Bonus Episode – Stephan Breban – Private Equity, Africa and the Power of One
Stephan Brebon

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.I have been keen to get Stephan on the podcast for some time, because I knew that his years of industry insight and reputation for straight talking and calling “a spade a spade” when it comes to difficult topics would make for a refreshing and insightful conversation. And he did not disappoint.This sweeping conversation took us from his internship in an actuarial firm that he started at the tender age of 14, through his years as an actuary and then investment consultant and how he became one of the first private equity specialists in this area decades ago. We dive into why private equity makes sense for investors – institutional and high net work alike – and how he would approach constructing a portfolio today. As a seasoned investor Stephan has seen a few fund failures and debacles in this arena and we talk through the lessons learned there too.We then move to the area of investing in Africa – long an area of expertise for Stephan, and explore why so many investors skip the onsite due diligence part and therefore fail to fully understand the opportunity in this area. We finish with our usual discussion of diversity in the profession and what can be done to address it.  Stephan, again, does not hold back in his prescription for change and progress.