September 25, 2020

Venture Capital Corner: Phillip Sarofim and PS Ventures

Phillip Sarofim is founder and CEO of PS Venture

Phillip Sarofim is founder and CEO of PS Venture

By California Business Journal. 

Successful venture capitalists share a number of core common characteristics: keen intuition to scope out trends, recognize talented entrepreneurs, and identify smart investment opportunities.

Ideally, they have a combination of startup and operating experience to appreciate the challenges entrepreneurs face at each stage of growth. They are also fair-minded, patient and bring to the table a combination of strong creativity and execution mindset.

Phillip Sarofim possesses all of the aforementioned traits.

Sarofim is founder and CEO of PS Ventures, a privately-held investment firm with a portfolio that includes a variety of companies spanning Enterprise Software, Security, Financial Technology, Renewable Energy, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) to Entertainment industries.

PS Ventures focuses on early to mid-stage companies and centers upon scalable revenue ramping opportunities with $2 million to $5 million annual revenue run rates.  It also considers late stage and pre-IPO opportunities on a selective co-funding basis.

“While the majority of our focus is on a company’s ability to generate cash flow, pre-revenue companies often times fall on the company’s radar for consideration,” says Sarofim, who was recently appointed to the Advisory Board for Century City private equity firm Skyview Capital, LLC, which is among PS Ventures’ strategic investment partners.

“A key part of our strategic objective is committing to invest in companies that positively impact the country and the world,” he adds. “I am a big believer in minimizing human impact on the planet and leaving the world a better place than when you entered it.”

Several of Sarofim’s California investments reflect this credo:

  • EQtainment is an ed-tech and edu-media platform aimed at enhancing the social and learning skills of growing children with an array of apps, games, music and kids programming;
  • HopSkipDrive is a community ride service designed to help transport kids safely; Legacy Pioneers is a technology company dedicated to providing education, training and support to students studying abroad in all areas of career development;
  • Pavemint, an innovative parking app that transforms private property into public parking opportunities while generating revenues for registered property owners, cutting traffic time for drivers and reducing emissions and greenhouse gasses for cities and rural communities.

A stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor, Sarofim is a fierce supporter of cancer research through a number of medical facilities, including the breast cancer research department at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and the American Cancer Society. His commitment to children is reflected by his support of renowned charitable organizations Make-A-Wish Foundation and Operation Smile.

Also committed to environmental quality, Sarofim is a supporter of Tree People, an organization that unites Southern California citizens to plant and care for trees, harvest the rain, and renew depleted landscapes throughout the region. Continuing to maintain associations to his hometown, Sarofim is a contributor to the Texas Children’s Hospital and donates his time as a member of the board for the Houston Police Foundation, as well as Houston’s Alley Theater and Emancipation Park.

At PS Ventures, “we strive to add value beyond investment capital,” he says. “We work with founders and management teams to pro-actively engage in developing corporate strategies with a capital efficient approach.”

His experience has taught him that things often times don’t turn out as expected, and in many cases a company’s success depends on the founder or management team’s ability to overcome challenges and course correct quickly.

“Venture capital at its core is sourcing quality investment opportunities in both new and evolving markets,” he says. “As a result, picking good investments often times boils down to judging the entrepreneur’s passion, vision and drive to create something new. In short, PS Ventures invests in people that have real vision, show true grit and are capable of executing.”

Sarofim is not focused on building companies to flip. “We engage in companies with long-term strategies to de-risk the investment journey,” he says. “Often times this means iterating on market fit before building strong cash flows while at the same time developing stage appropriate operational processes and procedures.”

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