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About

LinkedIn | roberts.cole.a@gmail.com

Bio:

Financial Analyst at Venture First (VF). VF provides capital and financial services to growth-focused companies. VF operates three funds and a suite of special purpose vehicles. Services include Transactions, CFO, Valuation, Accounting, Research and Analytics. My primary responsibilities include analyzing fund investments for Strike Ventures, an early-stage tech-focused venture capital fund, performing a suite of outsourced CFO functions (financial modeling, forecasting, cash flow management, current investor and board meeting preparation, and capital raising assistance) for a diversified group of early-stage companies, conducting valuations (primarily 409a), assisting on buy-side and sell-side M&A transactions, and performing research for clients seeking strategic advisory across a variety of industry and company sizes.

I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Louisville with a BSBA in Finance and BS in Business Economics. I achieved a 4.0 GPA in my Finance coursework and was awarded the Academic Achievement in Economics Award in May 2021. I successfully passed Level I of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program during my final semester of college. I began my career at Goldman Sachs Asset Management (‘GSAM’) covering a suite of thematic equity strategies as a Client Portfolio Management Analyst.

I am a passionate long-term investor focused on public and private market opportunities with a preference for high-quality companies in the consumer staples, consumer discretionary, healthcare and technology sectors. 

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I became interested in investing in high school and opened a brokerage account to invest my very limited capital into stocks. The first stock I bought was Twitter – ultimately a lesson learned instead of a triumphant first investment. The reality of my losing investment sparked a deep curiosity and desire to win the game of investing within me. I am passionate about my investments and have fallen in love with the process that comes before making an investment decision.

I started The Most Competitive Game as a junior in college while studying Finance and Economics with hopes of one day becoming a professional investor. While that journey is far from over, I am delighted by the opportunity to share my process of learning and growing who those who read or come across the blog.

My Investment Philosophy

I believe that an investor’s philosophy does not have to be original. The simplest of methodologies to do well in investing is to copy what those you respect have done.

First and foremost, I believe in investing for the long term. I am not a trader seeking short-term profits. I believe my long-term approach gives me an advantage in a game in which I am already disadvantaged. I do not check my PA on a daily basis. Checking performance daily impedes my ability to think for the long term. Unless a blowup is happening, I prefer to check my PA and mock portfolio once weekly. I want to think for the long-term, cut down on unforced errors, and have the patience to let compound interest work in my favor.

What I look for in the businesses that I seek to invest in:

  • Those that are as proprietary as possible, producing a product or service not easily duplicated and thus reasonably immunized from price competition.
  • Those in growing markets, carefully and specifcally defined.
  • Those producing a high rate of return on sales and capital.
  • Those that are strongly financed, with manageable or little to no debt.
  • Those managed by individuals who are competent and have high levels of ownership in the business.

Lastly, there are a few mental checks that I keep in mind when investing:

  • Businesses and the competitive environments in which they operate are highly complex and can take years to fully understand. I seek to simplify my understanding of these things by approaching them with an open-mind, humility, and a willingess to learn regardless of the undertaking it will require.
  • Invert to solve complex problems. Inversion allows me to think about how a business can reach a forecast or point in its lifecycle by first understanding what it will look like when it gets to that point and then working backwards to formulate what needs to happen to get to that point.
  • Think in terms of probabilities. What are the possible outcomes of a company’s execution on its strategy? How likely are each of these outcomes? This may sound simple, but I suppose that is the point.
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