven’t they, which is great news.

J: I...I have heard a warning though. I understand that the UK authorities are warning people with serious allergies to avoid the Pfizer vaccine, because there have been... until now, there have been two adverse reactions.

G: There are... Yes, I saw that too. There have been two people who had a prophylactic shock, or something?

J: No, anaphylactic.

G: Anaphylactic – whatever it’s called.

J: Well...you...th...that’s very serious. You can die from those. There’s people that die from peanut butter poisoning or spider bites or all kinds of crazy things.

G: That’s true.

J: For the mom...for the meantime, if you have strong allergies, they are advising not to take the Pfizer vaccine until more information is known about these reactions.

G: Hm, so, do you think that’s going to complicate things a little bit?

J: Well, I think certainly in the US it will because in the US there are a lot of people, especially – even in my family – there’s a lot of people with...er...allergies.

G: With food allergies, yeah?

J: Food allergies. So, imagine where that is going to go.

G: So, in the United States, I think, they are still evaluating the...er...Pfizer vaccine. They haven’t made a decision yet, have they?

J: Exactly. Well, I understand they are going to start giving the vaccine probably within the next two weeks. In three weeks. I don’t know why the US is slower in releasing the vaccine to the general public. That’s...that’s just part of the US protocols.

G: I believe it is just a slower process, from Mr Faucci...Dr Faucci said. It is surprising, though, that they didn’t pick up on any allergic reactions when they tested it, isn’t it?

J: Well, I...to that point, I...I understand that...er...Pfizer has said that people with a history of the...of the allergic reactions were not included in the emergency testing process. So, possibly thinking that they wanted to get this to the general public as soon as possible, they passed over that...that...er...step. Imagine all of the al...allergic reactions you could possibly have. That’s going to take a long time.

G: But, as you say, they must have an idea of what percentage of the population has allergic...allergies – food allergies?

J: What...what their statement says is that ‘Any person with a history of...of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food, such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction, or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline auto-injector should not receive the Pfizer bio-intech vaccine.’

G: Wow. That’s pretty serious.

J: That...that’s quite serious. So, then...because imagine – you want to avoid ‘death by Covid’ and you get ‘death by vaccine’ instead.

G: Yes. ‘Death by anaphylactic’ – or whatever it’s called – shock.

J: Yes.

G: That would be nasty.

J: That’s not pleasant. 

G: Well, the situation here is kind of interesting too. I don’t know if you have been following the...the latest here in Brazil, but...um...Butantan has announced they are going to start producing the Coronvac, which, of course, is the Chinese vaccine.

J: Ok.

G: Um, and they are on the end of the process, and they are waiting for approval from Anvisa, the...er...body that approves vaccines here. And they have also inspected the factory in China, and basically they are saying the Chinese vaccine is fine and, meanwhile, Doria is planning to roll it out fairly quickly, starting in January – probably the end of January, the beginning of February.

J: The Chinese vaccine?

G: The Chinese vaccine, yes. And then, meanwhile, Mr Bolsonaro, however, he’s not interested in the Chinese vaccine. He’s announced that he’s going to be buying some of the Pfizer vaccine. And he’s ordering 70 million doses.

J: 70 million?

G: Yes. So...um...that will complicate things a little bit too.

J: So, what’s 70 million times 0.63%?

G: Erm, that’s quite a lot of people.

J: That’s...that’s a lot of people but that’s because the 0.63%, that’s what Pfizer says that...that...that in the testing trial, that’s the amount of people that tested positive for some kind of allergic reaction.

G: Right. So, when they hear about this, then maybe people will feel less suspicious about the Chinese vaccine and maybe they will pivot back towards the Coronavac?

J: Yes. Maybe the...the Hung Far Low vaccine is starting to sound pretty good?

