Many professionals would likely categorize winning the lottery as successfully combining the functional components of one’s academic training with stimulating lifestyle choices….in this case living abroad….all while following a career path that accretes benefits to society as a whole. This is what Robbie has been able to achieve during an internationally-focused career in finance and investing. Robbie journeyed to Central Europe, a region in which he concentrated on while studying political science at the University of North Carolina, not long after completing his degree. A testament to his fascination with the region is that his initial commitment of six months turned into five years. During this period he held positions in education, small business and in the nonprofit sector.
While his original intent was to pursue post-graduate study in international affairs, Robbie recognized during this period of rapid economic and social transformation, that the private sector would play a pivotal role in raising the standard of living and providing stability not only in Central Europe but also in other emerging economies. With the desire to work on the front lines of this process, Robbie returned to the United States and earned an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Denver.
The transnational investment process, Robbie believes, is the mechanism necessary to allocate accumulated savings to their most effective uses. As investors have sought the attractive returns emerging markets have provided over much of the past decade, recipient countries have been able to deploy this capital towards updating infrastructure, modernizing the industrial sector and providing local firms and consumers access to various credit instruments, which in turn spur previously tepid business investment and household consumption. Robbie has put his financial training to use in aiding this process when working as an acquisitions analyst with a Central European corporate advisory boutique and as an analyst with a leading regional private equity firm. In the latter position, he not only helped arrange financing for the firm’s portfolio of industrial concerns, but also served as a financial markets analyst, providing expertise to top management in their investment decisions across a range of asset classes and global markets.
Robbie views his involvement with Vim Ventures as a natural extension of his previous work, but on a more granular level. By advising the region’s entrepreneurs on financing strategies for their growing enterprises, Robbie hopes to be a small component in aiding the next generation of Central European business leaders establish a culture of innovation and success similar to those found in the entrepreneurial clusters of his home country.
When not analyzing the growth prospects of firms or researching the macroeconomic trends of transitional regions, Robbie can likely be found with his nose buried in a foreign-language newspaper or cycling up the mountain passes of either the Rocky Mountains or Austrian Alps, depending upon which particular region he calls home at that time.
|Denise M Kay|