Reversing the Equation and Multiplying by Results
“I think I was probably 10 years old when I started my first business – selling candies to kids in school,” says Scott Stevens. Since then, Stevens has made the big move from candy to technology and consumer with the launch of his global investment firm, Grays Peak Capital, in 2014. With over 20 years of experience in the global investment sector, his devotion to educating and his entrepreneurial spirit have propelled him further into the world of investment.
Stevens grew up in the ever-evolving New York City, which he notes as a key factor in his early development. “The pace of growing up here is pretty fast so a lot of people grow up quicker than they expect but I enjoyed it,” recalls Stevens. This rapid maturity along with his passion for entrepreneurship steered him further down a path towards a career in business; however, it was not always clear what area he would focus on. “I was always interested in business. I was always evaluating different industries and companies but I wasn’t sure which area of business would best fit me,” explains Stevens.
Upon launching Grays Peak Capital, Stevens’ early concentrations focused on the public markets. Although there have been a number of evolutions since, Stevens reflects on his early decisions for the firm: “When we first started, we were focused on one area,” he reveals. “Since then, we came to the conclusion that there were significant opportunities in the private market. The stock market has become tax-inefficient for most of wealthy individuals and family offices so we formed our private-equity division in early 2018 and capitalized on the demand for that asset class.”
“Our culture reflects people who can analyze problems differently and come up with creative solutions and structure.”
Another major adjustment for Grays Peak Capital has been in their hiring process. “The mistake that’s always hard to navigate is hiring,” he says. “We spend a lot more time making sure we know people before we hire them and making sure their values and character fit with our culture.”
Stevens describes the culture at Grays Peak Capital as “a culture of entrepreneurship.” He elaborates more on the company’s values, adding, “Our culture reflects people who can analyze problems differently and come up with creative solutions and structure. People who can adapt and change over cycles are the people who best fit within our culture.”
As the son of a doctor, Stevens quickly noticed how much of a necessity medicine was at an early age. “My father was a medical doctor so early on I saw a need for medical and pharmaceutical products,” he explains. “I became very interested and began investing in many companies that were trying to create organic and homeopathic products.” One of the questions which he constantly finds himself asking is, “How can we find other ways to help people?” This desire to aid along with his interest in organic products has manifested into an interest in the CBD industry for Stevens.
As an investor in the CBD industry, Stevens notes his biggest challenge as “educating people about what the product actually is.” He further reveals, “A lot of people question what it can be used for and where it is from. The challenge we’ve faced is figuring out how CBD fits into the longer-term global healthcare system and how to integrate it into what could potentially be over-the-counter drugs.” To combat this challenge, he makes it a priority to invest in developing premium products to help not just people but also animals. Adds Stevens, “One thing we try to do is to create very high-quality products at good price points. We’re very excited about our pet line, which helps dogs, cats, and even horses with multiple ailments.”
While Stevens plays a role in CBD investment, it isn’t his concentration. “CBD is one part of our portfolio but it isn’t our primary focus,” he describes. “Our goal has always been about partnering with great brands; this just happens to be one of the areas which combine technology and disruption in the pharmaceutical and consumer space.”
Though Stevens and Grays Peak Capital have their hands on CBD investments, their team has made investments in McMurray Stern (storage and shelving), Jason Markk (consumer products), JUUL (consumer), DSTLD (retail/apparel), Chef's Cut Real Jerky (consumer), Goldstar (ticketing), Winc (beverages and spirits), etc. As he continues to thrive in the global investment industry, his next assignment might be a bit more difficult – getting some rest. “A personal goal, I’m trying to work slightly less than I am now, and just to relax and enjoy some free time,” says Stevens.
Writer: Marcus Meade
Photographer: Tim Francis (www.timfrancisphoto.com)
Fashion Editor: Lassalle (@stylebylassalle & @stevenlassalle_ - www.stevenlassalle.com)
Men’s Grooming: Marc Cornwall
Videographer: Ray Antonison