David Hutchings recently retired from Albourne Americas where he was most recently Partner Emeritus having spent over 14 years at the firm where he founded the private equity research practice when he joined. He previously held a range of senior private equity roles in a career that spanned over 50 years.
Robert Finkel has had an over 30 year career in investing and provided capital and support to over 40 companies through equity and investment funds under the firm Prism. He wrote the book The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital featuring 10 of the US’s most notable venture capital and private equity investor.
When I met Robert he was experimenting late into the night with his botanic craft brew at home, and in 2014 he launched a botanic craft brew under the name Forbidden Root in Chicago, and opened restaurant/brewery operations in Chicago and Columbus OH. Now assuming the title of Rootmaster, he combines this with his investment career.
Stephan Breban is Head of Research at Renewity, the Founder of Giants Shoulders Capital and a consultant to a number of different firms. He is known as one of London’s original (and legendary) private equity investors and advisors and has witnessed some of the good, the bad and the ugly of that the sector presents. We had the pleasure of working together, side by side in our own entrepreneurial ventures, for over a decade.
A vast discussion that touches on the African investment opportunity as well as the challenges of private equity today and how to address the diversity problem.
Adam Demuyakor of Wilshire Lane Capital – On Ghost Kitchens, Self Storage and other Prop Tech Opportunities
Adam Demuyakor is the founder and managing partner at Wilshire Lane Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm that focuses on PropTech solutions based in Los Angeles California. Born in the US to a family originally from Ghana, Adam started out on Wall Street in investment banking and held a number of private equity and venture capital roles before found in Wilshire Lane. He also holds a number of Board roles and is a Board of Trustee of the education nonprofit 9 Dots.
Eric Idiahi is co-founder and a partner of Verod Capital, a private equity firm based in Lagos, which he founded in 2008. He is Chairman of the Board of Tangerine Africa as well as Eleva Group and holds a number of Non Executive Director positions. He was previously a Managing Parter of FountainHead Media Group as well as a Financial Derivatives Company.
Our conversation traces Eric’s move to the US where he completed his high school and university education and what drove his decision to move back to Nigeria. This was an exciting time, and we look at some of the surprising aspects of re-integration – and how the fact that he wasn’t married initially was relevant.
Bonus Episode – Adam Demuyakor of Wilshire Lane Capital – On Ghost Kitchens, Self Storage and other Prop Tech Opportunities
Adam Demuyakor is the founder and managing partner at Wilshire Lane Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm that focuses on PropTech solutions based in Los Angeles California. Born in the US to a family originally from Ghana, Adam started out on Wall Street in investment banking and held a number of private equity and venture capital roles before found in Wilshire Lane. He also holds a number of Board roles and is a Board of Trustee of the education nonprofit 9 Dots.Our conversation starts with his family roots, and the expectations that accompanied his schooling and career choices. We hear how he came to be interested in real estate and how he gained experience in both the private and public side of the business, and ultimately the vision with which he launched his own firm. This is an opportunity for our discussion to dive into PropTech and discuss what the technology that is transforming real estate looks like, and how these theses are playing out. Among some of the concepts discussed are Ghost Kitchens and the new look Self Storage outfits, and we discuss some of the business models that are exciting him most at this juncture.As an early stage venture capital firm, Wilshire Lane Capital, is highly focused on the entrepreneurs and their vision that they support, and many of them are diverse founders themselves. In fact in an industry in which female and black and brown founders are poorly represented, Wilshire Lane is breaking the mould – 36% of their companies are led by women outright, 29% of their companies have a black founder on them, and 79% of their companies have an underrepresented minority or a female in the C suite. Wilshire Lane Capital recently entered into a strategic partnership with Nile Capital which sponsored our original diverse founders and VCs series, and we speak about how these ideas came together. We speak about 9 Dots, a nonprofit, based in Los Angeles, that focuses on providing subsidized computer science courses for the poorest students in the city. Adam shares why this is one of the most fulfilling of all of his roles. Finally, we discuss some highs and lows of his career so far, what Adam looks for in a founder and what it means to pass the “Shower Test”. This podcast will feature in our mini-series featuring professionals from the Ghanaian diaspora as well as our second diverse founders and venture capitalist series.
Johara Farhadieh is Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of The Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI), in which she oversees a $20 bn defined benefit fund and a $5 bn dollar defined contribution plan with over 150,000 beneficiaries. She has been at ISBI for over 13 years, and prior to that was a financial analyst. She was named an All-Star Chief Investment Officer by Trusted Insight and ISBI was ranked number one in private equity returns among public pension funds in 2020 by the American Investment Council.
A story about resilience and a refusal to accept “no” for an answer when it comes to building diversity in an institutional portfolio.
Leon Brujis is a Partner a Palladium Equity Partners, a private equity firm, headquartered in NYC. The firm is focused on making investments in middle market companies with a special focus on partnering with founders and family-owned businesses, and a particular focus on the Latinx consumer. He has held a number of board roles, and is currently on the Board of New America Alliance, a not for profit organization committed to building on American Latino success to forge a Stronger America.
A packed look-back at a global education and career and a generous dollop of inter-generational advice.
Rendel Solomon, who recently worked in a Chicago-based private equity firm, is a leading voice for diversity in finance. He is the founder of the One Stock One Future, an initiative which aims to turn one million youth into public company shareholders. He serves on the Board of NASP and West Side Forward, and he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Latin School, which he himself attended.
A discussion of a remarkable journey into finance, and a pivot to ensure better equity and representation for all.
Tom Soto is Founder and Managing Partner at Diverse Communities Impact Fund, a Los Angeles based private equity fund focused on making impactful investments in local communities, which he founded in 2018. He has had a long career in asset management, and an expansive portfolio of board and committee roles, with a particular focus on raising the profile of the American Latino community.
A legend in the Latino community in LA, Tom Soto talks lovingly about his heritage and the state of representation of Latinos in the profession today.