Celebrating 50 Years
9th October 2022
This month, as we celebrate the milestone of Apax’s 50th anniversary, we have been reflecting on the firm’s evolution over the years.
In 1972, three visionary individuals in the U.S., the U.K. and France – Alan Patricof, Sir Ronald Cohen and Maurice Tchénio – came together to chart a course through the foothills of the venture capital industry. Alan, who can be credited with backing Steve Jobs in the early days of Apple, and Ronald, who has since become a pioneer of impact investing, would eventually combine their firms to form one firm addressing both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.
The firm’s distinctive approach to transformational business building can be traced back to these roots. Apax’s sector focus and its emphasis on growth acceleration were formed during its early venture capital years and have been a common thread over the past five decades. Today, our sub-sector teams seek out hidden gems, businesses operating in attractive, growing parts of the economy, but which have not fulfilled their current or future potential. By partnering with talented management teams, deploying proven sub-sector “playbooks”, and calling on our in-house operating team’s functional skills, we see our job as enabling these companies to realise that potential. Our reward is seeing stronger businesses emerge, as growth and profitability accelerate, and ultimately watching the funds sell these businesses for premium multiples, and “getting paid” for the realised business improvement.
As we help companies to grow, so too have we grown, adding synergistic strategies, like the Apax Digital Funds, Apax Mid-market Israel strategy, and listing Apax Global Alpha on the London Stock Exchange. Most recently, we have launched an impact strategy, aimed at supporting companies that deliver tangible positive societal impact through the products and services they produce, as well as developing a dedicated credit offering. None of this would be possible without the tremendous support we have received from investors in the Apax funds. We are proud of the role the firm has had, and continues to have, in driving superior returns and outcomes for these institutions and their beneficiaries. Equally, we are humbled and buoyed by the trust they have placed in us.
While strategy has been critical, our people and our culture have been the difference. This focus emanated some 50 years ago from our founders who believed in building a global firm based on collaboration, the curiosity to learn, the obligation to dissent and a focus on long-term stewardship. We are the third generation of CEOs and, like our predecessors, our job is to leave the firm in better condition than we found it, so that our successors can ultimately do the same.
It takes focus and discipline to stick to your knitting – to avoid the temptation of step function increases in fund size, accelerated investment pace and product proliferation for scale's sake. By employing our sub-sector playbooks methodically, dedicating teams to each strategy and expanding only into adjacencies that leverage our core private equity capabilities, we seek to deliver both exceptional investment returns and to help build enduring, strong companies, including our own.
There are so many people to thank for helping us to reach this milestone. Our founders deserve special note, of course. But, in addition, the firm has reached this point because of the investors in Apax funds, our portfolio company CEOs and management teams, our alumni, our employees, our advisors and the support of our loved ones and families.
Here’s to the next 50 years…
Andrew Sillitoe and Mitch Truwit
Co-Chief Executive Officers