3 questions to smart minds

Entrepreneurial families as investors

For this 3 questions to Robert Clausen

Syng­roh Capital
Photo: Robert Clausen
2. Octo­ber 2018

Entre­pre­neu­rial fami­lies are incre­asingly inves­t­ing in direct stakes in compa­nies. What is driving this trend and what distin­gu­is­hes fami­lies as inves­tors from clas­sic private equity compa­nies when it comes to the further deve­lo­p­ment of the acqui­red companies?

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Robert Clau­sen, Mana­ging Direc­tor of Syng­roh Capital’s consul­ting company

1. Mr. Clau­sen, Syng­roh Capi­tal is new to the market and has just closed its first invest­ment. Can you briefly intro­duce the company to us?

Syng­roh Capi­tal is the invest­ment company of the foun­ding family of the globally successful sani­ta­tion company Hans­g­rohe SE, with which the Klaus Grohe family makes direct invest­ments in medium-sized compa­nies. We deli­bera­tely do not speak of a family office, but of an invest­ment company, because Syng­roh Capi­tal exclu­si­vely compri­ses the direct invest­ment acti­vi­ties and has a capi­tal commit­ment of 100 million euros. Unlike unit-linked private equity invest­ments, howe­ver, there are no fixed invest­ment and holding peri­ods, and the family can shape the invest­ment stra­tegy with its under­stan­ding of values. Borro­wed capi­tal can, but does not have to be used. The best of both worlds, so to speak.

2. Why is it attrac­tive for entre­pre­neu­rial fami­lies to take direct stakes in other companies?

Direct invest­ments are, of course, one way of gene­ra­ting returns from family assets in the low-inte­rest envi­ron­ment and incre­asing them for future gene­ra­ti­ons. Howe­ver, the Grohe family is concer­ned with much more than purely finan­cial inte­rests. Over three gene­ra­ti­ons, the family has led Hans­g­rohe from its foun­ding as a craftsman’s busi­ness to a global company with more than one billion in sales, trans­forming itself from a majo­rity share­hol­der to a mino­rity shareholder.

After finally reti­ring comple­tely from opera­tio­nal respon­si­bi­lity in 2016, they intend to actively contri­bute this wealth of entre­pre­neu­rial expe­ri­ence at Syng­roh Capi­tal, both in ongo­ing dialog with manage­ment and on the compa­nies’ advi­sory boards. This goes down well with entre­pre­neurs because someone who has handed over manage­ment of the company to non-family members has a comple­tely diffe­rent approach to such tran­si­ti­ons than a purely finan­cial investor.

3. The fact that entre­pre­neu­rial fami­lies work closely with the manage­ment of their port­fo­lio compa­nies is some­thing we hear more often. How can this be explained?

Presu­ma­bly, this is simply part of the entre­pre­neu­rial DNA. All members of the Klaus Grohe family have held manage­ment posi­ti­ons at Hans­g­rohe or other compa­nies. In their profes­si­ons and func­tions, they have spent years passio­na­tely driving inno­va­tion, deve­lo­ping products, buil­ding compa­nies and struc­tures. Now they want to be just as actively invol­ved and work with entre­pre­neurs who embody the same will to shape the future. As a share­hol­der, we help iden­tify growth oppor­tu­ni­ties and promote them with the know-how of a stra­te­gist and the capi­tal of a finan­cial investor.

About Robert Clausen 

Robert L. Clau­sen has been Mana­ging Part­ner of Syng­roh Capital’s invest­ment advi­sory company, Syng­roh Advi­sory GmbH, since the begin­ning of 2018. Previously, he advi­sed clients on the acqui­si­tion, sale or finan­cing of compa­nies in more than 70 tran­sac­tions — among others for Deloitte & Touche BNP Pari­bas, Lincoln Inter­na­tio­nal and Credit Suisse First Boston. He has known the Klaus Grohe family for around two deca­des and has accom­pa­nied its members in a large number of stra­te­gic discus­sions and transactions.

Subscribe newsletter

Here you can read about the latest transactions, IPOs, private equity deals and venture capital investments, who has raised a new fund, how Buy & Build activities are going.

Get in touch

Contact us!
fyb [at]