G: But it’s all...it’s all very strange actually because the you’ve got the plan here in São Paulo, which is the Coronvac. You’ve got Bolsonaro ordering the Pfizer. In Paraná...er...sorry, yeah in Paraná they are going with the Russian thing. They are going to develop the Sputnik 5. So, they are going Russian. And in the Distrito Federal, around...er...Brasilia, they are in the testing phases with the Belgian vaccine called Janssen.

J: My god! So I...I...it sounds like it’s a free-for-all. Go wherever your be...your political interests serve and get that vaccine for you.

G: It is. So I am going to have them all. I’m going to have the whole menu, I think – all four and see which one kills me!

J: But can...that...that...that brings up a valid question. Can you over-vaccinate?

G: I...I’m sure you...well, I don’t know, actually.

J: I mean...I mean, you can, like, overdose on something, but can you over-vaccinate – which becomes an overdose?

G: Yes. ‘He died from an overdose of vaccines.’ That’s a good point – especially as they have all got different...um...methodologies, haven’t they?

J: Right. And...and let...let’s say something. So, imagine that you take all four, or all five, or however many there are. Would all of the bad qualities of like...er...add to each other or would they subtract from each other?

G: I think we need to do some research on that.

J: I don’t know. Let’s go out and let’s go test ourselves.

G: Let’s go out and test a few people off the street, and see what happens.

J: And I think I’m going to start with the...the beer vaccine that’s here on the corner.

G: I think that’s an excellent place to begin.

J: That...that’s the Corona vaccine, by the way!

G: Yes. Let’s start with the Corona beer. Or maybe not.

J: Ok. So what...what else do you have for us, Gee?

G: My item is vaguely political again, actually.

J: Ok.

G: Did you know that Adolf Hitler has just won an election?

J: But he’s been dead for a while.

G: Well, that particular Adolf Hitler has been dead for a while but there was a...

J: That particular? There’s more than one Adolf Hitler?

G: There is more than one, you’ll be delighted to know.

J: Now that’s something that I didn’t expect. It’s not Adolf Hitler Junior – don’t tell me that!

G: Almost. No...it’s...er...it’s almost Adolf Hitler Junior. It’s Adolf Hitler Uunona, and he is a member of Namibia’s S.W.A.P.O. – the South West Africa People’s Organization.

J: Ok.

G: And he has now been elected to the council of Ompundia constituency.

J: Ompundia?

G: Yes.

J: So...

G: From...from where he’s planning to take over the world.

J: But what...what was, let’s say, his message, or his platform that he was...er... Why would anybody pick him?

G: Well, um, basically because he seems like a nice guy and...

J: Ah, ok.

G: ...he just has an unfortunate name. What...what I didn’t know, apparently is that Namibia used to be a German colony, from the...this mid 1880’s to about the First World War.

J: I...I didn’t notice that either.

G: So, the word...the name Adolf is actually not that uncommon. Erm, and he says that when his father picked the name for him he was unlikely unaware of the previous owners of the name and the reputation that he had. So, um, possibly his father was a bit naive there.

J: Yeah, or his father just didn’t have enough time to do any research. Or, maybe, I don’t know – spur of the moment. But how would you come up with a name like Adolf Hitler and not know that...that...about Adolf Hitler? I mean...

G: That is a good question, actually. Erm...

J: I...I...I just don’t get that.

G: So, it will be interesting to see how far his political career goes with that name. Erm, although apparently just knows him simply as Adolf, so...

J: Ok.

G: There we go. We have another Adolf Hitler in the world – in politics...on the up!

J: Well, as long as he doesn’t...well, nevermind!

G: And what about you Jay? Have you got another story for us today?

J: I...I do. Mine’s, again a little bit more on the...er...little bit more on the serious economic side. This comes from...

G: This is your future career – economist, isn’t it? This is...this is where you are moving, isn’t it?!

J: I...I don’t know. Actually, I don’t know anything about it but it’s important.

G: You just know it’s important!

J: I just know it’s important because it...it deals with...er...the exchange rate.

G: Ok.

J: And the...Paulo Guedes, who is the chief economist of the country...

