Eric Jensen: “For us – some things are non-negotiable” | Nordic Capital

Podcast: Eric Jensen, Operations Director, on investment rationales: “For Nordic Capital – some things are non-negotiable”

NOVEMBER 29 2023

In this episode of the Private Equity Podcast: Karma School of Business by BluWave, Eric Jensen, Operations Director at Nordic Capital Advisors, reflects on his own career journey and the evolving pathways into the world of PE. Additionally, he offers insights into Nordic Capital's strategic move towards the US market and the apparent industry practice disparities between the US and Northern Europe.

Eric Jensen, having spent decades in management consultancy and various operational roles within healthcare companies, made the transition to Nordic Capital in the US in 2022. In the Private Equity Podcast: Karma School of Business by BluWave, he elucidates his decision to venture into PE.

"More generally, I really liked the industry's emphasis on performance, and Nordic Capital really caught my interest with their focus on healthcare and the challenge of promoting the firm in the US. It's been fun to being part of expanding the team and the infrastructure over here," he said.

Since 2019, Nordic Capital has made eight investments in the US.

On the topic of investment rationales, Eric provides a fresh perspective, explaining that the evaluation process is not merely about assessing what a business currently has, but envisioning what it could achieve with the right guidance.

"Potential is perhaps the place to start. Because you don't want a company that's good at everything – then there's no need for us to add expertise and support in value creation. In due diligence processes, finding parts that actually don't function well is actually a good thing," he said, and added:

"But there're of course things that are non-negotiable. We look for companies that have best-of-breed products within their respective vertical. That's grounded in the belief that, over time, these companies tend to win disproportionally. We repeatedly ask ourselves whether these companies already fulfil certain criteria and whether they've the potential to accomplish more down the line."

Eric underscores the significance of identifying the value creation levers that Nordic Capital can leverage.

When asked about advice for young talents and his younger self, Eric highlights three key lessons:

  1. Don't take yourself too seriously: In my consulting days, I absolutely did that – I thought every meeting was a very high-risk situation and I exaggerated my own importance and the importance of what I was working on. But life is more fun if you don't take it too seriously.
  2. Keep reading: I was a ferocious reader back in the days, but stopped as I started working. When I turned 40, I picked this back up and said that I'll buy every book that I'm recommended.
  3. Careers aren't linear: There will be happy accidents. Enjoy the ride. I'm certainly doing it right now.

Key themes:

  • Operating dynamics and the importance of friction in working relationships.
  • Nordic Capital's recent investments and portfolio companies in the US.
  • Industry comparisons between Northern Europe and the US.

Listen to the full episode here.