Legendary private equity chief Henry Kravis has a tip for young entrepreneurs.
He talked a great deal about the culture and investing decisions at private equity firm KKR, which he co-founded with his cousin George Roberts, according to an interview with Bloomberg’s Jason Kelly.
KKR has enjoyed spectacular growth since it was founded in 1976. The private equity firm was once the most feared leveraged buyout firm on Wall Street, as documented in the book “Barbarians at the Gate,” which chronicled the brutal fight to control tobacco and food giant RJR Nabisco. KKR now has more than 100 companies in its portfolio, which generates nearly $200 billion in annual revenue.
Kravis was asked to dial back 40 years and give advice to himself and Roberts.
Here is Kravis (emphasis ours):
When you’re 32 years old and starting a company, you don’t know what you don’t know. Young entrepreneurs don’t have any fear. They don’t have any belief that they can fail. So here’s the advice I give young people: Believe in yourself, build an incredibly strong team, and focus on your company’s culture.
Also, if I can take one thing other than integrity and instill that in people, I’d want it to be curiosity. Because to me, people who are curious are going to be better investors and better stewards of others’ money. If there’s no curiosity, you’re basically doing something that’s already been done by someone else.
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