G: Yeah.

J: ...has said that the highest value of the Dollar, at 5.80, was too high. So it...it just, kind of, basically overshot its target. So the...the exchange rate is...is constantly, let’s say, this...this negotiation in the market...er...trying to find the...the right value for...for the...for the Real...er...and at 5.80 it appears it is too high.

G: It’s one of those things you can’t control directly, isn’t it?

J: No, you can’t. It’s...it’s...it’s a complicated mechanism, because basically it’s the...it’s the market that’s telling you what they think the...the value of your currency should be.

G: Exactly. The market tells you that.

J: Right. So, let’s say, in terms of inflation, and then you tend to think about price inflation. Here we’ve got a high food cost inflation. And just in the last month, in São Paulo, the price of food has gone up significantly. Most of that is due to the export rate.

G: Ok.

J: Because...er...for the producers, it’s much more interesting for them to export their products to the exterior at 5.80. You know, they are paying in... They are getting paid in dollars...

G: Um-hm.

J:  ...and they are getting less value here in the internal market.

G: Right.

J: So, then they choose to export, which raises the prices for all of...all of the goods. Erm.

G: Alright. So, is Mr Guedes planning to intervene with the Central Bank? Is he gonna to start buying Reais, or something like this?

J: No, no. He...he has said that, in the beginning, the Central Bank has...er...spent about 70 to 80 billion dollars to try to fight that a little bit, but they won’t continue to do that.

G: Good. I think it is a waste of money trying to prop up the Real, actually.

J: Right. Right. So, they...he welcomes the volatility, but of course...er...the volatility, historically, a good  rate for Brazil is usually between 3 to 5 Reais. So, now it’s at 5.80. It’s going back down to, perhaps, 5.30-5.20. Hopefully it will go below 5, because that will make travelling that much cheaper.

G: Well, yes. I mean this is actually historically very high still because...

J: Yes.

G: ...if you take the last twenty years, then for a lot of that time it’s been well below 3, actually.

J: Right. Right. And for anyone, if you want to buy dollars – if you are buying dollars at about 2 or 3 Reais – that’s a good price.

G: Yes. But nobody is right now.

J: But nobody wants to buy dollars at 5, 5.50, 5.80, no. But I would like to get an economist back in here to talk exactly about the exchange rate.

G: Yeah, I think we...it makes us feel better, beating up an economist, whether it changes anything or not.

J: Nah, probably not.

G: Yeah, let’s get him back in. Let’s see what he has to say.

J: Ok, so, what’s your... Do you have anything else for us?

G: Um, well actually, um, I have got a small item that caught my eye, here. Erm, we have just had an election here in São Paulo. They have had an election in a small village in Austria, too, actually.

J: Austria?

G: Yes. In the area of Tarsdorf. Have you ever been to...er...Austria?

J: Yes. Yes, I have been. I went hiking there once. It was nice.

G: Have you ever been to Tarsdorf?

J: I’ve been somewhere with a dorf, but I don’t remember if it was Tarsdorf.

G: You were accompanied by a dorf were you? Anyhow, um, maybe you passed through the little village near Tarsdorf called...er...F**king?

J:  F**king? Yes, I...I don’t remember going through F**king in Austria but that was...that was also my ex-wife, so I don’t know. There wasn’t a lot going on then!

G: Oh, ok! So, there wasn’t a lot of f**king in F**king?

J: No.

G: Anyhow...um...they have voted to change the name!

J: Really?

G: Yes. Because they say they are attracting too much unwanted attention from tourists, which seems kind of surprising because most people welcome tourists, don’t they?

J: So, how did they spell the previous name, and how do they want to spell the new name?

G: Well, it’s going to be renamed...um...Fugging.

J: Fugging? Oh, that’s much better!

G: Maybe that’s something between f**king and hugging? I’m not sure.

J: Yes, I...I don’t know.

G: But...er...yes. It’s going to be called Fugging and...um...the...

