Jeffrey Fidelman is the founder of Fidelman & Co., which was recently ranked #452 on the annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Jeffrey is an experienced venture capitalist, now consulting and investing in small businesses. In this interview with TechBullion, Jeffrey will be sharing with us, how and why he created Fidelman & Co and his success stories so far.
Please tell us more about yourself?
My name is Jeffrey Fidelman and I come from a background in banking, venture capital, real estate and consulting. I’m married with two children and live in Southport, Connecticut. I like to joke that I am one of the statistics that lived with my family in New York City until COVID-19 hit and quarantined us in Connecticut. We ultimately decided to stay here after my second child was born. I’m the founder of Fidelman & Co., which is a management consulting firm that specializes in strategy and finance. We are 100% remote with the majority of our consultants based in the US. I am driven by helping companies reach their potential and have a record of success in achieving
What is Fidelman & Co., how and why did you create the company?
Fidelman & Co. started out as a management consulting firm that is specifically focused on strategy and finance for early to mid stage companies and emerging managers. I started the company by accident, when I was coming out of venture capital. I decided to take a step back and advise some of the portfolio companies that I had been working with. These companies appreciated my advice and made referrals, which helped the company grow. We are now a 40-person, fully remote management consulting firm. We help businesses build their business by providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Could you give us a walkthrough of your business and how your services work at Fidelman & Co.?
Our clients come to us with an idea, whether it’s on a napkin or more developed, and we help them build their business by providing strategic consulting and financial advice. We work with early to mid stage companies and emerging managers in a variety of industries. Our services include fundraising collateral, strategy, and M&A advisory. We do not offer capital raising, as we are not brokers, but we can provide advice and resources for companies who are looking to raise money.
What inspired the decision to create a fund where you only invest in companies that you advise, giving you a “look under the hood” before you invest?
The idea for the fund actually came about a year or two into the course of business, when we realized that we had a long-term, competitive advantage in being able to advise companies prior to them going out to market to raise capital. We have worked on a number of seed or Series A raises for clients that now have billion-dollar valuations. Because we work with these businesses and get to know them intimately, we are in a unique position to make informed investment decisions when they are looking to raise additional capital.
Could you tell us more about your career before Fidelman & Co. and the success stories so far?
After college, I spent about 5 years working in investment banking. Half of that time was spent at Morgan Stanley, and the other half was at HSBC. I was a portfolio manager on a team of 2, and we were responsible for managing the investments of some of the wealthiest individuals in the world. During my time at Morgan Stanley, I was there during the acquisition and merger of Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney. This provided us with a windfall of new client assets, as well as the opportunity to start managing the accounts of Russian, Kazakh, and Ukrainian clients. Once Morgan Stanley finished the acquisition of Smith Barney, they began to look at these international accounts with enhanced due diligence and requested that a lot of them be closed down. This is what led to my move to HSBC. At HSBC, I ultimately ran strategy for the Manhattan division, focused on all of their revenue products including banking, lending, insurance, and wealth management. While at HSBC, I was recruited by a family office to help them start a venture capital fund. So I left banking and went on to become a partner at the venture capital fund. We were making investments in early stage tech and tech-enabled companies. Over the course of a year, we allocated a little over $100 million into 47 companies. Once that fund was allocated, the family decided to go into portfolio maintenance or management mode, and I left to begin consulting and advising on some of those portfolio companies and other businesses that did not make it into our portfolio.
Fidelman & Co., was just ranked #452 on the annual Inc. 5000 list, what does this mean for you and the business?
We have experienced some incredible growth since COVID-19 hit and this ranking is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication. Being on the Inc. 5000 list is a huge accomplishment and we hope to maintain our spot on the list for years to come. I think our ability to work remotely while still providing high-quality service to our clients has really set us apart and enabled us to continue growing, even during these tough times. We’ve grown purely organically, without spending any money on marketing, and that’s really a testament to the strength of our team and our business model.
How should startup companies prepare before working with consulting and investing firms?
The best advice I can give any business that is looking to work with a consultant or investing firm is to be prepared with what you want. It’s very difficult for a business to approach a consultant without knowing what they want and just saying, “this is our situation, please help us.” I understand that a lot of businesses are looking for answers from consultants, but in my opinion, the best consultants are the ones that ask the best questions and help clients find those answers.
So, for example, if you are doing a financial modeling for a startup company, upon completing the model and the client’s review, one of the pieces of feedback should not be “it doesn’t look right.” It should be “what do you actually want it to look like? What do you think the investor wants to see?” Has the investor actually told you anything? The client should be able to give you some useful feedback.
If you do not understand something, or if you are not clear on what actually needs to be delivered, it’s going to be that much harder for a consultant to actually provide you with that deliverable. All of this should be clarified prior to ever contacting a consultant or, at the very least, on that initial discovery call prior to engagement. Who are your customers and what kind of consulting or investing firm do you want to work with? Answering these questions will help you be better prepared when working with a consultant or investing firm.
Who are your customers and what kind of companies are you looking to work with?
Our customers are early to mid stage businesses or emerging managers. We work with companies that are looking to go through some sort of transaction, such as raising capital, selling their business, or buying another business. We also work with fund managers who are looking to raise a first time fund or a series of funds.
What are you currently working on at Fidelman & Co., any available opportunities for investments and partnerships
At Fidelman & Co., we are currently raising a venture style fund with a cornerstone thesis of investing only in current or past clients of the consulting firm. The fund itself will be industry agnostic, and we’re raising $100 million. Another point of the thesis is that we will never lead a round in order to avoid any conflict of interest with investments, with investors and or clients.
Do you have more information for our readers?
If you’re interested in learning more about our firm or our services, please visit our website or contact us directly either at www.fidelmanco.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a call with us via calendly: https://calendly.com/fidelman to begin a conversation about how we can help you achieve your business goals.