Better know a Tiny Canadian mogul

So Bill Ackman is holding a Buffett-type lunch auction. Ackman is essentially a Buffett clone, except that he has an inclination for activism and shorting, which has sometimes proven too clever by half. The Buffett recipe is very hard to improve.

Ackman claims to have learned from his mistakes and is now wholly focused on his publicly traded closed-end fund Pershing Square Holdings (PSH). PSH generally trades at a pretty steep discount to NAV, currently around 25%, so there might be something there. (The holdings tend to be well known large caps like Starbucks, Chiptole, United Technologies, etc.)

Anyways, I don’t care much for finding cute NAV plays, I want to write about an interesting Private Equity player in Canada, Andrew Wilkinson of Victoria-based Tiny Capital. I had known of him, but was not aware he was the winner of the inaugural Ackman charity lunch.

He paid for $57,700 for the lunch and Ackman’s family office ended up co-investing in a Tiny Capital deal. Plus, they’re friends now.

Andrew Wilkinson is interesting because he went from being a startup guy to a Charlie Munger devotee. He has a typical tech star path of starting early, being a dropout, meeting Steve Jobs at 17 and then building a successful design agency. His clients have included Google, Disney, Amazon, Uber and Slack. I think Slack (which also has origins in BC) was a pivotal client. Andrew’s MetaLab essentially designed the user interface of Slack, that everyone knows and loves. I thought an early stake in Slack might explain his wealth, but that turns out not to be the case.

Now, his schtick is “buying wonderful internet businesses” and his profile says he is “overseeing a group of companies with over 300 employees and tens of millions in revenue”.

Just today, he announced his involvement in a new holding company WeCommerce that aims to “start, buy and invest in the world’s top Shopify businesses”.

I will write more on Andrew Wilkinson sometime later.