In the media

Interview with Yvan Renaud, CEO of Symbiotics Investments

June 3, 2024

Symbiotics: Making a difference through private debt solutions in emerging markets
Since our inception in 2005, Symbiotics has been at the forefront of impact investing, pioneering sustainable development in emerging and frontier markets. Going beyond financial returns, Symbiotics creates investment solutions that generate tangible, positive impact in many of the emerging market communities where it operates.

How to foster change through a dual-focus approach for investors?
Yvan Renaud, CEO of Symbiotics Investments, explains: “Our approach revolves around offering to our professional clients the opportunity to invest in financial institutions that address key impact themes such as women’s entrepreneurship or clean mobility. We have also developed an offer of direct investments in innovative companies or projects that are redefining the future of entire sectors with direct impact, such as fintechs and agtechs or companies active in clean energy technologies. This dual-focus strategy ensures that investments not only generate solid financial returns but also have a measurable positive impact on society and the environment. By providing clients with direct insight into the impact of their investments, we ensure that every dollar contributes to meaningful and sustainable growth.

How to source investment opportunities that generate the most impact? The crucial role of field experts
Yvan Renaud highlights the critical role played by Symbiotics’ dedicated team of field experts. “Our extensive network of field experts and analysts in the regions is essential to identify the most valuable investment opportunities and ensures that meet the expectations of our clients in terms of impact goals and financial return. Our deep market penetration over more than two decades is a testimony of our commitment to contribute to a sustainable future.

Is social impact versus financial return always a trade-Off?
There is this belief that financial returns and social or environmental impact are mutually exclusive but our experiences shows that it is not the case. At Symbiotics, we offer bespoke investment opportunities with an average commitment period of three to four years, providing an interesting risk/return profile. Our debt instruments directly compete with traditional investments, but they do so while bringing in addition that essential component of positive social or environmental impact.

Are there innovation fields in impact finance? The role of Fintechs and Agri & Food Techs
Innovation is shaping the investment landscape in tomorrow’s emerging markets. With the exponential growth in mobile technology adoption, fintechs and agri & food techs are at the forefront of this transformation. Another area of rapid growth is clean energy. Recognizing their indispensable role, Symbiotics Investments has strategically positioned itself on these booming sectors. “Our commitment goes beyond the present; it’s about providing professional investors with opportunities for the future. These investments are not only beneficial today; they are poised for future growth, aligning financial prosperity with positive change.

What’s next? The future of Impact Investing
The need for impact investments is huge and there is a whole lot of attractive opportunities to respond to this need. Looking ahead, Symbiotics is poised to continue its mission of increasing impact through targeted private debt solutions and catalyzing transformative change in emerging market communities around the world.

In summary, Symbiotics Investments serves as a catalyst for change, contributing to bridge the gap between financial prosperity and measurable impact, and we will continue to do it in the future.


Portrait photo Yvan Renaud

Yvan joined Symbiotics in 2005. Prior to this, he worked for BlueOrchard Finance where he was the Chief Operations Officer. Before this, he was a microfinance consultant in Peru and a small enterprise consultant in Western Africa, and he worked as a fund accountant at Capital International in Geneva. Yvan holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Geneva and a master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics.

For the French version of this article, please visit Sphere.Swiss.
Article also available in German.