DB: Where are you?
MS: I’m in Charlotte, N.C. It’s my first COVID-19 business trip. I’m here meeting with different investors of our firm. Six years ago, we created a private capital division that typically invests in later-stage companies — firms like Peloton, DraftKings, Lyft, and Industrious. For the latter company, which is a coworking business, I’m on the board in North America. They’re in 100 cities, and growing fast.
DB: What else are you doing?
MS: I develop investor relationships all over the country, so I’m always looking at new deals. In some cases, the investors want to meet me. We have $1.3 billion under management, and we just added a group in Chicago with $150 million, and we’re looking to bring in another three (major investors) over the next couple of years.
DB: What are your growth plans?
MS: My father’s uncle started the firm in 1939, so we’re third-generation now. (Today), we have 65 employees overall. We work closely with our clients to identify new investment opportunities and we develop legal strategies, tax strategies, and insurance programs for them. We really try to stay ahead of the curve.
DB: Are you hiring?
MS: Yes. During COVID-19, we’ve become much more comfortable hiring people out of town to work virtually. We’ve hired 12 people since COVID-19 started. We had to grow in new ways, and we’re finding great talent. We just hired a president out of New York City, and he works (from) there. We hired a high-level investment guy in Boston, and technology people in Atlanta who do our investment platform technology. They all will eventually move (to metro Detroit).
DB: Do virtual investor meetings work?
MS: From a client perspective, we’re finding it’s really easy to communicate in this way. When we tell them we invested $7.50 a share and sold it for $43 a share (for DraftKings), they love it.