Oleg Jelesko - Da Vinci Capital Management: An Evolution in Investments

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Oleg Jelesko - Da Vinci Capital Management: An Evolution in Investments
08 Mar 2024
4 min read

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In the dynamic realm of investment management, few figures stand as emblematic of entrepreneurial vision and strategic prowess as Oleg Jelesko, the founder of Da Vinci Capital Management.

With a career trajectory spanning continents and industries, Jelesko's journey from his early days in Kazakhstan to the pinnacle of the finance world is a testament to his relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation.

Educated in Moscow and steeped in the nuances of engineering, Jelesko's foray into finance began in the early 1990s during an exchange program in the United States, where he was exposed to the epicenter of financial innovation.

Subsequent stints at Andersen Consulting and McKinsey & Company equipped him with invaluable insights into corporate finance and strategic consulting, laying the groundwork for his future endeavors in investment banking.

In 2007, armed with a wealth of experience and a visionary outlook, Jelesko founded Da Vinci Capital Management, ushering in a new era of private equity investment marked by innovation and strategic acumen.

As Jelesko continues to chart new territories and shape the future of investment management, his legacy stands as a beacon of excellence in an ever-evolving industry landscape.

Oleg Jelesko - Da Vinci Capital Management: An Evolution in Investments

The founder of Da Vinci Capital, Oleg Jelesko, has been working in the corporate finance sector for several decades. He transitioned into shaping his own business entity in the latter half of the 2000s. By that time, he was already equipped with professional independence and a comprehensive background in investment management.


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Oleg Jelesko: His Starting Point in the United States and the United Kingdom

Born in Kazakhstan and having acquired an engineering education in Moscow, Oleg Jelesko discovered his passion for finance in the early 1990s. By that time, he had already visited the United States — the birthplace of many financial innovations and cutting-edge securities trading technologies. Oleg Jelesko spent six months there while participating in an exchange program at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

The journey of the future expert in the private equity sector, Oleg Jelesko, commenced in the year 1992 when he assumed the role of a consultant within a firm that specialized in delivering professional services aimed at enhancing business efficiency. The company Andersen Consulting, which is now known as Accenture, expressed interest in the 23-year-old specialist who possessed a quality education and demonstrated proficiency in the English language.

The knowledge Oleg Jelesko had garnered in the fields of economics, information technology, and advanced mathematics during his academic tenure proved to be his competitive edge. The nascent consultant was entrusted with collaborating with representatives from the high technology and media sectors.

Oleg Jelesko took his place in the London office of Andersen Consulting. There, he was involved in the formulation of strategies for client companies, assisting in the optimization of costs and the enhancement of operational activities.

Oleg Jelesko was driven by a desire for professional advancement, which led him, after three years, to transition to the team of a more prominent market player — McKinsey & Company. This firm is part of the upper class of global consulting networks, often referred to as the “Big Three.” These entities specialize in providing strategic consulting at the CEO-1 level (vice presidents) across all industries and functional areas.

As a consultant for the top-tier firm, Oleg Jelesko worked with the management of companies within the financial sector. One of the projects he engaged in within the ambit of McKinsey & Company was related to the advancement of a major Czech bank. During the same period, the financier underwent management training as part of a specialized business course designed for employees of the consulting company.

Oleg Jelesko at Credit Suisse First Boston: Appointment to a Landmark Position

Oleg Jelesko continued to advance and grow professionally. Having acquired substantial experience in corporate finance and having gained insights into the workings of business systems and the nuances of various business models, he decided to embark on a new path within the investment banking sector.

In 1998, an opportunity arose with the position of Vice President of Business Development and Executive Director within a pertinent structure of the international market at Credit Suisse First Boston. This role was offered to Oleg Jelesko.

Upon assuming his new responsibilities, the specialist worked with the securities trading sectors for issuer companies in the emerging markets of the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) region.

Credit Suisse First Boston, where the future founder and head of his own investment fund, Oleg Jelesko, was building his career path, belonged to the group known as "sharks of Wall Street." The company, with its headquarters nestled in the financial center of the USA — New York City — was known for its stringent investment policy.

