Investing in the Babson Network
Charles Lorenceau ’06 is managing director at a private equity firm whose founders—and some clients—are Babson alumni.
In 2005, Adam Said ’04, Sherif Elhalwagy ’06, and Christopher Kile ’06 co-founded ACE & Company. In its first 10 years, the private equity firm has invested in a broad portfolio that includes fellow alumni businesses, and expanded its reach with offices on four continents.
Managing Director Charles Lorenceau ’06 joined the firm in 2011 after years of angel and early-stage investing in his spare time. “I’d met Adam, Sherif, and Christopher early on at Babson—we sat in class together, collaborated on group assignments, and ultimately became good friends,” he says.
By 2010, Charles was ready for a change from the investment banking career path he’d been on since graduation, and started talking more with the team at ACE. They realized their investment approaches were similar, and that joining forces was a natural next step. In 2012, he officially opened the London office for ACE, helping contribute to the firm’s growth and investment platform. “My favorite part of the job is meeting with exciting, passionate entrepreneurs who need our help with a specific subject,” he says.
“All my investments are memorable,” says Charles, “and I consider the companies we have in our portfolio like a big family, filled with children of different development levels, requiring more or less attention. Oftentimes, the most memorable investments are the ones that have encountered serious threats and problems, where our input has helped put the company back on track.”
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Charles also appreciates the special bond that he has found by investing in businesses run by fellow Babson alums. “It creates a sense of trust because of our shared background,” he says of investments in companies such as Virool, founded by Alexander Debelov ’10, and Lucidity Lights, founded by John Goscha ’06. “At the same time, it creates a bit more accountability and heightens the expectations on both sides.”
Both professionally and beyond, Babson remains an important part of Charles’ life. “It’s really striking to see that more or less all of my best college friends have embarked on an entrepreneurial path,” he says. “It makes for great conversation to share experiences and get real mentoring from peers.” He feels fortunate for the Babson connections he has made and is keenly aware of paying it forward, saying, “I would be happy to consider fellow Babson alums for job openings or investment opportunities.”
And, for those just getting started, Charles has a few words of wisdom: “Build a team of trusted and talented people to help both you and the business grow, and be ready to learn a lot both on the job and on your own so that you can differentiate yourself.”