J: Well, we do have ‘fugly’. I know about that.

G: Well, yes. We better not go there.

J: No.

G: No. Um...but, um...so, the mayor of Tarsdorf, she said, “I can confirm that the village is being renamed.”

J: Ok.

G: “And I don’t really want to say any more.”

J: Ok, well, that’s...that’s it, so...very nice!

G: That’s it. Short and sweet.

J: Short and sweet.

G: It is now Fugging.

J: Fugging.

G: Fugging strange! Fugging useless!

J: Oh, terrible.

G: Fugging Austrians!

J: Those...Austrians, th...they just don’t really...er... Change it to anything else!

G: I actually like Fugging. I think Fugging is a good alternative...

J: Yes.

G: ...to...to a certain expletive, actually.

J: But I guarantee that there will still be English tourists that go there and try and steal the signs, or something like that.

G: That’s true. There was another town called Shitterton, actually. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it?

J: No. I know they have Titz in Germany.

G: Oh, they do?

J: Yes.

G: They got lots. Lots of Titz in Germany, yes. Anyhow, we better move on quickly.

J: Ok. Let’s go on.


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G: So, today, um, we are very happy to welcome to The Samba Buzz – Pedro Vilela! Pedro, welcome!

J: Hello Pedro. Welcome!

P: Hi Jay! Hi Gee! That’s great to be here!

G: Let’s start. Tell us about...er...I guess you pronounce it Rise Ventures, no? I’m always tempted to call it ‘Heezy’, because I think of Portuguese. But it’s not ‘Heezy’, it’s Rise, isn’t it? So, tell us about Rise Ventures, Pedro.

P: Rise Ventures is an impact management firm. So, you do have, like, one investment fund – 3 companies in the portfolio currently. Erm, and we...we started up in 2016...er...doing stuff with our own money, and our few investors, and then we only invest in assets that have some sort of positive measurable positive impact – contributes to different sustainable development goals from United...United Nations. Our mission is to prove that financial returns are not mutually excludent (sic) with positive impact. On the other way round. They need to go hand by hand. They need to go... They need to walk alongside of each other. Otherwise, companies are gonna start losing financial value over time, if they are not aware about the ESG stuff – the Environmental Social Governance, and about the...the social impact...

J: Right.

P: ...and the externality they generate.

G: Can...can I...erm...go back a step. Um, your background was management consulting, yes? At what point did you identify the possibility of starting your own business and how did you go about creating this business from...from scratch, which is very difficult to do? And then beyond that – how did you actually find these initial clients to work with and get them interested in your project?

P: Yeah. It is a tough journey. You are completely right. When I was in the consulting, I...I started feeling a little bit...er...discomfortable (sic) about not choosing the type of client I was serving. So I was putting my hours to support a multinational X to sell the products ABC. And I didn’t believe in the products ABC – to be very honest! I was kind of, like, unhappy with that a lot – er, what I am doing with my hours. So, what happens is like...er... I always wanted to...to open up a new business...er...that combines the skills that I...that I had in my life...er... and also that...that I could choose the clients. What you call clients, I call, like, the invested portfolio companies – like a...people who I want to partner with, to...to be business partners with. So, I wanted to choose. So, I was very intrigued by this...this market gap that I just told you before. Like, why do companies are...are...lack so much resources at this stage. And then I started evaluating the...the...the reason why, and I found out that these companies, they don’t have cash in order to hire people. They don’t know how to hire and retain people, and they don’t have people interested long because there is an information, a signatory which is ridiculously big amongst where the talent is and where these companies go for to look for people. So, I...I look to these companies and say – “I’m gonna start bringing teams, and human capital to these companies, to see what happens.”

G: So, did you actually quit your other jobs when you started this up or were you still working in your previous jobs when you tried to form this venture?

P: No, I quit.

G: So, that’s a big decision isn’t it?

