We recently sat down with former Root Capital board member Matt Patsky, CEO of Boston-based Trillium Asset Management LLC, as part of our 15 Voices interview series. Matt served on the Root Capital board from 2004-2011 and currently serves on our Audit Committee.
Root Capital: When did you first encounter Root Capital?
I first heard about Root Capital back when it was called “EcoLogic Finance.” I knew someone who was working there – Root Capital’s fifth employee ever – who thought I’d be a great fit for the board of directors. Willy gave me the pitch, and I signed on shortly thereafter. The six-year period that I served on the board was a time of transition and transformation for Root Capital, and it’s been amazing to see how much the organization has grown. I remember when the annual disbursement was around $8 million and there were fewer than 10 employees!*
(*Note: This year alone, Root Capital has loaned more than $90 million to 200+ small and growing businesses, thanks to our amazing team around the globe!)
Root Capital: Why have you been involved with Root Capital?
Right away, I saw that Willy was taking a very smart, pragmatic and market-based approach to agricultural finance. I knew that there was a great opportunity to provide the “missing middle” with access to finance, and Willy’s plan made sense to me. At the time, there were a number of microfinance institutions focused on poverty alleviation, but there wasn’t a financial solution for the cooperatives that were too small for traditional bank loans and too large for the microfinance institutions. It seemed like an obvious opportunity with a huge need.
Root Capital: What is one word that summarizes Root Capital in your mind? Can you share a story from your relationship with Root that reflects that word?
Effective. Going into the field for the first time with Root Capital and realizing how effective the organization’s approach to alleviating rural poverty can be is an experience that will stay with me my whole life.
Root Capital: What excites you most about what Root Capital can achieve in the next 15 years?
I’m looking forward to seeing Root Capital’s demonstration effect on the market. The objective is for Root Capital not to be unique and to bring more mainstream players into this space. I look forward to seeing what Root Capital can do to catalyze the industry.