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Interview with Sérgio Marques, CEO, Grip Investments

Sergio Marques, CEO, GRIP Investments, Venture Capital Company / Venture Capital Firm

Raising Venture Capital Overview

Our VC interview focus on interviewing top GPs from the top Venture Capital Firms, from the heart of SV to Europe and other geographies, with different investment stages, philosophies and value-adding focuses as board members. We discuss topics such as fundraising from LPs, adding value as a board member, level of support to portfolio companies, among other important everyday topics for a GP.

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Bio

Sérgio is an Entrepreneur, Investor and Experienced Board Member with a demonstrated history of working in the venture capital and private equity industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Entrepreneurship, International Business, and Venture Capital. Strong business development professional with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) focused in Business Administration and Management, General from Mackenzie University.

Interview

In any portfolio of venture capital firms, there are usually companies that need more help (due to leadership or other issues). Others that need less help. This also changes throughout time and situations. How do you balance the level of support given to different portfolio companies?

In my experience of investing in companies with different segments, geographies and diversity of leaderships we can achieve balance of support. This by tailoring each relationship with the management team and studying deeply the business invested and the team involved.

Moreover, only after a perfect draw of the moment of the company an its market, we are able to deliver advices/solutions to keep or correct the route.

How do you balance your time between: (1) sourcing quality prospect deals; (2) doing due diligence for possible deals; and (3) helping leadership deals of current portfolio companies? Which of these are you comfortable outsourcing and which do you have to do yourself?

Time management is a gift. Simultaneously, you have to use all tools available as we, dealing with human beings who demand a variety of innumerable approaches.

Particularly, I am always excited in looking for new talents in and outside of our teams.

Many partners of private equity/venture capital firms are good investors but don’t master one of the core skills – adding value as a board member, and building a quality relationship with the CEO/leadership team of the portfolio company. What do you think are some guidelines to a productive relationship with CEOs/leadership team? What should the culture be for a quality relationship in the boardroom?

Companies’ portfolio need both investment and advices. After the investment agreement and the aport of financial resources, i.e. the company has the fuel necessary to grow, the nest step is to build a great board and subsequently the adjustments in the executive team. If the symbiosis of both works, the results will appear naturally.

Nowadays, mental health is more present than ever, with things like burnout, stress, depression, among others. What do you think of external intervenients like executive coaches, both on the private equity / venture capital company portfolio company CEO and on the PE partner sides? Do they usually add value?

Of course it depends of the quality and characteristics of the executive coaches. I’ve had good and bad experiences in this matter. I like the model where the coaches enter in agreement of working in performance result basis. Naturally this model is not so popular between them.

How do you solve important conflicts with the leadership team, such as lack of alignment, strategy, or just the CEO being in denial about things like performance? Does the resolution begin with a private conversation or with involving other board members in a decision?

In my vision the fist step is a frank private conversation. However, in the case of lack of results the board must intervene.

Despite passing proper due diligence by private equity / venture capital investors, sometimes portfolio companies fail. What makes a company fail? Leadership team, operational issues, or other factors?

Fails are part of any sector of life: companies, governments and even individuals fail in some moment of their existence. In business of investing in private equity we are in the top scale of risks. Our rule is minimising them and potentialise the returns. That’s our gift and what we do.


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