Ben Gibbons
IMPACT INVESTING

Ben Gibbons

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Founder and Managing Partner at Waterpoint Lane

You may not be C.E.O forever – Ben Gibbons

“A leader of an organization potentially, depending on the individual, should change and transition along the way . So the technical founder early on may not be the right founder or may not be the right leader for the organization post scaling up and growing. So having the self-awareness around that, I think, is critical.”

ABOUT

Focused career on investment banking and consulting support to growth stage and middle market companies with extensive experience across mergers and acquisitions, debt, equity and alternate capital financing transactions. Having grown up on a predominantly sheep and wheat farm in central New South Wales in Australia (Waterpoint Lane was the road leading up to the farm), in 2019, I re-established his connection with the land and sustainability of our food supply.

I see a need and an opportunity to drive change in the way we think about our food supply that secures a lasting and sustainable legacy for future generations.

I will focus on investing WPL’s equity and alternative capital through a limited partnership / co-investment structure to enterprises focused on the sustainable food system. Additional support will be provided to portfolio companies through business planning, strategy and growth advisory services.

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Ben Gibbons

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Awesome welcome to the supporters fund ask an investor I’m your host Jeffery Potvin let’s please welcome Ben Gibbons founder and managing partner of waterpoint Lane as our investor for today welcome Ben super pleasure to have you today.

Ben: Yeah looking forward to it Matt

Jeffery: Well Ben what I think is awesome about getting the opportunity to chat with you today is that I’m going to say that as far back as I can remember Canada has always been compared to Australia they always say it’s the same Market I’ve never actually got to ask this question and if I have it was never live so it kind of fits into the motion so we’re going to talk about that and the differences or if there is any and then outside that uh the way we like to kind of kick off our show is we want to learn a little bit about yourself if you can give us an overview all the way back from Deutsche Bank when you’re working as an analyst all the way through from uh Grant Thornton all the way up to RSM into where you are today and then one thing about you that nobody will know and then I’ll add that the other part that’s really exciting about our conversation is that from all the different areas that investors come in from you’re really hitting up on the food Tech side and I think that’s pretty exciting so I think there’s a lot of great things we’re going to talk about in the next hour so I turn it over to you Ben but chair away.

Ben: Yeah sounds fun well I’m definitely looking forward to the conversation and uh definitely looking forward to talking about the differences and and uh and otherwise between Australia and Canada show um so I get I guess to that point um yeah the accent is obviously Australian for those that are obviously uh maybe comparing it to South Africa or New Zealand but uh I I grew up in a sheep and wheat farm in Australia um and and that will become a feature of the the circularity to to the story to some degree um I uh I went to Sydney for University I was actually a materials engineer by study uh but very quickly realized that a career in engineering probably was ultimately going to be for me so I am uh managed to um uh end up at Deutsche Bank and and the the reason through that was uh I actually participated in a co-op program at uh at University and and my last work placement was with uh with the Telco in Australia um Telstra um and fortuitously to to this story they closed their materials research facility down just as I was rotating in and ended up in their business strategy team now kind of fast forward uh a little while and the the manager of that group basically sat me down and said what am I doing with my career in life and uh suggested that um I should have two paths one Investment Banking or a second on management consulting and he was a ex Management Consultant himself and you know one thing led to another and and as you pointed out I ended up at Deutsche Bank in in Sydney so you know direct from the fire hoses and Analyst at Deutsche Bank for a while there kind of learning the the financial markets you know having kind of studied it as an engineer um you know spent some time in London with that that group and then uh you know got an opportunity um to get exposed to a mid-market transaction um through Deutsche Bank which obviously not something that would they would typically work on most the transactions were working on a large you know multi-billion dollar kind of M A transactions a capital raises Etc and so that exposes to a mid-market space really gave me uh exposure to entrepreneurs and and I would say people that had a more vested interest in the transaction process then obviously you know like uh boards and management teams with large corporates did so uh that that appealed to me so I ended up um leaving Deutsche Bank and joining Grant Thornton in Australia um so I worked there for you know the better part of uh of 10 years or so uh before I met my now wife who’s a Canadian uh in Sydney uh she was there for us to comment and you know one of those that uh ended up being there for about three and a half years longer than she had originally anticipated uh but she did end up coming back to Canada and I followed her back across and uh that was in 2012 so uh just over 10 years ago now and um since that time I’d I’d worked at Collins Barrow which became RSM uh ultimately kind of leading their deal Consulting practice here again focused on m a corporate finance um but again in that mid-market space Entrepreneur Space working with you know family officers entrepreneurs High net wealth investors um and um and other mid-market clients sort of going through a transaction process um so then I guess the Confluence of events occurred you know on the on the professional side um you know I was I was leading um private Equity practice at RSM I was leading the deal Consulting practice found myself doing a lot of um internal work um less working with clients and then on the on the personal side you know obviously kind of covered rolled around it made a lot of people think about what they were doing with their life um and uh I’ve uh I guess at the time had a you know 12 month old daughter she’s now three and a half and that made me think about like the world that she was growing up into as well and so you know that’s where the Genesis for water Point Lane really started to to um you know kind of cultivate in my mind at least and then the Domino that really fell um to to creating water Point Lane was was ultimately when a family office approached me and you know they were looking at a an opportunity to invest in a in a food tech company a plant-based food opportunity and it’s just given my expertise in in the space to some degree that they’d that they’d seen I helped them through that transaction and I think facetiously at one point through the process said I’d write a check into that deal and they said well okay well if you’re going to write a check we’ll write one with you and we’ll do it together and you know we uh we put a you know a numbered Co together you know became that investor and then that that formed the Genesis for me putting a a plan to them around what I thought waterpoint Lane could be in relation to investing in in the food and AG space and they uh they were supportive of that strategy and that’s ultimately kind of where it went so I I left RSM in July of of um 2021 and launched uh waterpoint play officially in August of 20 21 and