Olympic rower to Venture Capital Investment Analyst

Movac Investment Analyst Peter Taylor

31st October 2019

Peter Taylor

My desk at Movac overlooking Courtenay Place in Wellington may seem a world away from the rowing lanes of Eton Dorney and all the other lakes I’ve competed on in my decade rowing for New Zealand. But it’s not that far removed when I think about all the skills and qualities I’ve gained and which I’m now putting to good use in my role as an investment analyst with Movac.

My crew mate and I won a bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012. But immediately afterwards, my life was in turmoil. Should I train for the 2016 Rio Olympics or, like my crew mate Storm Uru, should I move on to something new? I decided to give Rio a shot and spent the next four years training. Despite the disappointment of achieving fifth place – it was still an incredible experience. But after three Olympics and 10 years of hard work and dedication in the boat, the risks for me were increasing and it seemed like the right time to transition into a new career. 

But after Rio, the question was what career would burn a similar fire for me? 

Before I started my rowing career I was an associate at Deloitte and thinking about becoming a partner or perhaps a  CFO. While I was rowing, I studied for a Post Grad Diploma in Sports Management just to plug the void in my head that needed stimulating. I was very clear that I didn’t want to just become known as Peter Taylor – The Rower. There’s more to me than that short 10-year window in my life.

In the search for my next passion I was fortunate that rowing opened many doors. I talked to many people and made contact with anybody and everybody I knew, just to understand what they do and what they love about their jobs. Over three to four months I worked on a building site, learnt about supermarket sales distribution, talked to banks and accounting firms – all in an attempt to find out which industry and role would click with me. 

The investment industry and private equity appealed to me due to the calibre of people involved. They’re community leaders, people with a passion for NZ companies and who emphasise success. My main attributes are my values, resilience and work ethic but would these be transferable to the investment world? 

My first investment role was with Rangatira Investments based in Wellington and it was a bit of a reality check. The technical aspect of the industry meant I had to learn the ropes as a Jack-of-all-trades and it was a great learning experience. 

I moved on to Movac Venture Capital just over a year ago because of the quality of the team. My colleagues are the best in the VC industry. The four partners have attracted world class talent and I knew this was where I wanted to be, to learn and gain insights into the investment world.

I’ve found that my rowing and investment careers have merged as both require passion, commitment, competition and the ability to handle disappointment. Being accountable and taking ownership of everything you do are relevant in both worlds. The investment community provides opportunities to be exposed to new businesses, meet founders, understand the companies and be a part of their development and growth. I subscribe to the “no excuses” concept. If an investment thesis needs improvement or if I haven’t performed, what could I have done to make for a better outcome? I enjoy an investment challenge even if it puts me outside my comfort zone – it’s such a good way to learn. 

Passion, accountability, being challenged and a willingness to learn – that’s what my rowing career taught me, through all its ups and downs. Here at Movac I am concentrating on utilising all those qualities in the world of investment. It’s all about working alongside great people, dealing with those who want to succeed and businesses that want to be not only just great in New Zealand but great worldwide.

A bit like rowing really.

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