BDA alumni newsletter | August 2022
In our last Alumni newsletter, Euan updated you on some exciting developments in the firm overall. I am pleased to report momentum in the business remains strong.
We recently closed our 12th sellside deal for Navis in July, a sale of their structural shoe components business Texon. Hitting a round dozen exits for them is pretty neat (and will look good in future pitchbooks). Some of you may remember when we first pitched for the sale mandate from another sponsor way back in 2004. We finally reeled it in.
Travel is picking up again as it becomes logistically easier in parts of Asia. We will be convening an Excom meeting in Seoul in September, which will be the first time we gather together physically since 2019. For those of you who are in South Korea, we would love to see you.
In addition, we recently launched the official BDA CSR initiative to devote our firm and team members to give back to the communities in which we operate in a more structured and holistic manner. I’m excited to announce that the inaugural BDA CSR Day will be on November 15, which will be the first of many. We may look to broaden this to involve our alumni in due course.
As travelling restrictions are easing, we are pleased to be able to host our 4th annual PE Conference in person in Singapore and Shanghai this year on November 30 – December 1, after a few years of Zoom meetings. The event has grown in numbers and profiles each year we run the conference, and I hope this year will deliver the same. I expect we will see some BDA alums on the buyside there.
Once Hong Kong opens up to visitors, we will host a BDA Alumni night; with details to follow. I hope an event such as this will be hosted across all our offices as soon as we can. We would love to see and hear from you then, as always.
Best to all,
Alumni in focus
For our second Alumni in Focus, we would like to shine the spotlight on Andy Bryant who worked at BDA from 2010 to 2017. He was the COO between 2013 to 2017.
What have you been up to lately?
Since leaving BDA as ex-COO, I spent four years as the COO of bitFlyer, the leading Japanese bitcoin/crypto exchange, growing their European business from scratch — hiring the team, securing the license, developing the product, marketing, operational processes, and so on. Then last year during Covid lockdowns, I left bitFlyer and founded Vektor, a blockchain tech startup.
What inspired you to set up your own company?
Even before I left BDA, I was already getting pretty deep into the crypto space since 2013. Thanks to my combined engineering + finance background, when I came across bitcoin, I immediately saw blockchain’s great potential to be an internet-scale phenomenon; an innovative way to bring digital scarcity to a world of digital abundance. I couldn’t stop thinking about the potential impacts, not just as a new asset class but as a substrate for completely changing how humanity can organise systems of economic, societal, and political infrastructure. I had to be part of it.
Where did you get that connection and how did your BDA experience play a part?
I couldn’t have done it without my experience at BDA. bitFlyer hired me as they were looking for someone with COO experience (which I had thanks to the Managing Partners (Senior Managing Directors at that time), Andy, Euan and Charlie, for promoting me to the COO role) and exposure to the Japan market (which I had thanks to Jeff Acton hiring me as an Analyst). I am under no illusions BDA extended and accelerated my career and to this day I am still very grateful for this formative experience.
What’s the most exciting thing happening to you right now?
I’m on the bleeding edge of DeFi (decentralised finance) technology, a part of the blockchain/crypto industry. I love this space and fervently believe that DeFi offers a credible alternative to the current financial system. After studying it from the very beginning, it’s good to feel like I have a credible claim to being a ‘domain expert’ in something.
What do you miss about BDA?
There’s much to miss about BDA! I miss the osmosis of strategic and tactical thought I was exposed to as a member of BDA’s ExCom – seniority at my subsequent firms has been more isolated. I miss the leadership personalities and mentorship of my former direct bosses (JA, AH, CM) – I learned so much from them all! I miss the camaraderie, the BDA as one team culture, and the sense of operating as a truly global, professional team. And the offsites, I do miss those – hope they haven’t changed much since I left.
How did BDA equip you for your current success?
Being a banker at BDA empowered me in many ways and gave me future-proof skillset that proved to be extremely useful and versatile. For instance, the presentation and pitching techniques I had learned from visiting hundreds of clients and targets came in handy when I was pitching to investors or selling my own product to institutions. Having banking experience means I get taken more seriously than just other ‘tech bros’. The financial modelling, desktop research, and tight publishing skills help me run my own business. I could go on and on! For me, working at BDA was like studying for an MBA, except it’s more practical, applicable and less expensive!
Any advice for us on how to make the best at BDA?
When times are hard, take a step back and think about what BDA offers that other, perhaps larger institutions don’t, won’t, or can’t. You get out of BDA what you put in. At BDA, I was able to rise from being an intern to the Group COO within three years because I was working in an environment that rewards initiative, innovation, and drive. I never felt I was held back by politics or organisational barriers. I was also lucky at BDA, but I believe luck is about being prepared for an opportunity when it comes around. I would also suggest to forge cross-border relationships with your BDA colleagues, not just the easier ones in your own office.
Get in touch
If you have anything you want to share with us and the alumni community, to know more about the referral program, or to be featured, please get in touch with any of the MPs or through one of the following channels:
Finally, don’t forget to join the BDA Partners LinkedIn Alumni Group.