Breaking into Private Equity with Katherine de Kruiff

Katherine de Kruiff

  • Study: Quantitative Marketing and Business Analytics
  • Current occupation: Associate at Torqx

Our latest article highlights the career of Katherine de Kruiff, who was recently awarded with Best Young PE Manager. Read more below!

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about how you got into Private Equity.

Katherine: My journey into Private Equity wasn't exactly planned. After studying my bachelor’s degree in Econometrics in Rotterdam, I participated in the gap year program of Roland Berger, which consisted of 3 months at their Amsterdam office, 3 months in their Dubai office, and a rotation at the start-up Felyx, an electrical scooter company. After my gap year, I still had to complete my master’s degree. I decided to study the master's Quantitative Marketing and Business Analytics and to broaden my horizon by signing up for an inhouse day at Torqx which was organized by the financial committee at my student sorority. During the inhouse day at Torqx, I became highly enthusiastic about the strategic elements of Private Equity and the long-term involvement combined with the hands-on approach at Torqx, and of course a very fun and diverse team!

How did your academic background in econometrics prepare you for your role in Private Equity?

Katherine: Econometrics provided a solid foundation in modeling and analytical thinking which is very useful within Private Equity. The ability to structure problems in a structured way is a skill I developed during my studies and has been immensely beneficial in my day-to-day work. While I use some of these modeling skills, it's the analytical mindset that proves invaluable in dealing with the challenges of Private Equity.

Transitioning from consulting to Private Equity is a significant shift. Can you elaborate on what aspects of private equity, particularly at Torqx, stood out for you during this transition?

Katherine: Torqx really embodies an entrepreneurial mindset. We are closely involved with our portfolio companies in every step of the way, starting by doing the commercial due diligence internally until closely monitoring the progress of a company during the holding period until the Exit. Hence, Private Equity at Torqx goes beyond merely advising companies (as I did during my time as a strategy consultant). At Torqx, we translate strategical findings into an actionable plan to further build and improve the direction of the company. For me personally, the entrepreneurial mindset at Torqx really stood out and provides a very nice learning atmosphere where I am inspired to create my own successes and to develop myself on multiple axes to experience a steep learning curve.

Are there any current market trends in PE that you have noticed?

Katherine: The past years have definitely been interesting with the COVID pandemic having a significant influence on the supply chain, partially causing the rising inflation and as a result rising interest rates. With rising interest rates, the cost of debt also increases thereby limiting the amounts of debt a company can serve. As a result, many companies have awaited market circumstances to stabilize before selling, causing a slow-down in the activity in the Private Equity market. However, as market circumstances become more challenging, opportunities arise and Torqx aims to make use of a ‘good crisis’, and utilize the
opportunities that come with it.

You mentioned Torqx’ proactive approach despite the economic slowdown. Can you share more insights into how Torqx adapts to challenges and capitalizes on opportunities?

Katherine: Torqx embraces a proactive and risk-taking approach. Despite the market slowdown, we’ve been actively investing in companies like Nexio Projects, Beter Bed and ELCEE over the last year. We believe that challenges come with opportunities and that well-prepared companies can seize the opportunity in these moments, capitalizing on the momentum. Torqx’ hands-on approach and willingness to take on challenging and complex situations, positions us favorably in navigating and benefiting from volatile market dynamics.

Torqx follows a sector-agnostic approach. How does this diversification contribute to the firm’s strategy?

Katherine: At Torqx we are sector-agnostic, allowing for a broad range of investments and, leveraging the extensive experience of the team across industries. We explore opportunities in distribution, retail (e.g. Beter Bed), services like consultancy, and many more. This diversity not only enriches our portfolio but also enables us to best apply our practices across different sectors.

Can you shed light on Torqx’ involvement with its portfolio companies? To what extent does Torqx become actively engaged in the companies' daily operations or its management?

Katherine: While we maintain a hands-on approach, we never take on the managerial roles at one of our portfolio companies. Management is and remains in charge of running the business. However, we do engage with management (and founders) on a regular basis through monthly meetings to discuss the financial performance, but most importantly to evaluate the strategic direction and accompanied actions.

Team dynamics play a crucial role in the success of any firm. Can you share more about Torqx’ team culture and diversity?

Katherine: Torqx boasts a diverse team with professionals from varied backgrounds ranging from studies in engineering to econometrics and financial economics. In addition, we have team members who have extensive experience within consultancy and investment banking, but also team members who have been entrepreneur or C-level management themselves. Besides the varied backgrounds, we have a diverse team with an equal male-female ratio fostering a collaborative and inclusive atmosphere. We regularly engage in team-building activities, for example, the Torqx team runs every Wednesday, and have fun outings which contribute to a positive work environment and a close-knit team.

In closing, what do you believe sets Torqx apart in the private equity landscape, and how do you see the future of private equity evolving?

Katherine: Torqx' entrepreneurial mindset and hands-on approach differentiate us in the market and allow us to enter into successful partnerships with founders and to take on challenging opportunities. The diverse team with a broad set of backgrounds ensures a high-performance culture where we constantly challenge each other and embody a steep learning curve. Looking ahead, there will never be a dull moment in the market of Private Equity which continuously evolves, and Torqx is looking forward to seizing the opportunities across the various industries.

Opportunities at Torqx
Internship at Torqx:
Torqx offers top talent the opportunity to work in the investment team for a number of months. As an intern, you will be involved in all aspects of the investment process and you will be a full member of the investment team. Your activities include:
● Analysing markets and sectors;
● Analysing investment proposals (“IMs”);
● Support in the execution of investment processes (“deals”);
● Support for activities within our portfolio companies.

Internship at Torqx

Young Business Accelerator Programme (Working student):
TYBAP offers high-potentials the unique opportunity to work on a strategic business project at a portfolio company of Torqx. As a Business Accelerator, you will be supporting management and solving substantial business challenges by performing analyses, (desk) research, and by offering a fresh perspective. You will not only really add value to the business, but also learn a lot through the coaching of experienced senior managers and Torqx investment professionals. A project’s duration may range from a couple of weeks to a few months and requires a minimum time commitment of 3 days per week. Starting dates are flexible and can be discussed per project.

Young Business Accelerator Programme

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