P: Yeah, that was a big decision. I mean, I had, like, a couple of...I had some savings to support myself without salary for probably one year, at most. And I needed to... so I started earning zero, gradually increasing to some salary which is much...much below market still but doing stuff that I love with high potential of growing in the future. So, I started from scratch, doing...doing stuff. I raised money for the first company – for the first couple of companies via club deals. I brought other investors in a club deal...er...convinced them to...to invest in the business. Er, you build up the network. I think this is very essential, er, your insistence on knowing how – how do I put people together, right? So, every opportunity I have to make good network I do, and now we do have a good network with family offices – single multi with banks, with like a...the financial institutions, with different investment funds, with people...er...all over the universities – the best universities. We have network with, like, a...in Brazil.

G: So, so when...when you approached your first clients, then, to partner with, you already had investors backing you? Or did you just say – “Look, we’ve got this idea of how we can help you build your business and if it goes well, we know people who may get involved in investment.” How did you do that?

P: It was the second one. I didn’t have investors backing me up from...from the beginning. We created a business plan together with the founder. So, like in Belief, for example – Belief, the...the company we still have in our portfolio. Er...we arrived there. “May we create a plan to grow faster, quicker and better, for the company and bring money to you? And I mean, I want to...I wanna piece of your company, because it’s that...that is your...your, I mean, you have that to give me. You don’t have cash. So, give me a piece of your company and I support your...your growth plans, bringing capital and human capital. So people and money.”

J: Right. So. What’s...what’s the biggest challenge that you have in your work? I mean, because first...first of all you have to identify a company that’s, let’s say, that...that has potential. Then you have to identify investors that want to participate and then you guys. And all that takes time. So, what’s the biggest challenge, let’s say, time-wise for you?

P: Yeah, that’s a great question. Er, it’s human, for sure. Er, I...I’ll come back to this challenge in one minute. Just to finalize where we are now. Because I was talking about Rise Ventures in the first two years. So, it was club deals, like I told. Erm, every time I needed to find investors for a particular company, set up teams and...and work on the growth. Now, we structure the investment fund in order to be more scalable, and we are starting to raise money, and already committed capital. We have committed capital in a...in a sort of vehicle. And I just...I need to fund-raise on the one hand, to this fund, and then I buy companies with this fund. I buy minority stakes with this fund. So it...it...the core business is two...is two...is two things – raising money and finding good companies to buy. The scale is bigger and it’s easier to raise money for a fund than to raise capital case by case, all the time.

J: Right.

P: It takes a lot of time, and with a fund, I have a, like, a ‘sell my strategy’. So, what I do with is, I create a standard strategy. I start raising money for this strategy from family offices, multi family offices, I...er...fund of funds, er...financial institutions that are looking for impact. So, it creates scalability on fundraising, and I need, still need to find out the companies. And the main challenge, coming back to your question, is human. I need to partner up with the best entrepreneurs possible. Of course, everything is difficult, to raise millions or reais and dollars, it’s difficult because it’s a lot of money.

G: So, have you...have you had success with that? How...how successful have you been at raising the money for your...your portfolio of companies?

P: Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, we are doing...we are doing fine, I believe, with this. We just finalized...we are finalizing our first closing of the fund...of R$25-30 million now. We...we invested, more or less, R$7 million up to this point, in this four years and a half. It will be, to arrive at the breakeven situation, five, 5-6 years, R$10 million invested, lots of, like, of learnings. So, just to give you a reference that...er...we...we are still on the...on the fight to be in a comfortable situation in order to break-even the business.

J: So, what kind of projects do you have currently that you are evaluating that...that could be, let’s say, interesting. Because you...you’ve talked about the coffee company...what were the other companies that you have?

P: We do...we do have, like, the plant-based food...

J: Ok, the plant-based food. Right.

P: ...solar energy and waste management.

J: Ok. So, wh...what do you have, possibly, going forward?

