Maven caught up with the North West team’s newest recruit, Simon Robb, who joined as Portfolio Manager to work closely with SMEs and high growth businesses to help them evolve and achieve their growth goals. Based in Maven’s Manchester office, Simon is responsible for managing portfolio companies, as well as expanding the level of business support to Maven’s growing portfolio across the North of England.
Maven’s aim with each company is to work in partnership with the management team, maximise value for all stakeholders and help the business develop appropriate strategy and governance to enable it to grow effectively.
In Maven’s latest blog we spoke to Simon, an experienced Corporate and Investment Banker with over 20 years’ experience in the City and the North West, on how portfolio management really adds value to a growing business and asked him what tips he had for companies that secure funding.
- Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself – what’s your role at Maven?
My role at Maven as a Portfolio Manager means that I look after businesses post-investment. So, once an investment has been agreed, my role is to make sure all is going well and that if further assistance is required, I can help to provide it. Typically, Maven will either take a seat on the board, appoint a non-executive director or take an observer board position. We conduct regular meetings with the management team to help the business develop appropriate strategy and governance to enable it to grow effectively. One of the key advantages for an investee business in working with Maven is access to the in-house operational expertise of our national investment team. We recognise the importance of having a genuinely local presence to work effectively with management teams across the Northern Powerhouse.
- What added value can a business receive being part of the Maven portfolio?
Maven has investments in a diverse portfolio of businesses across a range of industry sectors in the North West. Our experienced team has a wide range of professional and commercial backgrounds enabling us to work in close partnership with key executives in each of our investee companies. The advantage to SME businesses is that they can tap into this experience which may help them to overcome business challenges and unlock additional opportunities.
- What do our portfolio companies require from Maven as a funding partner?
Maven is able to provide financial, strategic and operational input as required, and help management to shape and achieve business goals, in order to grow the business and enhance shareholder value. The companies we support require integrity, understanding, support and facilitation from Maven, as a dedicated funding partner, our role is to help them achieve their ambitions, if they achieve that, then we have delivered both for the business and our investors.
- What do you think are the main obstacles growing businesses face today?
The main obstacles facing businesses at the moment are tough global markets, uncertainty in the domestic market, and ever-changing technological challenges – and, of course, finding the right people! A proven management team which has the relevant sector experience and is not overly dependent on one person is essential to drive a business forward.
The varied landscape of private companies, and need to provide flexible funding solutions, is what makes equity investment an attractive option for both investors and the target companies, but also requires an investment manager with a deep understanding of the small business sector.
- What’s your top tip for a business that’s just secured funding?
Any business which has just secured new funding should make sure it clearly understands both its financial obligations, but also what the funder needs from them. If both parties really understand each other well, then the relationship is much more likely to succeed in the long run.
We look for businesses with clear potential for growth and excellent management teams who want to develop professionally. The quality of the management team, and our ability to build a collaborative relationship with the team, is of the utmost importance in our assessment of the chances of success of a business.
- As a national company, what other support does Maven offer its portfolio companies?
As a national company, Maven can support it customers with a very broad reach of guidance and advice, in all aspects of the UK marketplace. So as a customer grows, Maven’s offering can likely grow with them. We are also able to call upon the skills and sector knowledge of our extensive network of Executive and Non-executive Directors to complement the existing senior management team where such a need is identified.
Securing finance is about much more than just the funding. It’s about finding a long-term business partner who is as committed to the business as the owners and management team, and who can maintain a long term, constructive working relationship.
If your business is in need of finance to help unlock its growth potential, NPIF Maven Equity Finance may be able to help. Contact Maven’s local team today on 0161 233 3500.
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