Reflections from Jason Georgatos, PFG’s Newly Appointed President
As 2021 draws to a close, and I approach 20 years dedicated to providing financing to emerging growth companies, I am excited and humbled to take on the newly created role as the President of Partners for Growth (PFG). This role is an opportunity to more formally contribute to the leadership of our firm on a global basis while continuing to dedicate my efforts to our core business: helping high growth technology companies and entrepreneurs achieve their missions by providing custom debt capital to finance their growth.
My journey at PFG started in 2004, as the technology markets were on the upswing from the Dot Com bust of 2000. I was a young lender at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in San Francisco and had the opportunity to join PFG, which was at the time a start-up debt fund. I jumped at the offer. I was excited to join Don Campbell and Andrew Kahn and help scale an emerging funding solution for tech start-ups. Our first fund was backed by Silicon Valley Bank, the leading bank focused on venture backed technology companies globally. Our main focus was to provide incremental credit to help later stage SVB clients in situations where additional capital was needed. We were fortunate to partner with SVB then, and I am thrilled that our collaboration with the bank has grown and remains strong today as we approach the end of our second decade working together.
Working with and learning from fast growing technology companies for the past 19 years has been a privilege. The friendships, experiences and entrepreneurial insights I’ve gained have contributed to our own growth at PFG, as we have matured from that first $50 million fund to be a global investment business with over $700 million of assets under management. It’s proven to be an amazing and rewarding journey together in partnership with our portfolio companies, long time investors, and colleagues at SVB.
I am more excited than ever about the opportunity in front of us. PFG now provides financing in over 20 countries around the world. As technology and innovation markets have proliferated globally, we have partnered with leading companies in emerging innovation hubs and emerging ecosystems across Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Australia/New Zealand. I remember doing our first international deal in the UK in 2005 with SVB, followed shortly thereafter by our first transaction in Australia in 2007. Our first Australian deal would eventually lead us to sow the seeds for what is today, almost 15 years later, a large and exciting business in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.
Since PFG was founded in 2004, the firm has grown and we have navigated immense change in the venture capital and technology sectors. Throughout this entire period, I have been supported by two constants. First, my relationship with Andrew and Don. What started as an apprenticeship has evolved into an invaluable mentorship and a trusted partnership in leading the business together. Second, the framework that serves as a foundation to how we run our business. We call these our Guiding Principles and they were first codified by Don Campbell, a pioneer who helped create the venture lending and leasing market in the 1980s. As funding cycles vacillate between extremes during different market and economic environments, these Guiding Principles have served as a north star for PFG, allowing us to be a dedicated, reliable capital partner for our portfolio companies. Our strategy to “provide debt financing to companies, sectors and assets that are underserved by traditional financing sources” has led us to evaluate myriad opportunities globally over the decades since our founding.
The aforementioned principle might sound obvious. Maybe at face value it is. However, the principle really speaks to doing things that others won’t do because they are hard, perceived as too risky or not what mainstream players in the market are already doing. Effectively this principle embodies a contrarian outlook and approach. You have to think and act differently sometimes but being a contrarian alone does not result in success. You also need a well-reasoned thesis, pursue your strategy with discipline, and have the humility to reevaluate when things don’t work. Executing on and living our Guiding Principles has enabled us to provide funding for hundreds of companies around the world and become a trusted manager for our limited partners.
The PFG team has been instrumental in our success and growth over these past 17 years. We continue to add team members with unique perspectives and incredible intelligence. We provide them plenty of room to learn, grow and operate independently. I am proud of the team we have assembled, which started with just a few of us and has grown to nearly 20 across our San Francisco Bay Area, Sydney, and now Boston offices.
In my new role, I will continue to be based in Sydney where I moved to open PFG’s office five years ago. Looking forward to next year and the decade ahead, I am honored to have this opportunity to support the PFG team globally as we continue our mission to help growth companies and entrepreneurs succeed.