As the investor himself notes, in this bank "everything was honed with a focus on money." The company's experts were good at fundamental and technical knowledge, which, when blended with their business judgement, enabled them to discern profitable transactions.

According to Oleg Jelesko, this stage of his career was rather interesting and played a pivotal role in significantly broadening his expertise in the realms of financial products and investment. Under the Vice President's supervision, transactions were carried out that resulted in the enlargement of companies and the increase of their capitalization through mergers and acquisitions (M&A). During the five years that Oleg Jelesko dedicated to the investment bank, approximately $1 billion was invested into emerging markets.

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Oleg Jelesko: The Renaissance Era

The consultancy and investment banking skills that Oleg Jelesko had honed over 12 years laid the groundwork to contemplate establishing his own enterprise. By the mid-2000s, this notion had taken on a definitive shape, complete with a model and strategy. However, it was only after a span of three years that this vision could be actualized for Oleg Jelesko – Da Vinci Capital was the result.

The reason for this delay was that the top manager found himself unable to decline an offer from one of the most renowned and respected figures in investment banking – Stephen Jennings, the founder and, at that time, the head of Renaissance Capital.

Jennings managed to convince Oleg Jelesko to hold off on launching his own commercial entity. In its stead, he extended an offer for a top-tier position that was tantamount to the role of a partner at one of the leading direct investment companies operating within the RF.

At that time, Renaissance Capital had already established itself as a dominant force not just within the confines of the country but also across the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, wielding considerable influence and shaping investment trends across these regions.

Over the span of three years, Oleg Jelesko took a managing role over six pivotal areas of operation in Renaissance Capital, including derivative financial instruments, encompassing futures and forward contracts, options agreements, and swaps.

The advantage of these financial instruments lies in their high potential for profit, offering the possibility to reap rewards whether the price of the asset increases or decreases, thus presenting a versatile tool for sophisticated investment strategies.

Another sector under the supervision of Oleg Jelesko within the bounds of Renaissance Capital pertained to structured products, which are financial instruments amalgamating both high-risk and protective components. These financial tools are designed to generate earnings through the appreciation, depreciation, or fluctuations of various underlying assets, including stocks, indices, currencies, or commodities traded on exchanges.

Furthermore, Oleg Jelesko  was instrumental in overseeing the processes involved in the creation and initiation of innovative tools aimed at delivering a range of financial services and offerings. During his tenure, Renaissance Capital saw the introduction of a novel platform dedicated to investments in non-financial tangible assets.

These types of investments are regarded as unconventional, primarily because the investment objects are not securities but, for instance, include real estate, art pieces, and luxury goods.

This approach facilitates the diversification of the investment portfolio and provides an added layer of capital protection: alternative investments are insulated from the fluctuations and dynamics prevalent in the stock market.

Leveraging these alternative investment avenues, clients of Renaissance Capital were collectively able to secure approximately $200 million, while successfully channeling $5 billion into the equity capital of companies operating within emerging markets, thereby contributing to their growth and development on a substantial scale, emphasizes Oleg Jelesko.

The division led by Oleg Jelesko was instrumental in establishing such funds as RenShares Utilities, which is focused on investing in the shares of electric power companies from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Renaissance Pre-IPO Fund, which allocates resources to companies in the preparatory phase for an Initial Public Offering, and Renfin, designed specifically for investments into entities within the financial sector.

This strategic formation of diverse investment vehicles under the guidance of Oleg Jelesko highlights the multifaceted approach to tapping into various sectors, thereby broadening the investment horizon and offering investors a wide range of opportunities for capital allocation across different segments of the market.

Oleg Jelesko: Da Vinci Capital Management

Upon successfully navigating and accomplishing the tasks that were delegated to him in his role as a senior manager at Renaissance Capital, Oleg Jelesko initiated the process of bringing his business vision to fruition. In 2007, he entered into the private equity sector armed with an independent commercial venture and rapidly secured his standing as the founder of what would become one of the foremost companies in investment management.

