Investing: a Story of Culture and Values

Scott Francis
Next Post
Previous Post

img_0024

We’re new to the idea of having investors in BP3, and still adjusting.  So far it has been a great process.  One of the milestones was attending our investors’ limited partner gathering, to which they invite their limited partners (effectively their investors or customers), and their CEO’s.  It was the first time I’d been to such an event.  Approximately 10 CEOs explained how their companies are performing and how their go forward strategies line up.  It was a great experience and had the added benefit of allowing us to meet a new prospective board member with great operating experience – who just happened to be the former CEO of one of their investment portfolio companies.  What a great way to kick it off.

A few interesting themes emerged during the course of the day:

  1. This is a group of companies that, on the whole, are doing really well
  2. In addition to technology, there’s a strong healthcare angle to the investing that Petra does. 
  3. It’s hard to tell your story, plus financials, in 15 minutes!
  4. We picked the right team to invest in us
  5. Every single CEO that got up emphasized culture and values as a defining or differentiating aspect of their business.  


And from talking to the CEOs outside of their presentations, I believe the emphasis on culture and values reflect deeply held beliefs, not just lip service. It wasn’t the silly stuff – snacks in the kitchen or whatnot. No one even mentioned the perks.  It was the culture of caring for employees, patients, customers, and consumers.  Of doing well by doing good. Of providing a great product for the most valuable part of a customer’s business.  Of really adopting the customer’s priorities as your own. And there was a theme of family, and valuing the contributions of team members.

But what really struck me is that Petra is the kind of investment firm that actually cares about this stuff.  That likely invests because of the strong culture in these companies, not in-spite of it.

Petra itself has a great culture.  I don’t know if it is normal for most investment firms to have people on their staff so popular that they’re getting a hug from their portfolio companies, but it is at Petra. 

And don’t let anyone think caring about culture is slowing these companies down – the aggregate performance was really impressive.  I wish I were invested in these companies myself!