We used to do Private Equity like everyone else. We wanted to add value. We were trying very hard to add value. We were sharing our useful ideas with our companies and telling our companies what to do. It was well intentioned, but lacking self-awareness and ultimately not effective for adding value. Our funds were delivering mediocre performance, just like an average private equity firm. When we had a good performing investment, it was because we invested into the right company or got in at the right valuation, not because we were adding value.
Realizing that if we continued to do what we were doing, our performance would continue to be mediocre, and our ongoing survival as a Private Equity firm was uncertain.
So in December 2007, we embarked on a journey from which there would be no turning back. We blew up and reinvented everything about Mekong Capital, including who we are being, our culture, how we add value, how we see the world. What emerged was a new model of Private Equity, ontological in nature, grounded in who people are being and how things occur to them, rather than the traditional knowledge-and-solutions approach of most private equity firms. This is The World of Ontological Private Equity.
We believe that most of what occurs as reality is contextual and is constructed in language, communication, and art. In other words, context is decisive. We can be at the source of the contexts, or ways of seeing things, that we create around anything on which we put our attention. For example, we have a choice over our occurring of ourselves, our work, our purpose, our culture, our investee companies, obstacles we are facing, the future, how you occur for us, etc. And we believe that we can choose ways of seeing those, or relating to them, which are empowering, leading to new actions and breakthroughs in results.
In a Private Equity context, this starts with our investee companies creating a bold, breakthrough vision for their future. That vision will be our shared commitment and the basis for our partnership. Everything else we do as an investor will be in partnership with those companies towards the fulfillment of our shared vision for their future.
We’ve developed an ontological framework, through trial-and-error and continuous refinement over more than 10 years, called Vision Driven Investing (VDI). VDI is not a set of solutions, answers, or best practices. Rather it is a series of 15 spaces to inquire and look at what needs to be in existence for a company’s vision to be fulfilled.
By applying this ontological approach together with the Vision Driven Investing framework, we have started to deliver a level of consistency in high performance which we believe to be unprecedented in the world of Private Equity. Hence, one element of our vision for our future is to Reinvent Private Equity by raising the bar in terms of the consistency of returns that we deliver at the investee company level through ontological value creation.