“Beyond Strategy” is an ACG National Capital Region podcast focused on the leaders that are driving innovation, enhancing understanding, and achieving market clearing outcomes in and around the DC area. The podcast will interview senior level executives, private equity partners, and industry leaders to discuss topics including, but not limited to, mergers and acquisition, organic growth pursuits, leadership and management strategies.
Episode 3 includes a sit-down interview with Kevin Robbins, Co-founder and General Partner at Blue Delta Capital Partners. In this episode, Andy and Jenn dive into the history of Blue Delta Capital Partners, as well as its value proposition in the market.
Listen to the podcast and read a transcript of the interview below:
Andy McEnroe: Hi. Hello and welcome to “Beyond Strategy,” an ACG National Capital region podcast focused on leaders that are driving innovation, enhancing understanding, and achieving market clearing outcomes in and around the DC area. I am Andy McEnroe of Raymond James Defense and Government Investment Banking team.
Jenn Wappaus: And I am Jenn Wappaus, with the Infinity Group at RBC Wealth Management.
Andy McEnroe: We are thrilled to present our first two-part episode focused on growth equity investing in the government contracting market. Part one of our feature takes a look at Kevin Robbins, Co-founder and General Partner at Blue Delta Capital Partners. And we’ll cover the establishment of the firm and discuss its value proposition in the market. If you don’t know Kevin, you may have been hiding under a rock in the National Capital Region.
He began his career in investment banking working for Alex Brown and migrated toward the investing and operating sides of the industry, with successful stops at General Electric’s GE equity division, ABS Capital Partners, and SRA International. Following those more institutional endeavors, he established Blue Delta Capital Partners and co-founded Wolf Den Associates, a leading consulting firm in the government services space. He also helped lead the successful spinoff of its emerging technologies business, Dark Wolf Solutions.
Jenn Wappaus: What you’ll learn in this episode is how Blue Delta was created, and the relationships they have with their portfolio companies—that customer centric culture, which is so important to them. And part two of our discussion looks at the dynamics of working with a growth equity investor. We had the opportunity to sit down with Amy Bleken, CEO of Client Solution Architects, and Morgan Higgins, Principal at Blue Delta Capital Partners, to cover the working relationship between an operating entity and a growth investor. More on that episode to come, but right now, here’s our conversation with Kevin Robbins.
Andy McEnroe: We are excited to be joined today on “Beyond Strategy” by Kevin Robins, Co-founder and General Partner at Blue Delta Capital Partners. Kevin, thank you for being here.
Kevin Robbins: Thanks for having me.
Andy McEnroe: Before we dive into the creation and execution of Blue Delta Capital Partners, I’d like for our audience to learn a little bit about what drives you. What I mean by that is, what are the core values and goals that you set out to achieve for yourself as a leader?
Kevin Robbins: So, something in the Wayback Machine. Doug Baird, when I was a college senior, was giving a presentation on campus recruiting. And he said, “Be very careful who you work for first in your career, you will take the habits that you develop there with you for life.” And I shrugged it off as most 22-year-olds do and thought that’s not relevant to me. But lo and behold, I learned about Alex Brown, and Alex Brown had a very strong customer centric culture.
I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time, and then went from that very close-knit community into GE Capital, where everything was voice of the customer. And so, I think the first thing is that very strong commitment to putting a customer first. In our sense, at Blue Delta, who is the customer? Customers are first and foremost, our investors. And secondly, our management teams. And so, everything we do is about trying to align incentives from our management teams through us all the way to our investors. I had the good fortune also, of kind of restarting my career midway through. When I found the GovCon sector, I’m working at SRA where Ernst Waldron was very big on honesty and service.
It wasn’t just a slogan on a poster. Everything there was truly about honesty and service—that there was no right way to do the wrong thing. Always do the right thing, especially when somebody’s not looking. And this notion that you can do good while doing well, that we all had some obligation to give back. And so I think that’s another key piece here, is “all we are is our reputation.” We really pride ourselves on—even the companies we don’t invest in, always leaving them better than we found them. And I think that to a person, you’ll find that we’ve all found ways to give back and do good while doing well.
