How Verlinvest and Who Gives A Crap Are Disrupting For Good
In nine years, Australian ethical toilet paper brand Who Gives a Crap has made more than $20 million in profits, and donated half of that to non-profit partners working on clean water and sanitation projects. In the 2020 financial year, Who Gives a Crap donated a record $5.85 million, a boost of 750% on the previous year.
Co-Founder & CEO, Who Gives a Crap
Simon is the Co-Founder and CEO of Who Gives A Crap, a profit-for-purpose toilet paper company that donates 50% of its profits to help build toilets in the developing world.
Driven by a passion to use business to give back, in 2010, Simon had the idea to start a toilet paper company that builds toilets in the developing world. In 2012, he launched Who Gives A Crap with a crowdfunding campaign, which he will tell you more about. Since then, Who Gives A Crap has grown at 2-3x year-on-year, relying on word-of-mouth as its main driver of growth.
Executive Director, Verlinvest
Born and raised in Paris (France), Raphael’s family moved out to Abidjan (Ivory Coast) at the age of 15, an eye-opening overseas experience which sadly ended up with a coup, his first lockdown (beat you there COVID) and ultimately an army rescue.
He then studied finance at IEP Sciences Po Paris (and UCLA), from which he graduated in 2008, right after Lehman Brothers went bust. It encouraged him to stay away from large banks and he instead joined a newly-formed M&A boutique with a strong challenger mindset (Leonardo & Co., sold later to Houlihan Lokey). Raphael learnt fantastic skills there, from craft dealmaking to mastering all excel shortcuts.
But that was nothing compared to his desire to learn how to build truly outstanding brands and exponentially grow businesses in a global context. And so he joined Verlinvest, and his last eight years there have taught him just that. They strive to help entrepreneurs innovate, solve problems, bring value and joy to consumers anywhere they can, to deliver on their mission.
Today Raphael oversees Verlinvest’s Asia operations, and he serves (or has served) on the Boards of multiple Verlinvest portfolio companies in the Digital Consumer, Food & Beverage, Health & Care and Education sectors. He’s particularly excited to lead their global Digital practice, where they constantly look for new digitally-savvy brands that will use technology to improve the lives and journeys of customers across the globe.
One of his favourite quotes, which he finds true every day, in life or business: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”.