Private companies

Hendrik Borginon

Investment manager

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Hendrik Borginon standing clutching a notepad.
I really want to understand the ‘why now?’ about a company. Why has no one built it before? I think that question is deeply tied to grasping the possible size of a market and its long-term defensibility.

A curious mind

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been eager to understand how and why things work the way they do. Initially, that expressed itself as a fascination with biological evolution and its role in self-organised complexity. Then, over time, my focus shifted to physics and the idea of being able to understand the world in little more than mathematics.

When I was 17, I represented Belgium in the International Physics Olympiad, an annual competition for high school students. The trip to Astana, Kazakhstan, was my first outside of Europe. Its monumental Soviet-style buildings, lining incredibly wide lanes and rising over the surrounding grassy plains, made quite an impression.

I flunked both parts of the two-day test. The first involved making electrical circuits, something I had little experience with, and I burned out a component as soon as I got my hands on it. I fared a bit better on theory, but there too, the result was deeply unsatisfying. In retrospect, it wasn’t surprising: I’d had a generalist education, while some peers had been picked for the competition in their early teens and intensely trained. However, it increased my appreciation for just how deep physics went and cemented my desire to study the subject at university.

Hard problems

Physics is a training ground for abstract thinking, and I hope to bring that skill to my job as an investor. In addition, I retain a sense of curiosity for new technologies and how they reshape economic activity over time. “Software is eating the world” is one powerful articulation of where that reshaping happens, but I think it is a point that generalises to other new technologies. That’s where I see our mission: finding those individuals and companies that are both driving change and creating value.

I’m looking for private companies that have the underlying demand, economics and emerging edge to compound for decades. And, by doing so, support a reasonable hypothesis of growing to 10 or even 100 times their scale over a decade and beyond. Historically, such outliers have come from a broad spectrum of industries, so I keep an open mind about where to find the next generation. My personal interest leans towards businesses solving hard technical problems, physical or otherwise.

Pace of change

In every decade of my life, significant societal and technological shifts have occurred, including the rise of the internet, advances in medicine and the start of widespread electrification. It’s easy to forget how much progress has been made. I look forward to what the next 10 years bring as trailblazing companies continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible.


Edinburgh, Scotland

Favourite books

Richard Dawkins: The Ancestor’s Tale

Jorge Luis Borges: Ficciones

Get in touch

Send a message to Hendrik, or email the Private Companies Team directly.