The Rise of Thematic Investors


From the outside looking in, Infrastructure as an industry can seem quite niche. In fact, we as search professionals have heard in the past that it is too niche from industry-agnostic investors. However, we like to say that the further you zoom in, the broader the industry gets.

Historically, investment strategies and the search mandates we cater to those strategies have been focused on alignment with industry verticals such as transportation, renewables, telecommunications, agriculture, etc. More recently, we’ve seen an uptick in searches tailored toward finding investment professionals with experience in specific themes that have application across infrastructure verticals and even industries outside of Infrastructure. Notably, the themes of particular interest include: Decarbonization, Decentralization, Electrification, Digitalization and Automation.

Throughout all major industries like Infrastructure, Industrials, Technology, Consumer & Retail, Real Estate and others, we are seeing investment platforms providing capital across all areas of the supply and value chains on the basis that the portfolio company has a product, service or technology with one of these thematic applications. Over the course of the past half-year and all the career moves represented in this report, we took the opportunity to discuss with and survey a sample of the movers. When asked whether one or several of these themes would play a part of their new role, the following percentages of movers said yes:

Now, it feels quite easy to say that one or more of these themes will play a role in an investment strategy, but we were curious as to what degree of seriousness it was being taken on. The discussions continue to explore whether this theme was part of the investment criteria, a consideration during the evaluation of potential investments, or simply an afterthought that would be reported on later. In the pie chart below, the responses are broken down and those without a clear position on the topic are accounted for:

Patrick Reyes
Principal, Equity

As our first American employee appointed in 2018, Patrick has played an integral role in developing our presence in the Americas. He currently leads our Equity practice in North America and partners with some of the leading Private Equity and Venture Capital firms on exec level searches. Patrick has spent the entirety of his search career as a specialist in the Energy & Infrastructure private markets, and has a passion for the innovation and emerging technologies that support and service the transition in the industry.

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