Cathay Capital Welcomes GreenTech Leader Matthieu van der Elst as Chief Impact Officer

December 15, 2020

Global investment platform Cathay Capital reinforces its commitment to ESG and Impact by creating the role of Chief Impact Officer. The new role will be led by Matthieu van der Elst, who joins Cathay with an exceptional track record in developing sustainable innovative technologies and business models as former CEO of Michelin Ventures. 

15 years after its inception, Cathay Capital – a pioneering global investment platform focused on helping companies at all stages navigate the opportunities of globalization and sustainable transformation across the world – continues to reinvent itself and to address new challenges with the appointment of Matthieu van der Elst as Chief Impact Officer.

Matthieu van der Elst joins Cathay as part of an integrated entrepreneurial project aimed at assessing, measuring, consolidating and developing Cathay Capital’s ESG footprint and impact strategy, as a firm and in cooperation with its portfolio companies, LPs and corporate partners. The global role covers all geographies in which the Cathay Capital group operates including North America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Mingpo Cai, Founder and President of Cathay Capital, said: “Cathay Capital’s fundamental value is to be useful stewards to our ecosystem and society as a whole. While impact has always been core to who we are as an active investor across four continents, it’s critical to ensure we are contributing to sustaining solutions to the world’s pressing challenges from climate change and scarcity of resources to social equity and inclusion. We are honored by Matthieu’s choice to join our team to help address these challenges and drive positive change, which will further reinforce Cathay’s usefulness.”

Matthieu van der Elst, Chief Impact Officer at Cathay Capital, added: “Having worked with Cathay as CEO of Michelin Ventures and an active LP in Cathay Innovation’s fund, I’ll be joining a team I know well and which already has a fantastic track record in investing in companies that stand out for their sustainable growth potential. As Chief Impact Officer, I’m looking forward to working together with the team, entrepreneurs, corporate and institutional investors, to accelerate the digitization and scale-up of GreenTech and Circular Economy companies. Cathay is a unique platform to reach innovative positive impact, not only tangible but exponential.”

Denis Barrier, co-Founder of Cathay Innovation, said: “At a time when digitalization is accelerating and achieving scale, venture capital and the wider investment landscape must now adopt a framework that integrates risk, return and impact all at the same time. The transition to a sustainable economy and societal change is challenging us all to scale tech-enabled solutions faster, at a worldwide level. With the support of our platform, we are very pleased to welcome Matthieu to the Cathay team to lead this innovation initiative and tackle these opportunities and challenges head-on.”


About Matthieu van der Elst

Prior to joining Cathay Capital, Matthieu van der Elst was CEO of Michelin Ventures, the Venture Capital arm for the Michelin Group, which he founded in 2015 with the goal of identifying, understanding and supporting startups developing sustainable innovative technologies and new business models in the materials and mobility arena. Matthieu joined the Michelin Group in 2008 to head several functions throughout France, China and globally. Previously, he spent 12 years as a consultant, for PWC and WPP among others, always with a focus on strategy and innovation. He graduated from the ISC Business School in Paris.

About Cathay Capital Group

Cathay Capital Group is a global investment firm supporting companies at all stages throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. By helping navigate the opportunities of globalization and sustainable transformation, Cathay is the partner of choice for companies aspiring to lead markets and make a positive impact. Its global platform connects people – from investors and entrepreneurs to management teams and leading corporations – across continents to share knowledge, the tools to scale, and achieve the extraordinary. Founded in 2007 with a strong entrepreneurial heritage, Cathay Capital now manages nearly $4B in assets, has completed over 150 buyouts, growth and venture capital investments with the global reach and local expertise from offices in Paris, New York, Shanghai, Munich, San Francisco, Beijing and Singapore.

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About Cathay Innovation

Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital partnership, created in affiliation with Cathay Capital, investing in startups at the center of digital revolution across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Its global platform unifies technology investment across continents, investors, entrepreneurs and leading corporations to accelerate startup growth with access to new markets, invaluable industry knowledge and introductions to potential partners from the start. As a multistage fund with over $1.5 billion assets under management and offices across San Francisco, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore, Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs and startups positively impacting the world through technology.

To learn more, please visit or follow us on Twitter @Cathayinnov.