Who we are
As long-term investors, we believe in following great companies wherever their journey takes them. Unlike traditional venture capital (VC) or private equity (PE) our investment universe is not determined by the IPO. We seek to uncover and invest in great companies, with years or decades of growth ahead, and have the ability to continue owning them once public, adding to our position as our conviction grows.
This unique approach means we are able to support the visionary management teams of exceptional businesses from an earlier stage in their growth trajectory, with the potential to generate compound returns for clients in the years before and after listing.
Since our first private investment in Alibaba in 2012, we have invested in over 100 private companies across multiple rounds. Spotify, Airbnb, HelloFresh and Affirm are some examples of companies where we were first private shareholders and subsequently supported into public markets.
For us, an IPO is not a demarcation of our investable universe – it’s just part of the journey.
All investment strategies have the potential for profit and loss and strategy performance targets are not guaranteed.
Why choose us? Because founders do.
Baillie Gifford enjoys powerful competitive advantages in late stage venture capital. This partly comes from decades of in-house research and the strong relationships we have built as public investors.
But what makes us stand out:
- our reputation for long-termism and patience
- our willingness to accept uncertainty as the price of ambition
- the relationships we have with founders, CEOs, industry experts, universities and academics
- our proven track record of backing private companies through multiple private rounds and, where relevant, through IPOs
All these things make Baillie Gifford a shareholder of choice for fast-growing, late stage private companies that are looking for long term partners who can support the next stage of their expansion. And as you can see below, our numbers speak for themselves:
We received full allocations in over 90% of the investment rounds we participated in including some which were heavily oversubscribed - indicating that we are shareholders of choice for founders and CEOs of growth companies.
Three-quarters of our deals came through our network of relationships with founders, entrepreneurs, and other trusted advisers rather than from investment bank-driven deal processes.
Get in touchEmail the Private Companies team
Interested to hear more about Private Companies at Baillie Gifford?
Baillie Gifford are global, long term, growth investors with a focus on bottom-up analysis, which is driven by fundamental company research.
- Focused on growth
We believe that over the long-run people under-estimate and undervalue the scope of change that innovations in production, process and technology can bring.
Understanding these dynamics is critical for identifying long-term investment opportunities.Driven by fundamentals
We care about the capacity to grow and generate high returns.
A large addressable market is only valuable if it enables a company to compound its capital at a high rate for an extended period. In these situations, the magic of compounding enables massively outsized returns for the growth investor in the long term. Great growth companies don't happen overnight.Thinking long term
We aim to benefit from long-term compounding into massive and misunderstood growth opportunities, not minor mis-valuations.
Where our investment case remains intact, we continue to support our businesses through challenging periods, building trust with management, whilst reducing the risk of selling prematurely due to market volatility and prior to capital appreciation.A bottom-up approach
Themes are both useful descriptive tools for summarising changes being wrought by businesses, and useful analytical tools for thinking about new possibilities.
However, we are investing in companies rather than narratives. Exceptional companies are often disrupting trending themes, their unique characteristics are peculiar rather than common.Looking globally
Exceptional companies and business clusters can arise in unlikely places.
A willingness to invest globally is different from a geographic target allocation, as the aim is to identify and invest in opportunities that are mispriced despite their location.
Our aim is to generate compounding returns by identifying and investing in exceptional private companies across multiple funding rounds and scaling up investments to amplify returns as our conviction grows.
We think about the evolution of our portfolio companies over a similar time horizon to their founders.
We care about and engage on long-term strategic issues, focusing on the future development and evolution of the business rather than fixating on short-term fluctuations. This enables a highly aligned and empathetic relationship with founders.
Structural alignment then comes from the pools of long-term capital that enable us to put this philosophy into practice. We believe this is a significant differentiator from our peers.
We take minority financial stakes in companies and help founders focus on the next stage of growth.
At the time of our initial investment, founders are no longer looking for the operational support that early-stage Venture Capital firms typically offer. Founders want to partner with an investor who helps them focus on the long-term development and evolution of their business by providing support as they navigate the challenges of managing a growing organisation towards IPO and beyond.
Baillie Gifford manages significant amounts of capital in public market investments for its clients and regularly invests in IPOs.
By partnering with Baillie Gifford as a private investor, companies can find an investor for life in the public markets, maximising the chances of a successful IPO at a time that suits them. Our public equity teams can allocate significant amounts of capital at IPO, giving founders continuous relationships and stability as they enter the public markets.