5 Minutes with Technology Investor Freddie Achom

5 Minutes with Technology Investor Freddie Achom

Meet the Nigerian-born British Technology Investor and Venture Capitalist Freddie Achom.

1. Briefly explain what you do and what led you to this industry/ business?

I am an investment entrepreneur investing in start-ups and early stage companies as well as the founder and chairman of Rosemont Group Capital Partners. Our main focus is to invest in early and growth stage technology based companies. What led me to setting up this business is that besides injecting financial backing into various companies, I’m also in a position where I can offer support and guidance to the entrepreneurs running the companies we choose to back. I am a big fan of innovation/ motivation, both in technology as well as people.

2. How do you stay ahead of the trend?

I am not sure if I actually am ahead of the trend or not because there are a lot of people in the same space doing and offering similar services. But I try to stay ahead or current, especially in technology by recruiting staff that are young and have in-depth knowledge of social media and technology. Besides working with a great team, within our portfolio of businesses we have been able to gather metric data, which helps us to make our investment decision on statistical facts rather than purely relying on intuition.

3. Who gave you the inspiration to pursue your dreams? What action did you take after?

Reflecting back I will have to say my dad, he was a comparatively successful businessman who started from scratch and built a reasonable empire in Nigeria, building one of Nigeria’s foremost independent insurance brokerages to becoming one of Inland Bank of Nigeria’s main shareholders. I guess it’s normal for any child to follow the footsteps and ideologies of their parents.

4. How did you deal with your biggest fear?

Not to sound arrogant, but I don’t pay attention to my fears. Most people’s fear in business is fear of failure, but failure is not a destiny but a pathway to achievement, so I always try to keep that in mind.

5. Tell us about what you’re doing now and what you envision to do in five years.

We are continually looking to expand our investment portfolio, especially from a global point of view. We’ve recently announced that we aim to invest in a total of 20 early and growth stage companies by 2017; so far we are on track.

Apart from expanding our investment portfolio, Last year I set up the Rosemont Group Foundation, which is, a platform aimed to create more opportunities for young motivated people to achieve their hopes and dreams. The foundation is currently set to assist the youth in London, England but eventually I aim to replicate the foundation to try my best to guide those in Nigeria as well.

6. If there is one thing that you can change in your past, what would that be and why?

I would not change anything in the past because everything I’ve done led me to where I am today, good or bad.

7. When dealing with negativity or setbacks, what types of strategies did you use to overcome them?

Whenever I had a setback or a negative thing occurred, I took it has a personal challenge for me to overcome. I still have that attitude today, whenever I have a setback, I always think this is a test of your character to overcome it, which allows me to dig deep and overcome any obstacle.

8. What kind of technology are you using to increase your productivity and how has that impacted your life?

I personally use a lot of applications. Apps are amazing for lifestyle improvement.

I am single and find myself travelling a lot, so home cooked food is sometimes a challenge for me, although I can cook, I do use my apps to order meals sometimes. I use the Seamless, Grub Hub apps when I’m in New York (and various states in the US), Just Eat and Deliveroo app when I’m in London.

I also use drycleaning, concierge, butler and housekeeping apps, valet, parking apps and taxi apps. Without these apps I would need my PA to be next to me at all times!

9. How do you define failure? Can you give us an example and tell us how you rose above it?

Let me give you two examples of setbacks I’ve faced and how I remedied it.

One prime example is I have two children from two previous relationships, and giving up, and failure would have been to allowing those relationships to deteriorate which would have had a profound effect on my children. But instead I have excellent relationship with both of my children’s mothers and therefore I have excellent relationship with my children so that is a perfect example of overcoming failure in my personal life and in becoming a good father.

A business example is after I sold my first business (City Business Partners), a business development agency; I invested in a business based on emotions rather than business logic.

After I received a small fortune from my first business, an associate wanted me to invest in his media business; I guess I was a target because of the new found wealth I acquired. Anyway the failure on my part was investing in their business without doing my due diligence, setting up or conducting the appropriate procedures when investing. To make a long story short, I lost a reasonable sum of money, but today that has allowed me to understand the importance of separating business and friendship. It was a hard lesson but one that has helped me going forward and being more experienced and aware of the pitfalls of business.

10. Where are you currently based? What are your plans to spread or expand your reach?

UK, US, India, France, Rome and Cayman Island.

11. Your investments and businesses are highly diverse, are your investment choices based on your personal interest or more towards business acumen? What type of due diligence is involved when making investment decisions for the type of industry that you want to pursue or invest in?

We have internal analysts to research the market, collate all the necessary data and do our due diligence.

We look for products and solutions that are globally scalable and are not just single market focused. We’re confronted with multiple opportunities on a daily basis, and I can say I’ve never been one to be governed by sectors I know about because I do take a particular enjoyment into going into something that I don’t know.

12. What is your morning ritual?

I wake up, I immediately put my brain in gear and I do that by either exercising with a personal trainer first thing in the morning or practicing a language with a private teacher in the morning.

So 4 days out of 5 working days a week I will either engage in fitness training or practice a language with a private tutor.

So usually on Mondays I am on the 8:15 Eurostar back to London from Paris, Tuesdays I will do a personal pilates class, Wednesday I do Italian class, Thursdays I do another pilates class and Friday I do a French class. And then after those classes, I head to the office for a full day of meetings, lunches and more often than not dinners or social engagements.

13. How do you stay focused throughout your busy day?

My PA Katie helps bring structure to my day. She manages my dairy, which I am grateful for. A lot of the time I’m inundated with requests, which I have to politely decline being that there is not enough time in the day to be everywhere to appease everyone.

14. What would you consider your single biggest accomplishment to date?

My biggest achievement is raising well-balanced children and the careful expansion investment portfolio of the Rosemont Group.

15. Having been involved in multiple ventures and early start-ups, what would be your top 3 advice to those who are looking to start their own business?

Have a clear understanding of your business, the market sector, have a clear USP that separates you from your competition and be flexible in executing your idea.
Also believe in yourself, once you have convictions in your ability you are already halfway there.

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