Andy McEnroe: You mentioned your time at SRA and your initial foray into the government contracting market. What drew you in here initially to this market?
Kevin Robbins: It was not a straight line. Despite my haircut, I was not for military, a lucky haircut. So, I had been working in private equity investment banking and had a mentor at ABS Capital, Phil Cloth, who pulled me aside and said, “Hey, you’re pretty good at this, but you don’t actually know how to do anything.” And I said, “Well, Phil, I’ve got like a decade of pretty gaudy W2 that begs to differ,” and he said, “No, no, what I mean is you need to go get on the giving end of a board brief, not the receiving end of a board brief, because it’s different.”
So, I sort of went home and didn’t really know what to make of that, but it was pretty clear that the path was limited at ABS. I needed to go find some kind of an operating role, and my family’s from the area, my wife’s family was in the area. We were not going to leave DC no matter what. So, casting around for an operating role in the mid-2000s, in DC, meant that I could be the first adult supervision at a software startup. I could be the last person turning the lights out at a bankrupt telecom, or I could go to work at a government contractor. So, I went down the path and actually had an offer to go be the first adult supervision at a software startup, and I pursued the path with government contracting.
And I remember sitting with Barry Landrieu at SRA, and I said, “Barry, I don’t understand your business model. It is from the outside slow growth, low margin, non-differentiated, highly regulated. These are all things that any one of which if I brought a deal to investment committee, I would get my hand slapped. So, what gives?” And Barry leaned back in his chair, he said, “It is so much more interesting than that, but you could never possibly imagine it from the outside,” and he said, “Come to SRA. I know it doesn’t sound that interesting but do deals for me, and I will teach you the federal business”.
And so, five years later, I had bounced around a bunch of different roles at SRA, eventually running a small business office there, and it was that. It was running the small business office as another duty is assigned, where every week we would meet with 20 some small businesses. We had a policy that any small that came recommended by a customer, or by an SRA employee, we would grant a 30-minute meeting. I didn’t sit in on all those meetings, but I sat in on probably a half a dozen, at least, a week. And I kept hearing all of these smalls that had interesting capability or interesting customer presence but couldn’t put it all together to make a company out of it.
They were trying to figure out, how do I go attract key talent? How do I bid full and open? How do I think about multiple award ID IQs? How do I protect the IP I’ve developed and keep it from becoming government property? How do I incentivize my employees with a stock option plan? And if you’re asking a small business liaison officer to prime contractor, there’s clearly nobody in the market that’s fulfilling that need. And so long story short, Mark Fronds and I got to talking, and here we are today.
Andy McEnroe: Where did you and Mark sync up and how did that conversation that you just alluded to occur?
Kevin Robbins: Sure. So, we work together at Alex Brown. True to form, there is still a big red Alex Brown flag hanging in my office here. We’ll take that wherever we go. We went our separate ways to stay good friends, but he was off at Carlisle while I was at GE, and then he did a stint while I was at SRA. And we actually came together in 08’, in a business sense. He was at my wedding, I was at his wedding.. And Mark was working with Tom McMillan, back when SPACs were last popular. And Tom was very close to closing a deal, but it wiggled off the hook for him. And they were 20 million bucks short on trying to get that deal put together.
So, Mark was helping Tom try to find where the money would come from and he called me, because I was at SRA, and said, “Who do you know, who would put money into a deal like this?” and I said, “Well, have you called all the control guys around town?” He said, “Yep, talked to all of them and they love the company, they know the management team, they like the sector, they’re comfortable with the check size, but they won’t take minority.” So, he called all the usual suspects in the venture community and said, “Yep, I’m comfortable with 20 million, don’t need to take control. We will not touch federal, not comfortable the regulations.
