“The Baltic countries offer many investment opportunities. We should be doing more there”, said Tomasz Czechowicz, founder of Poland’s leading private equity group, MCI Capital, at last week’s Baltic M&A and Private Equity Forum in Vilnius. MCI keeps their eyes open to find good investment targets and can help firms, he added.
Czechowicz, who today acts as the Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer at MCI Capital, where he also remains a shareholder, expressed his disappointment over not being able to invest in successful Estonian taxi network Taxify, as Chinese Didi Chuxing beat him to the game. “Taxify would be more successful in the Polish market with the help of Polish private equity investment”, he noted.
Instead of Taxify, MCI Capital’s portfolio now includes Gett, another ride sharing company with a global reach. According to Czechowicz, Gett – with its back office in Belarus – has all the makings of becoming a global threat to Uber.
At the moment, MCI Capital has two Baltic companies in its portfolio – Pigu.lt, a Lithuanian leading online retailer, and ABC Data, a leading CEE computer, software and consumer electronics distributor. Negotiations with potential investment targets are currently under way.
Czechowicz emphasised the message that it is not the size of the domestic market that determines the success of a company, but rather the quality of the company’s operating platform. “First, you build national champions, then you build regional champions, then you build European champions – that’s how we do it”, said the seasoned Polish investor. He added that “old sectors” also offer many opportunities.
According to Czechowicz, Estonia is at the frontline of growing global success stories in Central and Eastern Europe, followed by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.
Focused on digital disruptors and transformers, MCI Capital is one of the most successful private equity and venture capital funds in the region. Listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2001, MCI Capital has EUR 500 million under management and its net IRR (internal rate of return) stood at 25% at the end of 2016. The group has closed over 60 investment projects.
Tomasz Czechowicz made a fortune in the 1990s when he founded JTT Computer, the largest computer producer in CEE at the time, and later launched the first venture capital fund in the region.