Meet David Porter, Managing Partner of Apposite Capital and a chemist by training. He’s a driving force in finding “the next big discovery” and turning scientists into successful entrepreneurs.
Full name: Ford David Porter Age: 57
Hometown: Bournemouth UK
Current position: Managing Partner
First job: Small companies research analyst
Favorite job: Current one
Education: BA (Oxon) Chemistry Years in the field: 14 What you learned from Chemistry: Analytical skills
How I got here in 10 words or less: Determination to work in financial services and some luck
Q:How and when did you become interested in majoring in chemistry?
A: From my first chemistry lesson I was very interested in Chemistry
Q: How do you see your role as a scientist and how has it changed over the years?
A: Now I consider myself trained as a scientist with an analytical approach to business
Q: You’ve built Apposite into a firm with an impressive portfolio of companies in the US and Europe. How did you get your first job in private equity?
A: I was working for the Nomura International Corporate Finance department when they started a captive LBO operation under Guy Hands and I started working for him on major UK privatization purchases
Q: What is the nature of your job day-to-day?
A: A bit of everything. I work with our IR Manager to build our investor base, with the investment teams to source deals and assist with portfolio management and with administration on general management issues. But I see my main role as business development and trying to grow the business
Q: What do you like about working in private equity?
A: Variety, intellectual stimulation, challenge, real situations, real rewards, both personal and team based
Q: You are exposed to many new companies seeking capital. What do you look for in these companies? How do you identify the next discovery?
A: Management is the key factor for me.Â Good management maximizes returns and keeps you out of trouble. Good management always makes the major discoveries and builds the valuable companies
Q: How do you keep up with innovation and discoveries in science and technology?
A: Like most people I am overwhelmed with information, the best quality comes from our advisory team
Q: The last decade has seen a huge growth in new private equities but now many firms are struggling. What are the opportunities for scientists who would like be in private equity?
A: It is a difficult time because most firms are downsizing. Probably best to try an indirect route in this climate i.e. start a company, take an MBA, accountancy, some consultancy firms are good preparation
Q: How do you think the field of private equity and startup companies will change when we come out of the recession?
A: Not fundamentally – but PE will go back to growing companies and turnarounds and not financial engineering to make returns
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I want to widen the scope of Apposite and enter new areas
Career Advice from David
Best advice: Do not give up – take a long view
Skills you need: Financial
Degrees you should go for: MBA
Where you should start: Start up or young company or somewhere to learn finance
Professional organizations to contact: National Venture Capital Association, Kauffman Foundation. Business schools with a PE focus