20 Lessons from 20 Years

Reflecting on PFG’s 20th anniversary, by CEO Andrew Kahn

As we celebrate Partners for Growth (PFG) ‘s twentieth anniversary, I reflect upon our journey, the evolution of global technology, and impressive tech innovation with a profound sense of humility. This milestone is more than a commemoration of our corporate longevity; it is an opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable lessons, the collective achievements and challenges overcome, and the prospective influence we aim to exert in partnership in the future.

PFG has borne witness to several market cycles in the last two decades, navigated the complexities of fluctuating global markets, and remained agile in sync with our portfolio companies amidst the relentless pace of technological advancement shaping the innovation economy. Our dedication to fostering technological innovation across the globe has been the cornerstone of our philosophy, steering us through both prosperity and adversity with determined constancy.

In honor of our anniversary, we are delighted to introduce a commemorative series: “20 Lessons from 20 Years.” We designed this initiative to disseminate pivotal insights and experiences gleaned from our shared path of growth and development as PFG.

We have distilled a wealth of knowledge over these twenty years, yet we find specific themes to be particularly consequential:

  1. Custom, Small, and Contrarian: At the heart of PFG’s ethos is the pursuit of underserved niches where our bespoke financial solutions can deliver significant impact. Venturing into underserved markets requires embracing complexity, exploring diverse geographies, and employing innovative structural constructs. We balance deepening relationships in existing markets proven successful and seek out new markets and financing models to drive meaningful change.  In short, going “where entrepreneurs are” requires a deep sense of curiosity and customization.
  2. The Primacy of Trust: The cornerstone of enduring partnerships is cultivating trust through transparency, integrity, and reciprocal esteem. Our ability to maintain flexibility and practicality with our portfolio companies, even in a high-growth, fast-paced environment, is predicated on a foundation of forthright communication and trustworthiness.
  3. Global Entrepreneurial Spirit: Drawing from the legacy of Silicon Valley and our headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, PFG has long maintained an openness to new business archetypes and new geographies, facilitating the development of enduring relationships with innovative companies worldwide. From pioneering tech lending across the U.S. and extending custom debt solutions in Australia to supporting fintech firms revolutionizing consumer banking in Southeast Asia, to payment and infrastructure businesses in the Middle East, to software ventures in LatAm, our experiences reinforce the importance of a hands-on approach to financing entrepreneurs across tech markets globally.

As we disseminate these lessons over the coming year, our aspiration extends beyond reminiscing about our past; we aim to galvanize a future characterized by mutual growth, continual innovation, and shared successes. We eagerly anticipate embarking on this reflective expedition with you, our esteemed partners, who have been pivotal to our narrative from its inception.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your role in our history. Embracing the wisdom of our shared experiences and the prospects that lie ahead, we remain committed to pioneering impactful pathways and providing growth capital for technological innovation globally.

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30+ Year Global Strategic Partner

SVB is a leading American bank providing products, services and strategic advice for businesses at every stage. They operate as a go-to commercial bank for start-ups and established corporations, offering venture funding, private banking & wealth advising. SVB is the largest lender to technology companies globally.

SVB has built its reputation as the financial partner of the innovation economy – helping individuals, investors and the world’s most innovative companies achieve extraordinary outcomes.
PFG and SVB have maintained an official strategic partnership since the late 1980’s. We have collaborated together as co-lenders and extended each other's ability to reach new markets and provide deeper capital to high-growth companies.

PFG and SVB have provided growth debt across the U.S. & Canada, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, where we co-manage a Venture Debt Latin America Growth Lending Fund.

IFC logo

IFC — a member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. IFC works in more than 100 countries, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

PFG and IFC are strategic partners where we extend IFC’s direct venture and VC funding, collaborating on fintech and tech lending across global growth markets.

10+ Year Global Strategic Partner

Aims to be the partner of choice for the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. They finance projects to advance clean energy, modernize agriculture, strengthen transportation systems and expand access to financing.

IDB Invest, a member of the IDB Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to promoting the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector. IDB Invest finances sustainable companies and projects to achieve financial results and maximize economic, social, and environmental development in the region. With a portfolio of $16.3 billion in asset management and 347 clients in 25 countries, IDB Invest provides innovative financial solutions and advisory services that meet the needs of its clients in a variety of industries.

PFG leads a joint venture with IDB Invest that provides debt capital to emerging innovative tech companies across the region via our Latin America Growth Lending Fund. The initiative brings investment expertise into LAC from top notch global players in this field.