This transition underscores the adeptness of Oleg Jelesko at not only meeting the high expectations set before him in the corporate finance world but also his capacity to innovate and carve out a significant niche for himself within the competitive landscape of private equity.

The enterprise that was established by Oleg Jelesko, Da Vinci Capital, presently manifests itself as a sophisticated amalgamation comprising several multifaceted investment funds.

Benefiting from the robust support of DEG, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), along with other substantial institutional investors, Da Vinci Capital proficiently oversees a portfolio of assets that surpasses the substantial threshold of the equivalent of half a billion dollars.

This configuration highlights the breadth and depth of the engagement in the financial landscape from Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital, showcasing its ability to navigate and amalgamate diverse investment avenues under the umbrella of one overarching organization, thereby cementing its position as a pivotal player in the realm of global investment management.

In conjunction with Da Vinci Capital, Oleg Jelesko, managing partner for the company, is in the process of assembling a portfolio consisting of globally renowned companies, providing these businesses with comprehensive assistance in the realms of strategy development, corporate governance, financial performance, mergers and acquisitions, capital market transactions, as well as in the formulation and implementation of environmental and social policies.

Over the span of 14 years of the company's operation under the guidance of Oleg Jelesko, more than 20 investment transactions have been executed, and the cumulative value of the assets that have benefited from financing currently exceeds the remarkable sum of $30 billion.

This impressive track record underscores the fund's commitment to fostering the growth and development of world-class enterprises, aiding them not only in financial aspects but also in adopting sustainable and responsible business practices.

Among the primary initial public offerings that Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital have facilitated are noteworthy entities such as Softline Holding plc, EPAM Systems Inc., and JSC B2B-Center.

The company's portfolio investments encompass securities from a global custom software developer, DataArt, an information and cloud technology service provider, Softline, a platform for mobile advertising powered by artificial intelligence, LoopMe, and other rapidly expanding businesses.

This eclectic array of investments reflects Da Vinci Capital's strategic approach to identifying and nurturing companies across a broad spectrum of industries and technological frontiers, thereby contributing to their growth trajectories and enabling them to achieve significant milestones, including successful listings on stock exchanges.

This strategy developed by Oleg Jelesko not only diversifies the investment portfolio but also positions Da Vinci Capital as a key player in the elevation of dynamic and innovative businesses on the global stage.

Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital Foundation: Investment Focus

Oleg Jelesko identified the most important fields for investment during the initial stage of creating his company. Da Vinci Capital focuses on projects that can provide a reliable income from added value. The priority areas include the financial technology sector and mature high-tech businesses with global ambitions.

The investment horizon ranges from two to five years. Exiting from a deal is carried out by selling the package to a strategic investor or through an IPO.

The team at Da Vinci Capital, headed by Oleg Jelesko, is comprised of specialists from leading international companies, including Credit Suisse, McKinsey & Company, Accenture, and Renaissance Capital. Their track records represent a solid history of achievement in private equity, general management, investment banking, trading, structuring, and strategic management consulting.

The compensation for fund managers typically amounts to 20% of the return-on-investment capital exceeding the benchmark. There is also a minimum threshold, which is quite high and ranges from 5 to 10% annually in dollar equivalent. This approach motivates the specialists of the company under Oleg Jelesko to demonstrate the highest possible performance, upon which their share of the profit depends.

Da Vinci Capital uses its own private equity fund model, combining the profitability of a classic PEF with the accessibility and liquidity of a public company's shares. Additionally, Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital offers hedge funds, believing that simple investments banking on overall market growth have become obsolete and that it is time for more sophisticated strategies.

Furthermore, the financier and his business structure have developed products with innovative elements, leaving competition among traditional financial instruments to the larger market players.

The company's policy regarding portfolio assets, formulated with the participation of Oleg Jelesko, enables a threefold increase in their domestic market value over the investment period. In this case, Da Vinci Capital's income amounts to approximately 30%.


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