Entrepreneurs appreciate Apax Partners’ efficiency and proximity

Sickinge DucoA co-investor alongside Apax Partners since 2016, when he became a shareholder in telecom operators Melita (Malta) and Nowo-ONI (Portugal), Duco Sickinghe looks back on his collaboration with the French investment fund.

Sectoral expertise is Apax Partners’ strength

“TMT is an extremely complex investment sector, affected both by changes in business models and by the development of new technologies”, the former CEO of Telenet begins. “It is difficult to find people who master both.”

The Dutch entrepreneur qualified his investment in Melita and Nowo-ONI in 2016, his first co-investment alongside Apax Partners, as a “rather natural alliance”. The driving forces behind this alliance were their shared expertise in cable, “our core business”, and Apax Partners’ specific knowledge of the media and new technologies. For Duco Sickinghe, this dual, business/technology expertise enables Apax Partners “to better evaluate and appreciate a new technology and its potential development, to understand how it will impact the business – whether positively or negatively – and to ensure that the management team has the necessary skills to give the company a long-term future.” For him, the relationship has the right mix between a telecoms expert and an investor.

Duco Sickinghe appreciates the moderate size of the Apax Partners team and the transverse nature of their expertise, oriented around four major areas of sectoral specialisation – TMT, Healthcare, Services and Consumer. “Apax’s people always have something to offer, and not only the partner in charge of the investment. The fund also makes an extensive international network available to entrepreneurs.”

A human scale and a unique worldview

“Apax Partners is not a huge organisation where an entrepreneur risks feeling lost. When you work with Apax you sense the firm’s closeness and its human scale very quickly. Duco Sickinghe says the relationship is “direct, candid, open and especially, efficient. This a very important aspect for Dutch and Belgian executives,” he says with a smile.

“Historically, Apax Partners has had a strong base in the English-speaking world, and today it is a continental European fund, based in Paris. Apax has successfully combined the continental relationship culture with Anglo-Saxon efficiency. This gives the firm a unique worldview, very different from that of US funds, for example.”

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Apax Talks is a digital magazine aimed at company managers. It presents growth levers for SMEs, with a focus on TMT, consumer, healthcare and services sectors.