And so, Mark just asked me point blank, “Who does non-control equity for government contractors?” I said, “Well, nobody does.” And he said, “Let’s do that.” I said, “Well, I don’t think I’m really in a position to be a General Partner.” One income, two kids, a mortgage. Not exactly the face of GP-dom, and we had not invested together. So, we took the next nine or 12 months to figure out, why was nobody doing this? If it’s such a good idea, why is nobody else doing it?
We had to convince our wives that it was not the dumbest idea ever, and actually, a lot of our current advisory board is comprised of folks that we met with during that one-year period of whiteboarding, how many companies are there? What kind of help do they need? Could we provide that help or not? — to get ourselves convinced that it was worth kind of taking the leap.
Andy McEnroe: Since this podcast is called, “Beyond Strategy,” I assume out of that whiteboarding came your central tenants to the investment strategy that exists today. What are those tenants and maybe how did it evolve as Blue Delta matured?
Kevin Robbins: Yeah, this is the “so what” question. So, as we were looking at the sector, we were pretty convinced that there were a lot of these companies. The SBA does a great job of minting a new class of companies every year. They all need developmental assistance to get out of that kind of awkward adolescence, and so we got pretty convinced pretty quickly that there was market there, but we couldn’t figure out why nobody had ever done this before. What ultimately we came around to were a couple of factors that drive what we do today. The first is, there had never really been serial entrepreneurs in the federal sector. The old model was, this sector was basically built by cold warriors that left their government careers, started a second career in industry, and many of them have super voting stock in the corner office of those companies today.
It was just that. It was A, and then B. Coming out of 911, with a lot of these companies getting public, with a lot of the public companies then going on a buying spree, there was all of a sudden a lot of liquidity, a lot of management talent available, and we noticed a couple of things. One, the sellers generally did very well, but their number two through five, they got a six-figure check, maybe. They were back at work the next day and they were dealing with the integration headache, and they were looking over the wall wondering, “why couldn’t I start my own thing?” Those employees are loyal to me. Those customers know me, they don’t necessarily know my founder anymore.
So, we saw those folks starting to put their hand up and say, “I want to start my own thing” So that serial entrepreneur piece, and the importance of finding that talent, and giving them that ecosystem to recycle through, that was really fundamental, and we got excited about that. The second piece was the investing style. There’s a ton of buyout capital available in the sector. There’s a ton of senior debt available in the sector. What we saw was, there was nothing in between. Now, there’s a lot more now, 13 years later.
Back in 08’ 09’, at the peak of the Great Recession, there was not a lot of capital available for these companies to do much beyond working capital needs, or complete change of control. If you needed an air ball to go buy something, nobody was doing that post last recession. If you wanted to pay yourself a dividend, if you wanted to spend beyond what your rapid rates would afford into a net loss position, you could not go find that capital. So that was the second piece, was recognizing the talent was available for the first time to recycle through, and really created that necessary condition that they’ve had in Silicon Valley forever.
The second was realizing that the right style for these companies. They weren’t going to go run it for 30 years, they were going to build it and exit it in half that time. That the right style was a non-control form of equity that allowed them to be very flexible, very creative, but still keep the bulk of their chips on the table. Those are two, I’m sure there are others, but those were the big ones.
Jenn Wappaus: So, Kevin, you touched on this a little bit. There’s several, or tons, of capital out there in the market now. How does Blue Delta differ from the others?
Kevin Robbins: Yeah so, I just touched on one of them, we will not take control. We get asked a lot to take control. We’ve gotten quite creative to not take control in several cases. We think that’s an important hallmark, because it is more than just the economic or operational control. I think it solidifies a mindset here that we are partners to those management teams in growth. We are not their owners. They don’t work for us— quite the opposite. We work for them. So that’s one. Another is, we are very big believers in creating large option pools, Silicon Valley-esque option pools for our management teams. I don’t think we’ve ever made an investment where we created less than a 10% ungranted pool at close. We’ve even done ones that were north of 20% ungranted at close and those are very simple stock options.
