Complementary duo on the sofa

Managing partners Hubert Verbeek and Ewout Prins prefer to get to know other entrepreneurs through ‘sofa sessions’. Accessible sessions in which mainly personal questions are asked. For the first time in Holland Capital’s 40-year existence, they are now taking a seat on the sofa themselves.

H: We have both been here since 2000, but of the two of us, Ewout has been here the longest. Even if that only makes a difference of a few months. He was there from May and I moved to Ewout’s office in August. I immediately saw someone who could do something I couldn’t. I thought that was interesting.

E: We both started as analysts. In the first phase you mainly deliver analysis work. But the more we talked to each other about how we would approach things differently, our complementarity became more and more apparent. After that we really expanded on that.

H: While I am more of the creative, enterprising spirit of the two, Ewout is very good at structuring and ensuring that what we actually do is what we promised. He thinks very carefully about the process within the company. I’m less good at that. An investor once said to us that Ewout is the ‘farmer’ and I am the ‘hunter’. That has diminished since then, but in essence it is true.

E: I really want everything to be right. Deliver on our promise. Hubert won’t see it any differently, but one person moves forward a little faster and the other hits the brakes a little faster. That is a very clear division between us.

H: When it comes to getting investors excited, we do it together. Our division of roles is immediately clear. I tell cool stories about what we dare to do and what strategy we apply in companies. Ewout is then clear about what has been achieved and explains that they are not dreams, but realities. 

“Before a company is purchased,we have already achieved our goal. We have been able to bring that company to a placewhere buyers are coming.”
– Hubert Verbeek

E: Nowadays we divide up the potential holdings with which we enter into discussions. But at the back end we constantly coordinate this with the other person. If something bothers me that is more Hubert’s cup of tea, I ask him how he would handle it. Then I want to know his perspective on it. That collaboration makes the solution a lot better than the one you would think of on your own.

H: One of the first investments we made after taking over was Highcare. At first we were in danger of going completely wrong, because after two years things suddenly did not go well due to market developments. So we had to do everything we could to save that company. And then you see Ewout’s peace. He doesn’t panic. I am a bit more nervous and have regularly called Ewout to clarify things in a relatively short conversation.

E: Before that I remember AOV, a company that was active in nutritional supplements. An owner there had died and an employee wanted to buy it. After Hubert closed that deal, we started to develop the company, helped it grow and marketed it differently. A great success. But I see that above all as the first time that we were able to express our way of investing from start to finish.

H: What we are both good at is recognizing companies that have something unique. Sometimes the entrepreneur himself does not know that he/she has something unique. This is preferably locked up in technology, but it can also be a methodology.

E: Because we work with specialized teams, we know well what is going on in markets and which players are active in them. This means we are well able to compare an individual company with its peers and identify special factors. This often determines our choice whether or not to invest.

H: In addition, we are both good at recognizing which strategy an entrepreneur can use to scale up. This not only increases turn over and results, but also improves the strategic position of the company. This strategic position is an important driver for value creation.

 

E : Entrepreneurs often do not have enough time for this themselves, because the ‘day – to – day’ business requires a lot of attention. We can analyze the market for them, develop plans and then submit them to the entrepreneur. We have people in our team who can really support the entrepreneur ‘hands – on’.

H: And finally, we have a lot of experience with the purchase and sale processes of companies. That is something that an entrepreneur usually does not deal with on a regular basis. This plays a role both in the implementation of a buy-and-build strategy and in realizing an ‘exit’.

E: That’s where we often really add value to the entrepreneur. We know the course of such processes and know how to collaborate with the various advisors in such processes. Buy – and – build leads to accelerated growth and the ‘exit’ is the moment when a successful collaboration with an entrepreneur is completed.

H: We sometimes hear that we don’t pay enough attention to such successes, because we are already working on the next project. I think it’s because we enjoy the road there. By the time you get there, our euphoria has evaporated somewhat. Actually, we should think about that a little more.

Want to read more interviews?

For Holland Capital’s 40th anniversary, the ’40 years of Holland Capital booklet’ was created. This book highlights the development and approach of Holland Capital from various perspectives.

Boekje Holland Capital - 40 jaar
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