Connector

Erik de Stefanis

Erik is NY born and raised, moved to Sweden at the age of 13, and holds 3 citizenships. His time living in Sweden was, for the most part, split between the capital city of Stockholm, as well as a smaller city in the northern part of the country, above the Arctic circle. He recently relocated back to NYC where he now works with a NYC based firm which invests in early-stage startups. Erik is outgoing, very well-traveled, and down to earth. He enjoys socializing, spending time outdoors, and short weekend trips to escape the city every now and then.

Describe the Impact of a Project you’re focused on.

The firm that I work for invests in early-stage startups from a variety of sectors/industries. Recently, we invested in a woman-founded ice cream company. Today, this brand of ice cream can be found across the country in, among other chains, Whole Foods. Less than 3% of VC and angel funding is allocated towards companies that are founded by and run by women. This is not a great statistic, but fortunately it is changing in the right direction. I take great pride in the fact that the company for which I work helps all different types of founders realize their dreams, but this example in particular stands-out a little bit extra due to the brand's and the founder's history. Having been part of a company that helped this founder realize her dream has been very humbling, and I am very pleased that I had the opportunity to play a part in this.

What results do you hope for when the impact is amplified?

I know that by supporting this specific company, we and I have played a role in changing the statistic that I mentioned above. I hope that this trend of increasing funding for woman founders continues - I am very confident that it will. There are increasingly more firms which only invest in woman founded startups, and I admire that they have taken such stances. My ambition is to run my own VC fund, and focus on investments which will do good for society.

What do you have to offer as a connector? What can you give as expertise to others?

Several years ago I started my own company within the consumer product space. We brought our idea to market, raised funds, etc. Now I'm on the other side of the table - the investing side. I can offer help to founders who are early in their ventures or ideas in the form of advice, connections, possibly funding. I have also worked with a Swedish marketing agency, both in the US and Sweden. Via this I can help brands connect with some very high profile influencers should they need that for marketing purposes. In addition to the above, I can tell you about all the beautiful places you should visit in Sweden, I can teach you how to bake traditional Swedish pastries, and more!
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