Private investors seek advice on direct investments
We founded Pesca in 2012 and have been active with it for 7 years now. At the time, we wanted to differentiate ourselves from the existing classic fund structures with an entrepreneurial approach. The aim was and is to have as much flexibility as possible within the scope of the investments we seek to make and also to open up access to networks and experience via the capital. A decisive factor for us was the fact that there is a high level of interest in direct investments on the part of private, entrepreneurial investors such as family offices and private companies, but also in some cases in the institutional sector, but that the existing “classic” offers do not meet expectations in terms of transparency or opportunities for participation. We tend to work quietly and strive for long-term and, above all, trusting cooperation with our investors.
Of course we co-invest, only then do the investments make sense for us. Our advantage is that we do not initially have any requirements in terms of structure or participation level. For us, it is secondary whether we invest the capital in the company for add-ons or for growth, or whether we buy shares from the founder or founders for private reasons. We as Pesca want to understand the overall situation, the background of the transaction and the objective. If this is convincing, we will find a structure that is optimal for the existing shareholders and the company. Since it is usually the managing partner who remains invested in our holdings, what matters to us first and foremost are the people and the environment we find there. Hence our focus on “primaries.” If it doesn’t fit with our ideas, we’d rather leave it alone. Our biggest advantage is certainly the flexibility and our reliability.
A disadvantage in our very entrepreneurial approach is sometimes the ability to fulfill the specifications given there in the unfortunately very broad and often exaggerated M&A processes that are common today. That disciplines us, but when necessary we also get it right, as was the case most recently with the investment in the Brüning Group. As a rule, we invest between EUR 5 million and EUR 20 million, but we always find solutions if it goes beyond that.
Everyone wants to make money, of course, but there are already significant differences. This already starts with the implementation of the transaction — above all our entrepreneurial investors are usually much more interested in the acting persons and their entrepreneurial skills and hardly in the due diligence reports. That’s why we usually offer our investors direct access to the company — right up to supporting the company as an advisory board, if that makes sense. It is only important that first the transaction and later the company is not “troubled” by it. The decisive factor for us is the successful development of the company — and all investors must be subordinate to this principle.
Of course, in our case, investors have much more transparency about the development than in a classic fund. And last but not least, there are significantly lower costs associated with our direct approach. But we also observe that more and more institutional capital is looking for this type of participation. — Everyone likes our relatively defensive approach: we look for sensible and solid medium-sized companies, rely very heavily on the existing management (often the managing partner) to continue the successful development of the past in the future, and have rather cautious return expectations.