They are not goofy transaction bonuses or phantom shares, or some of the other stuff that you’ll see around town. We are generally C-Corps. We have stock option plans, people can exercise those options, get long term cap gains. It’s quite lucrative and back to my kind of founding principles. It aligns the incentives all the way through the management teams as well. So that is a huge tool for us, and when it works, it works really well. When we were fortunate enough to exit Metis, we created 12 net new millionaires out of that option pool. So, forget the founders, forget us, there were 12 millionaires created. That’s powerful.
Jenn Wappaus: That’s a lot.
Kevin Robbins: It is. So back to my talent comment, some of those folks aren’t going to work again, but for the ones that do want to work again, who do you think gets their first phone call when they’re ready to work? So now we have this bench of available talent that wants to go do it again. So, you got the non-control aspect. You’ve got the large stock option pool. I think the last piece really is, we don’t look like a lot of other capital providers around town. We’ve really got probably more operating experience than investing experience.
Jenn Wappaus: You’re moving ahead on us. That was my next question for you. How did you bring the team together? Because you have the operational and investing experience.
Kevin Robbins: So when you go and meet with these small businesses that are going through transition, they are trying to figure out how to get through that awkward adolescent phase that I mentioned. Every one of those CEOs to a person will say, “I show up to work every day, I’m running the biggest company I’ve ever run.” They will follow that up quickly with, “…and boy, is it lonely”. They feel like they’re in the echo chamber. They don’t have peers; they don’t necessarily feel like there’s anybody who’s been in their shoes.
So rather than hang a lot of two and three-star generals on our menagerie of advisory boards, we really wanted to stack the deck deep with folks that had walked a mile in their shoes. People who could speak in the first-person, past tense, about any business challenge, and to get that person as your representative of your equity provider, not just as an advisory board member or a for-fee consultant, is really powerful. Because it means that it’s efficient for that management team. We can sit in the boardroom and wear an investor hat and an operator hat and have it all on the table in one session.
Andy McEnroe: Well talking about that partnership, and as a minority investor, as you referenced earlier, you do not control the asset, but can be very influential. You mentioned at the board level, I know we’ve heard from others in the market about the operational help as well, that can be provided. How are Blue Delta’s partners, the teams you put in place, influencing the strategy for your portfolio companies? And how do you also ensure that there’s a line of demarcation so that they’re not ending up competing against one another?
Kevin Robbins: Sure. So, we’re a little bit different in this respect, as well. We like an embrace concentration. A lot of people will run away from concentration risk. It’s important because most of those people rely on leverage, and many of the banks do not like concentration risk. We don’t like contract-concentration. We like customer-concentration or capability-concentration. So, we view each of our funds as a separate portfolio, where we are going to deliver to our investors the best of breed, highest growth, concentrated bets. And we’re gonna go make eight to 10 of those bets, and they’re going to provide diversification together. But each individual investment is meant to be concentrated, best of breed, and achieve highest possible enterprise value for whatever they are. We have to keep clear swim lanes for two reasons.
One, I don’t want two companies right on top of each other that have the exact same customer footprint, or overlapping customer footprint, or the same capabilities, or overlapping capabilities. Because then I’m not giving the value of diversification to my investors. I also don’t need at any given point in time, to have to put up firewalls and say, “Well, I can help you on that bid, but you can’t read Phil into it, because Phil’s got a conflict.” We need to be able to have the whole firm be able to move behind whatever the crisis du jour is, and these companies have crises right there. They are growth stage companies; they stub their toe all the time. We know that. It’s why we’re equity, not debt.
We need to be able to go student body left and put the entire firm behind something. We’re too small to have to put up firewalls and things. So, we try and get way out in front of any kind of potential overlap in the portfolio. We will draw out, what are your next five years? Where are you going at exit? What are you known for from a customer capability standpoint? Then work it back to today. Sometimes it does happen, that we have companies that are adjacent or slightly overlapping. The best mitigant is really to get the two CEOs in a room and say, “Look, I know you both competed on this specific bid, but this is the closest you’re ever going to be, because you’re both growing apart in different directions. So trust us.” Or, for example, we’ve had instances where we had a portfolio and it was very concentrated customer and we were getting late in the hold period, getting ready to exit. We would make a new investment in somebody that also touched that customer. So, they would pass in the night, gas and clutch. Right? So, the one that was exiting would come out, and as that conflict was clearing, we could put resources back into the one that was coming online.