P: Yeah. Pipeline. So our pipeline is a like... Ok, first of all, we analyze more or less 160-170 companies to invest in one. So, that’s more-or-less the ratio the...the...the real ratio, the historical ratio. We do have in the pipeline currently – it can change every thinking one month from now because we give more ‘no’s’ – much more ‘no’s’ – than ‘yesses’. Er, but we do have superfood, biocosmetic, biofood. We do have, like...er... er...electric bicycles. We do have, like, affordable living and refurbishment in poorer areas. We are looking, also...er...we do have some school chains that are very focused on social and emotional, sort of, like, aspects in the children. We are looking...we...we are having in the pipeline...er...biogas...

J: Ok, so...so, let me ask you a question. As an investor – now here’s a tricky question for an investor – what’s the most important thing for...for you? Is it the journey, or is it the destination?

P: See, the journey is more important. I don’t control the results of what I’m doing but I’m doing my best in order to achieve the results I want. That’s different, right? So, we only have the journey. That’s the truth. We only have like the...the gift of the Present moment. The Past is learning. The Future does not exist, and I’m here now with you guys talking to you, and you know, what happens is, like, the journey is more important but of course I’m doing my best, and my team is doing their best in order to achieve the destination -  the first destination, because it’s not a one kind of destination trip.

G: I was...well, one of the things we generally like to ask, is we like to hear all the most painful episodes you’ve undergone when you’ve been working, so...um...tell us some of your war stories. What’s been some of the most embarrassing or awkward situations you’ve faced in...in dealing with these businesses?

P: That’s a very good question. I’ve never received that one. Awkward situation. Ok. There is one. Er, I was br...so I try to study the background of the investors before going to the meetings, right, in order to know my public and how to convey my message. There are certain investors that they prefer to talk about the operations of the businesses. There are certain investors that prefer to talk about the strategy or the...the impact measurement or the financial return side. So I try to study who-is-who. And I was briefed one day. Er, I was wrongly briefed that there was a...there was a...there was an investor keen to...to discuss impact measurement and how was the philosophy. It was more important than the financial returns. So, I came to the meeting. It was a super high-profile office in Faria Lima. Um, this is like one of the...one of the fifty top families in terms of income in Brazil. So, no pressure! So, I started talking – “So, we have an impact investment firm. So, we are very concerned about the philosophy of the investment.” And I started describing the investment philosophy to him – a lot, going deep, and deep, and deep... And then the guy was looking to my face like a...with a strange kind of, like, a body language...er...almost he is closing his eyes. And he said – “Kid, when the found...when the partners here want to do social stuff, they donate money to hospitals and put their mothers’ name. Ok?” He said to me in the meeting! “So, we don’t combine this stuff here. We are here to make money.” “Ok, so let me talk about money to you!”

G: H...how big is the trend in Brazil for impact-based businesses? I mean, is this growing here as much as other countries, or are you gaining much traction? What vehicles are promoting this concept here?

P: Yeah, so we are definitely...it is definitely growing here in Brazil. Brazil is 15-20 years behind any developed country. Right? So, US, England...er...several countries in Europe. So, it’s growing. The ecosystem is still very small in Brazil, in terms of, like, the size of the companies. But every week it’s like being born...er...thousands of companies well intentioned with th...the intentionality very clear to make positive impact.

G: You’re an optimist, yeah? You believe that the world’s gonna solve these environmental problems – we’re gonna cure global warming; we’re going to clear up our plastic out the seas; we’re gonna transform our environment? Are you an optimist?

P: Er, not in this way, that you are mentioning. I believe this is damage reduction we are at already. The best case scenario of the climate change is disastrous. It’s a disaster already. I’m counting on a situation where we are...it’s damage reduction more than... And after this...this pain – because Humans need pain to evolve, er, spiritually as well – we are going to arrive, I think, in a more harmonic and balanced system. I don’t know what this system is gonna be. Definitely impact investing is not the...the only answer. We need governments regulating and doing their jobs...er...on the correct way. We need the...the private sector doing a lot because we are the most...the biggest responsible for that. Er...the revenue of Apple, for example, is the same size of the GDP of 60 countries combined. What the hell – Apple is not responsible? Of course she is responsible to...to make the planet a better place to live! And we need the third sector as well – the foundations, NGOs, institutions – acting where profit is not possible. I believe in the world, but I think that there will be much more pain than we had before, in order to arrive in a good scenario where Love is something that is...that is exercised!               


