Excelling in growth equity can be ambiguous particularly during the middle years of one’s career. Investment horizons can extend up to seven even ten years so the outcome of a particular investment may not be well known until after a decade capital was invested. Or, if an investor has a few stellar exits, where does that place her/him in his field among peers?
Parallels are often drawn between sport and business since many of the attributes that makes one successful in sport are often the same in business.
Take for example Rafael Nadal, the top ranked men’s tennis player who recently won the U.S. Open for the third time. Currently 31, he won his first Grand Slam, the French Open, at the age of 19 and since then he has dominated the sport with a total of sixteen Grand Slam titles. What makes him great?
Nadal’s greatness at its core is in his desire to compete moment by moment; the results (winning tournaments) are a byproduct of his desire. In a press conference, Nadal stated “I love the competition, not only in tennis, but I love the competition in all aspects of life. When I compete I love to be there and fight always. Maybe I like more to fight for a win than to win.”
Nadal’s satisfaction comes from doing the work and being engaged in the process. In a New York Times piece, Nadal states “I promise you, I don’t get up in the morning thinking about being No. 1. I get up in the morning thinking that I’ve got a match, and I need to try to play as well as I possibly can.”
It’s this mindset that works in growth equity as well. Having dealt with hundreds of investors through the years, a few markedly stand out and exhibit rare qualities not seen in the hundreds of others.
These few bring their full attention to each moment, show clarity of thought and are decisive and precise. Moreover, they are consistent – always. Consistent in their attention to detail, consistent in their ability to quickly absorb data and propose solutions, consistent in their ability to communicate effectively and negotiate.
And they are consistently on, seemingly always available with unlimited bandwidth, even when managing multiple complicated transactions simultaneously.
Truly rare qualities. To them, these qualities are likely second nature as they enjoy the investment process itself – moment by moment. And just like Nadal maybe they like “more to fight for a win than to win.”
Yet the end results, the byproduct, speak for themselves as these rare investors, the great ones, are the ones generating the best returns.
Note: In December 2017, we will be publishing our fourth annual Top 40 under 40 Growth Investors list. For additional information or to apply contact firstname.lastname@example.org.