Welcome back to PE Value Drivers.
In this issue, I am talking to Vikram Agrawal, a mission-driven, operationally-focused investment management professional who believes that everyone deserves an opportunity to be successful, however they define success. Vikram is currently collaborating with Texan businessman and environmentalist, Trammell S. Crow, with a dual mandate focused on leading investments and catalyzing impact in environmental sustainability and resilience. In addition to being CEO of American Resilience Partners, he supports the international non-profit EarthX as the Director of EarthxCapital with a mission to help raise awareness, educate, convene, and catalyze the impact related to sustainability investment and business innovation.
Vikram has 15 years of investment and management experience across several industry sectors in the United States and emerging markets. He has worked with businesses in various life cycles, including those in concept, start-ups, growing businesses, and businesses needing a strategic or operational turnaround. Vikram is focused on helping American companies develop a Strategic Value Proposition through strategic and operational initiatives.
Here are some highlights from our timely and engaging conversation. Please watch the full video to hear more.
- American Resilience Partners is a Texas-based, mission-driven private investment firm that believes that American businesses focused on sustainable mission-critical infrastructure, environmental sustainability & conservation, clean technology, and climate change & severe adverse weather resilience are integral to American society, security, and growth. American Resilience Partners is industry agnostic, and seeks to make majority control investments or be a minority growth partner in strategically viable American businesses that have an identifiable Strategic Value Proposition. One of the firm's main focuses is eco-system development by showing traditional companies that investing in environmental sustainability is a significant opportunity where it is possible to drive value and grow the bottom line. Sustainability can drive profitability!
- Vikram's road to private equity started with his initial interest in working for the State Department. However, early on, he realized that most people in the public sector have no idea of how the private sector works and how much it can contribute to the good in the world. Vikram considers himself a mission-driven investor. He believes you can and should use business as a force for good. His career started in investment banking, from there he progressed to private banking and world financial markets. Working with emerging markets, Vikram took on many responsibilities and closed upward of 30 transactions early on in his career. He found it rewarding to give capital to deserving businesses to help them grow. Ultimately, Vikram was interested in learning how businesses operate and what it takes for a business to be successful. In addition to providing capital, Private Equity in its core is about building relationships and getting into the trenches with your team; it is all about bringing smartest minds in the room together to come up with a pliable playbook and find solutions. In addition, for Vikram, following his intellectual curiosity to learn about new businesses, new industries, and new clients is an essential factor. Combined, these multiple aspects of the PE environment bring Vikram ultimate gratification.
- Value creation is an essential aspect of every business. In Vikram's experience, the key component in creating value is identifying and clearly relating its strategic value proposition. Zooming in on how a business serves a purpose and solves a problem for direct and indirect stakeholders is the most important step in driving value. Only after identifying these concepts can a firm move forward to the execution. At that time, the idea of serving leadership is applied; it essential to enable others to be successful.
- Strategically and operationally, Vikram leans toward sensible growth, searching for cross-sell opportunities, broadening distribution channels, and directing core business towards more profitable avenues. In a turnaround environment, however, starting with an honest strategic review of strengths and weaknesses is essential. In these situations, Vikram tends to get more involved in operations, bringing on third-party experts that add value and have aligned interests in working on the projects hand-in-hand.
- With all of the changes the world has seen in the past several years, from the deal-making, and value-creation standpoint, Vikram stresses a few things, especially in the sustainability sector. First, businesses that help other businesses become more sustainable and, in addition, solve their other problems will do well in any economic environment. On the other hand, investing in companies that are part of the mission-critical infrastructure like water, power generation and transmission, telecom, healthcare, etc. will always make sense. Finally, having trusted partners like Chief Outsiders and others with relevant experience and subject matter expertise who have navigated through different economic climates is critical. The overarching theme is that the companies that offer authenticity, value, and the ability to provide a critical service and solve a problem for all of their stakeholders will be the ones to do the best in these challenging times.
Please play the video to hear the full discussion with Vikram, and be sure to check out the rest of the PE Value Drivers series. If you are interested in being interviewed for the PE Value Drivers series or have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.