First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Christoph Baldegger: We are well, thank you! I’m so grateful that my family and company staff are healthy and safe. Due to our fantastic IT-infrastructure working from home was not an issue at all.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Bonafide.
Christoph Baldegger: To be honest…coincidence! I was trout fishing up in the mountains when the idea of establishing an asset manager focusing on fishing, aquaculture, and the entire value chain (the blue revolution) was born. After more than 20 years of investment banking, it was time to start a new chapter.
How does Bonafide innovate?
Christoph Baldegger: We launched the first investment fund globally in this sector. More than 8 years ago when nobody talked about the blue revolution and sustainability.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Christoph Baldegger: Of course, our portfolio companies have been affected negatively. The problem was not the global demand for healthy proteins; it was the logistics…all airplanes on the ground. No one expected this. The high volatility in the markets and the great uncertainties have led to a turbulent year. Fortunately, we know the management of our invested companies well. This has enabled us to quickly find innovative solutions. Our international network also helped us a lot in this. For us, company visits and visits to our investors from all over the world are very important. Unfortunately, most of the traveling was not possible this year. However, digitalization has made it possible for us to stay in regular contact by video call. Nevertheless, we hope that we can travel again soon.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Christoph Baldegger: The first lesson learned: expect the unexpected.
The second lesson learned: invest in healthy balance sheets and smart management, which can handle problems and special situations.
The most difficult thing for us was the uncertainty about how the covid-19 pandemic will continue. In the meantime, we are largely reassured.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Christoph Baldegger: I’m quite a positive human… don’t stress about things you can’t control by yourself.
Also important are work-life balance, family, nature, and sport.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Christoph Baldegger: There are only a few smaller competitors but focusing more on venture and private investments. This year, our sector has received more attention. We see this as a very positive development. The good future prospects speak for themselves.
Your final thoughts?
Christoph Baldegger: We are at the beginning of the blue revolution. 71% of the earth is covered with water, the most underutilized resource when it comes to sustainable food production.
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