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Nordic impact investor Summa Equity sets eyes on US with new California office 

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Published: 16 August 2022

The SDG-focused manager of Europe’s largest impact fund is opening an office in Palo Alto, their first outside Europe, which will initially focus on healthcare investments

Hannah Jacobsen, Summa Equity: “Summa has never been bound to its Nordic roots in the companies we work with. Our strategy is non-geographical, non-sector, and non-asset class specific.” | Photo provided by Summa Equity

Summa Equity, managers of Europe’s largest impact fund, have announced the opening of an office in Palo Alto in California this month. With two offices in Stockholm and Oslo and a recently opened office in Munich, this is the impact manager’s fourth office and its first in North America. 

Speaking to Impact Investor, Hannah Jacobsen, chief operations officer and head of investor relations, explained the decision to open a US office was driven partly by the fact that four of the firm’s existing portfolio companies were US-based. “We also see a pool of talent, industry knowledge and companies that we want to tap into,” she said. 

Summa founder and managing partner Reynir Indahl, added: “Summa has never been bound to its Nordic roots in the companies we work with. Our strategy is non-geographical, non-sector, and non-asset class specific. Opening a West Coast office is an extension of this approach. We are not just looking at American companies, but looking to attract and work with some of the world’s leading minds on how we can transform the world.” 

Summa, which says its primary focus is on advancing the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has made 23 investments so far, across its three fund portfolios, including five in its third and largest €2.3bn impact fund (Fund III).  

To date, Suma’s Fund III remains Europe’s largest impact fund. The US team will focus on adding investments in the healthcare sector to its existing portfolio, which includes companies such as Norway-based smart energy company Tibber, Netherlands-based online auction platform  TBAuctions, and Belgium-based financial transaction insight engine Intix

Changing demographics and healthcare

The US team will be led by three of the firm’s partners – Tommi Unkuri, Gustavo Salem and Nick Roelofs, and joined by a number of Summa staff including investment director Anna Ryrberg. 

All three partners and Ryrberg are also part of the ‘changing demographics’ theme-focused team, one of the firm’s three investment themes. The other themes are ‘resource efficiency’ and ‘technology-enabled transformation’.  

Led by Unkuri, the ‘changing demographics’ team focuses on understanding the challenges facing the healthcare sector and tries to identify the transformative and innovative solutions that can improve healthcare. 

The company explained the decision to focus on healthcare was driven by “the exponential technological advancements and innovations that were rapidly expanding what is possible”, which in turn was “creating fundamentally new avenues for impacting health and improving patient outcomes”.  

Jacobsen said he US office would prioritise investment into the healthcare sector as a starting point but that other themes would be considered in the future. 

She explained the firm’s investment thesis and strategy were founded in the core idea that the global challenges the world faced were also great investment opportunities.  

“We start with the problems, in the healthcare space these are the variable quality of care, unmet patient needs, and rising healthcare costs, we find and invest in companies that can be part of the solution to these challenges, and we ensure and opt for positive impact when enabling innovation and scale-up by embedding the UNs Sustainable Development Goals into the strategy,” she said. 

Summa partner and US lead Tommi Unkuri added: “In leading the changing demographics theme at Summa, we are seeking transformative companies that will deliver positive outcomes for communities across the globe and enable people to prosper. Such businesses typically deliver sustainable growth and achieve continued long-term success, whilst creating value for the wider public.” 

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