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Justin Von Simson, managing partner at Hg: Successful businesses defend their competitive advantage every day

Justin Von Simson, a managing partner at Hg, joined Moonfare’s CEO and founder Steffen Pauls for the October edition of the Deal Talk series. Deal Talk events are regular fireside chats with leading global private equity dealmakers. For past episodes, visit our dedicated page

Hg is a leading software and services private equity investor, managing more than $55bn assets under management. Von Simson joined the firm in 2002 and has led or co-led more than 25 investments. 

Some of the key points of the conversation included: 

How does Hg invest in tech? “You go into business functions which you automate - like payroll. [...] These types of products are vertical, they are mission-critical and the market [for them] already exists. What our portfolio companies do is automate what exits, we are making things better.”

On fund selection. “You should focus on firms without problems in their portfolio. Problems absorb a lot of time from senior people. And senior people should be on the pitch, scoring goals, meaning investing new money you gave them.” 

On successful leadership. “I am most impressed by people who run extremely successful businesses but manage their organizations like they’re in crisis mode. [...] They make sure that everybody understands that you have to defend your competitive advantage every day, no matter how successful you are.”

Among other topics, Von Simson also shared his views on the current macro environment, why he is both an optimist and pessimist when it comes to Germany’s future and if he ever considered starting his own fund. We invite you to watch the entire recording of the Deal Talk in the video below.

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