Andy McEnroe: So based on some of the elements you just talked about in terms of capability and customer concentration, as you think about it from a portfolio perspective. What are the themes that Blue Delta is following at the moment that informs where your investment dollars are headed?
Kevin Robbins: So, we’re not really in the stock picking business, right? So, it’s a different mentality. We are investing now for companies that we are going to still be holding five to seven years from now. So that means through this presidency, into the next administration, probably into the president after that. And that’s a really bizarre time period to try and plan anything around. So, it means we tend to avoid the really hot or fast streams of money, right? So COVID response didn’t bother touching it. Ramping up in a in a particular theater, Afghanistan, Ukraine, etc. We tend to avoid it. We don’t do a lot of the kinetic things because we’re not smart enough, and we’re not built to time the market to do that.
So, what we look for, are enduring, long wave form IT, and personnel trends. So, we still like anything in IT O&M. I know, it’s not sexy. It’s not garnering a lot of headlines. But when you’ve got a customer who’s working on mainframe technology that still dates to the 70s and 80s, there’s a lot of value in the folks that have been applying the bubblegum and duct tape for the last four decades, right? And we like that. We also think that if you’re the IT O&M contractor, you’re in the catbird seat to help with modernization and digital transformation. So, we obviously like the modernization plays low code, no code. We like digital government plays, we’re in the very early innings of that phenomena.
We also like the enabling technologies that help those things happen. So, we like cloud migration, we like cybersecurity. So does everybody else. And for us, it’s really a question of, if we’re only making a handful of bets, I just listed way more sub sector themes than we could possibly invest in, we tend to be a little bit agnostic on that, and a little more religious on the management teams. I know you’re going to talk to Amy to hear her story. That was a case where we like the underlying domain, and the end customer that CSA serves, but for us was all about a management team. When you find a management team that happens to be oriented close to one of those theses, you jump on it.
Jenn Wappaus: So, let’s talk about that a little bit more. How have these partnerships been successful? And are there specific examples that you can point to where capital helped propel the company to the next level, and help them better serve their customers?
Kevin Robbins: Yeah, I think the two biggest examples I’ll give you. One is making a small company look much bigger, and the second is using our decades of operating experience and network in the sector to get a company access they couldn’t have had otherwise. I’ll give you an example of each. So, the first one is Tauri Group. When we invested in Tauri, we had known them for probably four years, we’d always liked the team, we always liked the capability. They had a chem bio rad new capability and some pretty high end scientific personnel, and liked the team but never could find that right rationale, right? I always joke. I’m in the business of selling equity, but I’ll be the first guy to talk you out of taking equity, because if I don’t believe that I’m going to make what you keep worth more than the dilution, you’re suffering. We’re wasting each other’s time.
So, for years, we had a conversation where cost would have a use of proceeds, and I’d say, “It’s not quite there. I don’t know that we can do enough for you to offset the dilution, you take from our equity, let’s keep talking.” He finally called and said, “Alright, it’s time. We’ve got a wave of bids coming and it’s one of these once every five-to-10-year cycles, where a bunch of bids are lining up. We are well positioned for them. I just don’t have enough resources to get after them.” So, we invested in Tauri and put 100% of our equity investment out the door in BD and BMP expense. That’s a risky strategy. You have to believe the management team knows the customer well. You have to believe they’re well positioned for these things. But we hired like 15 full time people in growth. In a span of nine months, we spent all of that money on 12 proposals. They won the first eight of them. The ninth one was cancelled, and offer started raining in from people that had lost on those first eight, that wanted to buy us before we bid on the next four.
