Going for gold

6th March 2018
Going for Gold - Going for gold
By Tom Matthews

The South Korean Winter Olympics have recently drawn to a close.  Athletes from across the world met to compete against the best in their field.  Years of preparation, hard work and training culminated in a brief but defining event in each athlete’s life.

There are many similarities between what’s needed to build a winning Olympic team and a successful growth business.  Good private equity partners are like Olympic coaches.  We create a shared vision of what the business needs to achieve and support the leadership team realise a premium valuation by a specific date (usually on exit within a 3 to 5 year timeframe).  Then we work with backwards to collaboratively plan how we will get there.

What we look for

Behind the gold medalists are the coaches who meticulously plan the programs necessary to ensure they reach peak performance against a range of requirements at the right time.  Similarly, we partner with talented business leaders and work with them to build the high-performance team and infrastructure needed to go for gold.

Assembling the right team

Typically, we help ambitious business leaders who share the goal of building a business to achieve a premium valuation in 3-5 years’ time.  Then we assist them in building, growing or recruiting the team, and implementing the infrastructure, necessary to make the idea a reality.

Setting the shared vision

As growth investors, we work with business leaders to accelerate growth and create market-leading businesses.  Even before we make an initial investment we are planning for that future exit event.  Whilst the initial transaction is always important, the far greater opportunity for the business leaders and investors is in creating consistent and sustainable growth and realising the value at exit (our Olympics!).

We spend considerable time with our teams discussing exactly what we all want the business to look like in 3-5 years’ time.  To achieve a premium valuation on our liquidity event (typically an IPO, trade or secondary sale), it’s important that all parties have the same common goal.


With the strategic vision set, the team knows where we are heading.  We then work backwards to plan the smartest route.  We look at what the team needs to achieve and when, as well as what capital (both physical and human) is required along the way.

Accelerating development 

With the action plan in place, the team can concentrate on delivering the strategy.  This is like the athlete doing the work!  Our part is to help accelerate growth by providing access to capital, expertise and our network of experts to develop the business further and faster.


Finally, for us, it’s also got to be fun.  As with the aspiring Olympians, the journey needs to be challenging and yet still rewarding.  Having fun together and enjoying each other’s company makes training for the big event more effective and ultimately contributes to higher performance.

Find out more? 

If you are an ambitious business leader looking to partner with an experienced investor to build a market-leading business (and achieve your gold), then email me at info@pemba.com.au.

Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash

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