Entrepreneurship is when Liberal Arts hit the pavement

At the end of 2015, I randomly came across a PBS special that was debating the value of the growing number of entrepreneurship-based learning programs at Liberal Arts Colleges. I learned about the MiddCore program at Middlebury College from this special. MiddCore is a mentor-driven, experiential learning program where students build solutions to real lifeContinue reading “Entrepreneurship is when Liberal Arts hit the pavement”

Growth equity – The base case doesn’t cut it anymore

Yesterday, Pitchbook published a series of charts summarizing the state of private equity in the US. The basic message was how cutthroat the industry is becoming. The key points I picked up from the article are summarized in my somewhat gloomy tweet below: I haven’t delved into the full report, but I’d be interested toContinue reading “Growth equity – The base case doesn’t cut it anymore”

Carpentry, Masonry, and… Private Equity

Private equity is an apprenticeship. As a young practitioner at a start-up, I spend a decent amount of time picking the brains of the many grey-haired executives that have made their mark in the industry. I try to ask variations of the same questions to each investor so I can tally their responses. Below isContinue reading “Carpentry, Masonry, and… Private Equity”

Reflecting on 2016 – Gifts, lessons and opportunities

I intended to share this post closer to the beginning of the year. I wasn’t able to because my post marathon recovery and subsequent planning for 2017 took much longer than expected. However, better late than never. In 2007, I adopted a framework to reflect on the previous year and to (sort of) assess theContinue reading “Reflecting on 2016 – Gifts, lessons and opportunities”

Startups & Teenagers – The curious case of Benjamin Button

A few weeks ago, my brother completed high school! His graduation was the culmination of a personal “no-sibling-left-behind” mission that I set to help my siblings attend college. My brother moved in with me “fresh-off-the-boat” right after I graduated from business school. I assumed guardianship of a teenager when most of my friends were settingContinue reading “Startups & Teenagers – The curious case of Benjamin Button”

Hurdle rates – If the bar is too low it might be a trap

Recently, I was considering investing in a business whose brand I really like. The capital structure was unique because although young, the company had been funded through a very low-interest loan from an angel investor. Maturity for the loan was approaching in six months and the investor refused to extend the term. The company desperatelyContinue reading “Hurdle rates – If the bar is too low it might be a trap”

Scalability – Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it will grow

Starting in 2004, I spent a few years tracking the promising story of Freddy Adu. Freddy, then a “14” year old phenomenon, and widely tipped to be the next big thing in soccer, became the youngest athlete ever to sign a professional soccer contract. He was drafted by D.C. United. United made a bet thatContinue reading “Scalability – Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it will grow”

Trade spend effectiveness – It’s easy to get in through the back, but hard to get out through the front

Recently, I attended a conference on investing in food and nutrition companies at the University Club. One of the panelists dropped the statement above. It was catchy so I dwelt on it for a while on the train ride back home. I wanted to share my notes. Trade spend is a blanket term for allContinue reading “Trade spend effectiveness – It’s easy to get in through the back, but hard to get out through the front”

Operating leverage – Benefits are for closers, the rest get slaughtered

Back in the day when analysts were still getting paid in investment banking, a friend decided to “invest” in a $80,000 Porsche. His reason was to “use this baby to woo and close on a wife asap then hopefully afford car payments on a dual income.” Those who know me well also know how IContinue reading “Operating leverage – Benefits are for closers, the rest get slaughtered”