The moral of the story there was, they were $30 million revenue business, but if you inject 5 million of BD and BMP into a $30 million business, you make them look like a couple 100-million-dollar company on any given bid they want to go after. That is really powerful and a really great use for us of non-control equity. You have to have the right team at the right point in time, but it was a great strategy for them. The other example I’ll give you as Metis, where we all had a hand in Metis. Mark did, Phil did, I did, and we really touched every element of growth there. We were helping with bids, we were helping with key hires, we were helping with a contract vehicle acquisition, a tuck in acquisition, and move our capabilities up market. It’s an example where every level or of growth, you can pull in a company we pulled, and it worked out really well. Right? It was, at the outset key hires some light organizational design around getting the right talent, some of which was already onboard into the right roles. We had a company that was 90 plus percent small business set aside when we made the investment. It was concentrated, probably about 40% of the business was in one contract.
Midway through our whole period, we were informed by the customer that they’d be repeating that small business contract, consolidating it with two other contracts in an unrestricted contract, but it was winner take all. So, there were three incumbents bidding, there were going to be two losers, and oh, by the way, they were going to recompute it on a vehicle we didn’t have. They told us which vehicle was moving towards. CEO Chris Wynes called us and said, “Alright, good news. It’s going on restricted. Good news, it’s going to be bigger. Bad news, we got some competition and we don’t have the vehicle. So how can you get the vehicle?” Phil, Mark, and I found out there were six holders on the vehicle, we reached five of them within the first 24 hours. Three of them came to the table and said, “Yeah, we’d be willing to sell our vehicle.” By the end of the first week, we had a handshake, and Chris was off to the races. So, he was able to get that vehicle acquired by mobilizing our network. They ended up winning the contract at a much higher run rate as a full and open business. And that was an incredible enterprise value creator for them, right? To go from that kind of concentration as a small business set aside to all, automatically flipping it all to unrestricted. We followed that up with a proprietary acquisition where a company that we probably would have loved to invest in, in fund one when we were a lot smaller. It was too small for us to touch in fun, too, by the time they called us.
We said, “Hey, you know, we can’t really touch it as a standalone, but you really ought to consider combining with our portfolio company Metis.” So we quick sticked what would have been a past deal over to the Metis. They tucked in the acquisition and added a lot of higher end Intel and analysis capabilities. So, by the time PE ultimately came knocking to buy that business, we had transformed the portfolio from set aside to full and open through Chris’s, good capture and our network. We had moved the capabilities up market by repurposing a proprietary deal that had come in through Phil, and we had $100 million business that was mostly full and open, mostly prime, and really didn’t even resemble the business that we invested in four years prior. That was just an example of everybody coming in and really leveraging all the different ways we know how to grow a company, and all the different personalities and networks we have here.
Andy McEnroe: Those are two tremendous success stories, and I know there’s a myriad of more from Blue Delta. But for firms that may be seeking a growth investment now, whether from Blue Delta or another capital provider, what advice would you give them in seeking that investment?
Kevin Robbins: Yeah, I would say know where you want to go. It used to drive me nuts when I was a small business liaison at SRA, that people would come in hat in hand and say, “Can you add me to a contract.” They didn’t have a sense of what their value proposition was. They just wanted that kind of handout. We get a lot of that here, too. Don’t come calling on us or any other growth capital provider if you don’t know where you want to go. We are thrilled to help talk about what that journey looks like. Which obstacles in your way. How we may or may not be able to remove those obstacles, but we need you to know where you want to go. Too often people come in and say, “Yeah, I just I want to get some capital”, and you say, “Well, what do you use that for?” They say, “I haven’t really thought that out yet.” Or they come in to talk and they say, “Yeah, I think I want to buy or I want to sell”, or, “I want to take a dividend. Not really sure.” And it seems sort of simple, it’s almost laughable, but have a sense of the end goal. You don’t have to know how you’re gonna get there, right? That’s why you’re here, we’re here to help you figure out the how, but if you don’t at least have a good sense of the what, it’s very hard for us to engage.
Andy McEnroe: As we progress towards the end of our time together today, what’s one lesson or experience that your career has taught you that you think every business leader or individual providing capital should learn at some point in their life?
