Since I was young, I have always been passionate about classic sports cars. I was particularly drawn by the simplicity of its design and its singular purpose, that is, to give its driver the pure driving experience!
A few years back, when the opportunity knocked on my door to acquire a 1983 German marquee, I did not hesitate and with the acquisition, I ticked one big item off my bucket list and kick started my midlife crisis too (according to my dear wife)!
Quickly, I learnt that there was more to it than just driving my old timer around and just looking cool (and with my back perspiring). You need to know the “ins and outs of these cars, otherwise you will become your mechanic’s ATM! I started to observe my “seniors” and noticed that they have an instinct of sensing something is not right with their cars by just listening to the clanking of the engine and smelling the un-burnt fuel coming out of the exhaust! I knew I had to roll up my sleeves and learn to troubleshoot and maintain my car. Whilst it was a steep learning curve, it was also a natural process for me as I am very passionate about the journey through my pursuits.
One other thing that I am very passionate about is assisting companies in all aspects of their corporate borrowings (syndicated loans, debt restructuring, project financing, loans portfolio management, distress debt trading, leverage buy outs, structured export finance). Unlike my classic car pursuits, I have been doing this for 20 odd years with several international investment banks. So I dare that I am a “debt junkie” in a positive sense!
I can see some similarities in my journey in pursuit of classic cars and helping companies seek financing. Let me offer two propositions from my vantage point.
Firstly, like classic cars, no two companies are the same and they will tend to also have its own identity, uniqueness and quirkiness. Hence, you need to get into the details in order to understand each and every one of them. You need to understand how its “engine and chassis” should be working together (one cannot assume they are) in order to propel them forward and keep them planted on the ground and not hit the kerbside. The “one solution fits all” is not always the case when it comes to corporate debt financing. Also, if one cuts corners in the evaluation process, the diagnosis will not be correct and even if the car or the company does not “breakdown” in the near term, it will not be able to live up to its maximum potential. As we say in the classic car circle, “Good from far, far from good!”
Secondly, we need to be in a “community of collaborators” where we can tap on each other’s knowledge and strength. Whilst I hang out at “Cars & Coffee” to meet the “seniors” on weekends, I would do exactly the same when I am in the office on weekdays with my two other business partners. Each of my business partner brings a different experience and value proposition to the table. I consult them every opportunity that I get to ensure that our clients’ interests are first served.
At Minterest, we come form the standpoint that each and every one of our clients are unique. The funding solutions that we give them may be simple and yet bespoke. We will take time to understand the needs of our clients through a robust due diligence process. We may have the wealth of experience behind us that gives us the instinct. However, we will not be too quick to judge and to offer financing solutions until we fully understood their real needs. Whilst getting the funding is the final destination, we are most interested in the journey. Like the sheer experience of driving my old timer down a windy road in the wee hours of the morning, I want to give the same experience and smile on my client’s face at the end of his journey with Minterest. It is the journey and not the destination.