We are on a mission to alleviate unneeded human suffering by initiating and investing in approaches that increase mental wellness.
We believe that mental wellness is a fundamental right, and a prerequisite for living an optimal, happy, and fulfilling life. That’s why we want to make the most effective approaches for nurturing a healthy and resilient mind widely available. So that billions live life.
At Masawa, we do not merely deploy capital, we nurture it. Through a holistic investment approach, we enhance financial returns with our unique focus on founder resilience, organizational health, and social impact maximization.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
of people in the world are experiencing one or more mental or substance use disorders
The yearly cost of lost productivity in the EU due to mental illness — (i.e. 4% of GDP)
of people in Africa with mental illness that do not receive treatment
deaths among 15 to 19-year-olds in the EU are caused by intentional self harm
While these numbers are striking, they also tell us that we’re all in this together.
Just as we experience challenges with our physical well-being, we all sometimes grapple with our mental well-being. Occasionally, we feel down, overwhelmed by something that’s happening in our lives, or unable to cope with the struggles that daily life throws at us. But without appropriate care and attention, these struggles can accumulate, and our mental wellness runs the risk of decaying into mental illness.
Dear Fellow Humans:
For most of my life, I’ve dealt with depression, anxiety, and addiction. The voices in my head, the constant nagging, and rumination seemed only to be quieted by the dopamine kick gained from consuming unnatural amounts of shitty food and alcohol. Most only knew my accomplishments, my breadth of experience, humor, and knack for languages. An expert at curating an amazing narrative, few saw my true unhappiness.
I tried antidepressants and psychotherapy, both important to giving me the space I needed to come to terms with and start exploring the causes of my mental illness, many rooted in a rough childhood being raised on welfare by a loving single mother who had her own battles with depression and alcoholism, but I was far from being whole.
In early 2018, after tipping the scales above 300lbs / 136kgs and having hit rock bottom three times in the past two years, something had to be done. I started studying non-mainstream and holistic approaches to achieving mental wellness and began incorporating good nutrition, meditation, and exercise into my daily life. Slowly, the brain fog lifted, the weight dropped, and the joy of living returned!
It took me 35 years to realize that mental illness had always affected me, and another five to learn how to cope. That’s far too long, but for many, it takes a lifetime. Unacceptable. I founded Masawa to change that.
By nurturing capital to nurture minds, we invest for financial returns with a focus on maximizing impact while not losing sight of founders’ and companies’ mental healths.
We hope you’ll join us, so that billions live life.
Managing partner, Masawa
Although our minds are vulnerable, with the right interventions and care, we can strengthen and protect them with a shield of resilience.
We want to help people on their journey to nurturing a more resilient and healthier mind. We are on a mission to enable billions to flourish and live life to the fullest as healthy, and well-functioning members of their families, communities, and society. How?
As the world’s only mental wellness impact fund, we invest in promising founders who are fundamentally shifting how mental wellness is understood and attained, by providing evidence-driven, ambitious, and innovative solutions.
We focus on three proven investment areas:
At Masawa, we are dedicated to creating meaningful, large-scale social impact. We realize that in order to transform mental wellness on a societal level, we must first ensure that the founding teams we support are mentally well and resilient.
Our unique investment philosophy aligns our laser focus on founder resilience and organizational health with our commitment to create an ever-growing social impact and deliver above market-rate financial returns.
Transforming mental wellness on a societal level starts within. We support founders on their journeys towards better mental wellness and help their organizations increase resilience.
Impact metrics are co-created with each investee and used to guide business decisions. The focus on demonstrable positive social impact strengthens founders’ organizations, maximizes social impact, and attracts other investors and opportunities.
There is a vast opportunity to make meaningful social change without compromising on substantial financial returns. Our distinctive approach to measurable impact and organizational health allows us to work closely with each investee to generate tremendous returns, both financial and social.
We partner with founders and teams revolutionizing the mental wellness space and who share our focus on building a healthy organization that is set up to make a difference.
