Private companies

Tara Sophia Sallis

Investment manager

Connect on LinkedIn

Sophia Sallis Tara standing while clutching a notepad.
I’m interested in understanding how private company leaders make their business decisions and am open to being pleasantly surprised by them being not quite what I expect.

Educational ingenuity

How would you go about teaching if you didn’t have a centuries-old education system? That’s the question that brought me into Baillie Gifford’s orbit. In 2019, the firm funded me to research edtech efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. Children there sometimes live far from the nearest school and lack a computer or stable internet. I spoke to dozens of startup founders and other project managers, including a Tanzanian entrepreneur working on a scheme to let students ask questions about their syllabus via text message and get AI-picked answers back.

Seeing the range of functional products that different founders had created was amazing. But it was also clear there are many practical steps between having a great idea and running a great business. I gained a greater appreciation of investors’ role in society, allocating capital efficiently to businesses solving genuine problems. I decided that investing would be an exciting career, so I accepted a job at Baillie Gifford.

Beyond the obvious

Part of what attracted me to the Private Companies Team was the depth of relationship we can have with the companies we back. I believe it’s important leaders are grounded in a coherent business philosophy. However, I recognise that different businesses demand different traits, and I’m as interested in a firm that stands out for its resilience and discipline as one that’s excitingly opportunistic.

What matters most is a strong sense of long-termism – a willingness to make difficult, nonobvious decisions that could take years to pay off, and an ability to handle the uncertainties of the future.


Edinburgh, Scotland

Favourite books

Walter Isaacson: Leonardo Da Vinci

Aeham Ahmad: The Pianist of Yarmouk

Get in touch

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