Gemma is one of our Principals based in London. She was previously a COO and angel investor and is especially passionate about climate tech, health tech, marketplaces, and logistics.
I grew up as the oldest child of four in a suburb of Utrecht in the Netherlands. My dad was a librarian and my mom worked for a charity organization. Since I can remember I loved reading and got the main education of my childhood out of books for which I was actually too young to read. I used to borrow 20 books at a time from our local library and read 10 a week. My mum is handicapped and dependent on a wheelchair; I learned from her what resilience means in light of adversity - that everything that’s worth striving for is hard to achieve and requires sacrifice, and that nothing good ever comes easily. But I also learned to have optimism about knowing that most of painful things are temporary.
Gemma, Fredrik, Michelle and Beata in London
When I was 15 I decided that I wanted to study at a top-tier US university. Nobody in my family nor from my high school ever studied in the US so I needed to figure it out by myself. After two years of working nonstop on my application while all my friends were doing the normal stuff you do at that age, I got accepted into Yale. And I was the happiest 17-year-old in the Netherlands.
Gemma with the Packfleet team
The following years were shaped by an ultimate learning journey. I felt that at Yale, I learned how to think. At McKinsey, I learned how to analyze and strategize. And at Uber and Elder, I learned how to implement, get sh*t done and be an effective leader. Nothing was the same but it filled my bigger picture of how to build and shape the companies of tomorrow.
Gemma and Iris building their ice sculpture
My parents did an incredibly good job in raising my siblings and me with a social responsibility mindset which remains one of my driving forces today. I want to spend my time and effort to have a positive impact on the world and build an environment where I can let my kids with good conscience grow up.
Gemma and Michelle
As an institutional investor, I have the privilege to back the companies that make a difference in the future of our society. Working together with founders who have integrity, resilience, and exceptional quality in every detail of their company is one of the greatest pleasures in my daily work.