                                                                                                     End of part 2   

   

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J: So, Gee, what do you have for the guru?

G: Something very short and sweet, this week. What is the difference between rather and instead? When do use ‘rather’ and when do you use ‘instead’?

J: I think ‘rather’ is more for...er...a preference. You’re showing your preference for something. And ‘instead’ is like a...like a contrast...not a contrast but an interjection. You’re like...you’re, let’s say, giving options. Instead of ‘this’, I’ll do ‘this’.

G: Ok. Alright, that works! I mean...I mean basically they are the same, aren’t they? Um, because you are expressing a preference or you are expressing the choice that you made in terms of...um...the options that you had. So, typically, ‘rather’ is at the beginning of the sentence and ‘instead of’ often occurs at the end.

J: Ok.

G: So, you could say – “Rather than go to the beach, we decided to head for the mountains.”

J: Or – “I’ll go to the mountains instead.”

G: Yes, so – “We didn’t go to the beach. We went to the mountains instead.”  Is typically the way it works.

J: Well, you could put ‘instead’ at the beginning. Then it would be ‘instead of...’

G: Exactly. That is the alternative. And then you have to use the ‘....ing’.

J: Right.

G: ‘Instead of going to the beach, we went to the mountains.’

J: There we go.

G: But I think I agree with you. I think ‘rather’...um...expresses a preference more frequently too. Just the fact that you said ‘rather than go to the beach, we went to the mountains,’ then that kind of implies that that was your preferred choice – rather than just what you ended up doing.

J: Er, ok.

G: But...er...that’s my interpretation anyway.

J: Ok.

G: Maybe it’s different in the US?

J: Miss Elle – do you have anything to add to that? What’s the difference between ‘rather’ and ‘instead’? Ok. So she...she chooses not to comment on that.

G: She would rather not speak, yes.

L: I just don’t know what’s rather!

G: She’s taken the vow of silence instead.

J: That’s ok.

G: And that’s our guru!

J: That’s our guru.

G: And that’s Miss Elle.

J: So, that pretty much closes up another session of The Samba Buzz!

G: That is another episode in the bag.

J: That’s our Christmas edition, by the way!

G: Yes. Sorry we didn’t bring any turkey, or mince pies.

J: But we did...we did have some singing, though.

G: We had singing. Do you have mince pies in the United States?

J: No. I don’t even know what mince is, actually.

G: It’s something that we call mincemeat actually. It’s a sweet...

L: How do you not know what mince is, if you...?

J: I know what ground beef is. I don’t know minced meat – it’s the same thing.

G: Mincemeat is...um...

L: How do you not know that if you are from the United States?

J: I just never had it, Elle, that’s why.

G: Feet still. Feet still. Remember feet still. Sit in the chair would be good.

J: Yeah. Just stay in the chair. It’s difficult, six years old.

G: Of course.

J: Oh...ok.

G: Absolutely. So, Miss Elle, what is your favorite part of Christmas?

L: Spending it with my grandma, grandpas, cousins, and Dad and Mom.

J: Yeah? You like for everybody to be together.

L: Yeah.

J: And, what do you do on Christmas?

L: I get presents.

G: You get presents! What type of present are you hoping for this year? What present are you hoping for?

L: A lot of presents! I want...more a reindeer!

G: A reindeer!

J: A reindeer!

L: I like reindeer.

J: Would you like to have one out back and you can go fly around and...

L: Yes. Merry Christmas São Paulo!

J: Stop with the feet, Honey.


                                                                                          THE END