Masawa’s holistic investment approach is guided the three dimensions we believe are critical to success: economic logic, a vision of social impact, and the organizational health to make it happen.
As we get to know you and your business, our aim is to best assess our mutual fit. The journey with us consists of the following:
Expression of Interest
Express your interest in partnering with Masawa, open to anyone. We don’t differentiate based on personal introductions or cold submissions. We’ll do our best to keep you updated.
If we’re a good match, we’ll conduct an initial assessment that looks at the three dimensions that Masawa values: economics, social impact, and organizational health. Key components include:
Result: Mutual decision about fit. Are you convinced Masawa could be the right partner for you and your team? Are we excited about you, your vision, and business, and how we can help you succeed?
We will conduct deep dive into:
These conversations provide the groundwork for planning Masawa’s Nurture Capital (non-monetary) support to founders and their teams, which are laid out in an Impact Management Plan.
Result: Impact Management Plan drafted, term sheet & deal closed.
Our unique support to investees through our Nurture Capital approach centers on the internal and external impact of an investee. The priorities for support, the specific services and activities Masawa will provide, as well as the expectations of the investee, are agreed upon together and outlined in the Impact Management Plan (“IMP”). The IMP is a living document that will be periodically revisited and updated, as your business evolves.
The initial IMP guides us as we start working together, set up regular check-ins and help troubleshoot along the way.
Result: Increased organizational resilience, maximized social impact + financial return.
Transforming global mental wellness is a serious, long-term devotion, and an ambitious purpose we can’t achieve alone. We partner with investees, co-investors, topical experts, and the larger ecosystem in order to unlock the full potential of our approach and scale social impact.
While we are deeply committed to doing our part, we, above all, need you. We need you to speak up when the people around you feel speechless. And to be a listening ear for those who feel unheard. Because to become more mentally well together, as a society, we must first find support and comfort in one another. Mental wellness can’t exist in the absence of compassion, authenticity, and mutual connection.
In addition to our own personal motivations, our belief in and commitment to these values is a tireless source of guidance and encouragement, and contributes to a profound purpose we all share at Masawa: to enable billions of people to live life to the fullest.
Behold our unique team of proud Masawis: supported by a powerful advisory board composed of leaders and experts in their fields. Each member has a specific beneficiary focus.
Masawa’s investment approach and how we aspire to show up as a team flow directly from our values and guiding principles.
We show up with honesty, genuineness, openness, and self-awareness, both in who we are and how we are, with ourselves and others.
We recognize each person as the whole being they are, and where they are at in a given moment. We are moved to support each other’s well-being, both within Masawa and the wider community.
We value diversity of thought, experience, origin, person, and being. We actively work to uncover our blindspots and biases and to dismantle barriers faced by others on their path to self-actualization.
We are each responsible and accountable for our actions and work, but more importantly for Masawa’s results collectively. We work proactively to problem-solve and support needs in the team, regardless of where we see them.
We believe all work must grow the capabilities of ourselves, and those we work with. We are humble about what we know, learn from our mistakes, and continuously strive to deepen our knowledge and understanding of our work and the world around us.
We cannot do this alone, we are not in this alone. We draw energy from being part of a greater whole, from working together, and believe that only through this are we able to achieve our goals, and to lift up others along the way.
Impact is our North Star.
Access to mental health is a right for all. We rigorously question whether what we and our investees do is in service of the most significant impact possible, with the recognition that impact has many faces, and is achieved through multiple pathways.
We take a systems approach.
Our work in both impact investing and mental health interconnects with countless other systems. We understand that we are nested in larger living systems, and can only achieve our goals of meaningful change if we understand this interconnectedness and approach our work through this lens.
We question and innovate transparently.
We don’t settle for the status quo. We don’t have all the answers, and through inquiry, (un)learning, and a courageous openness to novelty and uncertainty, we continuously upgrade our understanding. In the spirit of learning, continual improvement, and maximizing our impact, we are committed to openness and transparency in our processes and frameworks.
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