Stephen’s first experience with impact investing dates back to 2002, when, after 27 years of working with the family business, the concepts of venture philanthropy and social investing caught his attention. Having thoroughly researched the sector, Stephen launched Andromeda in 2003, the first bottom of the pyramid (BoP) private equity fund. It was funded by Cofra, the Brenninkmeijer family’s holding company.
Andromeda invested in seven businesses that ranged from social finance and microcredit platforms serving BoP markets to an innovative drug delivery and vaccination company based in Norway and a mobile telephone network in rural East Africa.
In 2007, Stephen created Willows Investments, using his personal assets to fund and support promising ventures with a social mission.