Valentín Salcedo, Managing Director and Cofounder at Ilium

Read the original interview publication at Esade Alumni Magazine here.

Interview transcript

– Why did you decide to create Ilium?

I decided to start Ilium because as a private equity investor I was paying transaction services companies for due diligences that were obviously done with no understanding of the market, and paying fees to investment banks that did not understand technology either.

– Established in 2013, Ilium advises on fundraising, merger-acquisition, due diligence and business valuation with its team of 10 consultants. What sets Ilium apart from the competition?

I believe that it is our deep understanding of technology markets and their underlying financial trends that sets up apart. We work in 5 deals per month on average, all of them in the technology sector.

Therefore, when we advise on a deal, we know what is happening in the market and can use previous deal experience and our proprietary database to help our clients make deals with the best possible terms and conditions.

– What are the medium-term growth objectives?

We have recently established a partnership with Reinhart Marville Torre, a leading independent law firm in Paris that has developed a specific and acknowledged competence in M&A technology.

We offer a “one stop shop”, financial and legal, to our clients. I believe this will help both companies consolidate themselves as leaders in technology transactions.

– What value should be promoted in an entrepreneurial idea to be successful?

From my experience a good team is better than a good idea. Things do not happen in one day, it takes time to build a name, a product or a brand, and you will probably make mistakes along the way, but in the end doing will always beat dreaming.

The often-forgotten part of entrepreneurship is that the company belongs to its shareholders, not its management. You not only have to create value for your clients but for your shareholders too, a lot of companies lose the trust of their boards and end failing because they did not build any value creation strategy for their equity investors.

– How has your previous experiences as an entrepreneur and in private equity influenced your current responsibilities?

I went from entrepreneur before ESADE to professional investor after the MBA. I saw a lot of companies and it gave me a unique opportunity to see businesses grow or fail, and understand the kind of business models and markets that were right for me.

– How would you define your managing style and how is the culture at Ilium?

In military school they taught me to manage processes and people to reach the objective, I try to mix that with ESADE open mindedness and teamwork.

At Ilium no matter if you are a junior employee or one of the partners, your opinion has the same value. This and the fact that you can work on exciting projects and deals have allowed us to attract top talent.

– Where does your interest in entrepreneurship come from?

I love the challenge of starting and growing new businesses. Entering a market and trying to disrupt it is exciting, and I really love to see an entrepreneurial vision turn into value for my clients.

– What does ESADE mean to you?

ESADE was a fantastic experience. It teaches a mix of hard and soft skills that is incredibly useful in a professional life. All of this while being surrounded by incredible people in a fantastic city. On top of this, ESADE is an organization with great values.


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