Kevin Robbins: So, I’ll give you the lesson, but then I’ll give you the story behind the lesson. Which is probably way more interesting. The lesson I’ll give you as it generally cost about $10 million to train somebody in this business. The story behind that is, when I was doing my first investment at GE equity, I was 24 maybe. It was a IT sub sector thesis that I helped develop and I was on point to go find all the companies. generate a lead, bring it in, negotiate the term sheet, blah, blah, blah. I’ve done all of that and I had to go in front of the GE Investment Committee and if you’re picturing a dark room with an open U and you’re sitting at the opening. That’s what it is. It was pre-Y2K where we thought we were very cool going paperless. So not only were you sitting in that intimidating room, but you had to have everything memorized, right? So even your financial model, they had their laptops up and they could see it. You were sort of being quizzed. I was probably as white as these walls when I walked in, and John Flannery, who was running equity at the time, went on to run all of GE, eventually. John stopped me the door and put his arm around me. He said, “What are you so worried about?”. I said, “John, this is my thesis. This is a deal I sourced. I’ve negotiated it, and I’m about to face the firing squad here.” He goes, “Kevin, don’t worry about it. It costs 10 million bucks to train somebody in this business.” I said, “What?” He said, “Oh, we know you’re gonna screw up. We just built it into the model that you guys are gonna lose 10 million before you make us any money.” You don’t aspire to lose the 10 million bucks, but it was sort of his way of saying, “Hey, you know, you’re gonna get an opportunity to practice without a license here. The learning that happens in capital markets and private equity especially, it’s not the ones that worked out well. It’s not telling the story story. It’s not telling the meta story. There were bumps in the road, but looking back, those worked really well.
The $10 million story here is, we’re in the 13th year of a bull market. There are a lot of people that are partners with capital providers who were in college the last time we had a recession. They’ve never been principal investors through a down cycle. That’s really scary. That’s really dangerous. So far, we’ve had tremendous luck. I know we’re gonna lose money at some point on one of these, it happens. It has to. If you’re making enough bets, if you’re taking an appropriate amount of risk for the returns you’re getting, It’s going to happen. I think the lesson priority is just to know what’s coming. Try to avoid it, obviously, but put people in a position where they’re taking enough risk that, that sort of thing could happen, and then give them the guidance to make sure that they don’t.
Jenn Wappaus: So, we end all of our interviews with maybe the most important question that we ask. What is the most important thing we should know about Kevin Robins?
Kevin Robbins: So, I think you’ve probably figured out by now, but I do not take anything terribly seriously. It gets me in a lot of hot water a lot of times, because I will just lance people with a very dry, sarcastic comment. And they will sometimes not find the lands home correctly, but it can also be a tremendous asset when we’re in highly heated negotiations. We’re not doing brain surgery here, right? This is it’s just business, you got to have fun doing it. So I think for those that are uninitiated and they don’t realize that I am a bit of a smartass all the time, it can be a little off putting the first time.
Andy McEnroe: I think that’s a great way to end our conversation here today. Kevin Robins, co-founder and general partner at Blue Delta Capital Partners. Thank you for joining us.
Kevin Robbins: Thank you.
Andy McEnroe: Well, that was an outstanding conversation. I really appreciated the way that Kevin went into detail about the formation of the company and some of the guiding principles behind the Blue Delta Capital Partners. Jenn, it felt like we could have talked to him for hours.
Jenn Wappaus: Absolutely, he was fantastic.
Andy McEnroe: Well, a special thanks once again to Kevin Robbins for joining us on this episode of “Beyond Strategy” and ACG National Capital Region podcast. As we promised at the beginning, part two of this two-part feature is coming your way next. So, stay tuned for the conversation with Morgan Higgins and Amy Bleken. And a reminder, subscribe to this podcast wherever you get your podcasts from. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll catch you next time.
To learn more about ACG National Capital membership, click HERE.
To listen and read a transcript of Episode 4 of “Beyond Strategy,” a conversation with Amy Bleken and Morgan Morgan Higgins, click HERE.