Navin Chauhan (MSc Investment Management, 2007) is a partner and Head of Business Development at Victory Hill Capital Advisors LLP who have recently completed a very successful fund raise for their listed Fund (VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc) IPO on the London Stock Exchange. We spoke to Navin about this achievement, his time at the Business School and his experiences mentoring current students.
Can you tell me a bit about your time at the Business School and why you chose to study here?
The Business School very much had its own entrepreneurial spirit that ran through its brickwork. The staff and my peers shared this same drive, and this alignment was the key factor that drew me in. I did my undergraduate degree at City University, so I already had an insight into the accolades The Business School held. I still did a lot of research when it came to choosing my post-graduate degree: my research told me that it was ranked amongst not only one of the best courses in the UK, but also the world.
The location was hugely important. Being in the heart of London provided a cosmopolitan feel and attracted international connections which gave the Business School a strong global feel. My time here was very enjoyable, but also challenged me to reach my full potential. Classes were taught by world-leading professors, who clearly had incredible expertise in their field: their passion was infectious.
Choosing the Business School was clearly the right choice for me: almost 15 years on, I can confirm that having the Business School on my CV has helped me enjoy an advantage in interview rooms. I am incredibly thankful for this experience which not only provided me holistic teaching, but also directly facilitated my career path.
How has your career developed since you graduated?
Like so many young professionals, I didn’t start with a deliberate plan. In many ways, this allowed me to adapt to new opportunities that arose. Reflecting on the development of my career, I don’t think I could have deliberately structured or planned things any better.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to start roles at Russell Investments and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, both within the third-party funds space. From there I quickly moved into a research and portfolio management role at Quilter Cheviot. I worked on the buy-side for approximately 10 years before moving to the sell-side , joining Cantor Fitzgerald and working on the investment funds sales desk.
When the global pandemic hit in early 2020, I began to explore my options. The stars aligned when a good friend, Anthony Catachanas (Victory Hill Capital Advisors CEO), approached me to discuss VH’s ambitions and focus on sustainable energy. I joined as Partner and Head of Business Development; the firm was incorporated in 2020.
Your firm has recently completed a very successful fund raise for VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities raising £242.6m from its initial public offering! What does this mean for you and the firm?
In short, it means everything! There is no way we could have achieved this without the relentless work put in by the entire team. Every member was aligned towards a specific shared goal with the same drive and ambition.
We had the ambition of being an asset manager for funds investing in global energy transition. The flagship fund was recently listed on the London Stock which targets direct investment in energy infrastructure projects globally, directly supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There was a real sense of achievement to be able to work to international environmental goals – which is not something generally associated with the industry as we approached it. Being able to deliver despite the challenges seen by so many last year, makes this success all the more precious.
For anyone who would like to follow in your footsteps, what is your advice?
Part of success is discovering your own path. This can be quite frustrating advice as people are often after a blueprint for success. Unfortunately, a prescriptive approach rarely works as external forces are always changing the landscape. What worked for me 15 years ago, won’t necessarily work now. The best advice I can give is to follow your passion: if it’s your passion, it never feels like ‘work’, but rather challenging yourself. If you follow your passion, you’ll enjoy what you do and when you enjoy what you do, it is infectious. Others can see your passion for the project and want to join you with it. Everyone has a different definition of ‘success’, but that sounds like a pretty good one to me.
Thank you for speaking to us, Navin. Look out for our upcoming article about Navin’s experience as a professional mentor in the next few weeks!