Gus Franco of Galapagos Advisors

All entrepreneurs have a unique path they have taken to realize their individual success. Some are born with the entrepreneurial spirit and eschew a traditional path from the start. Some evolve into success after refusing to give in on serial efforts of one start-up after another. And some, like Gus Franco, Managing Director of Galápagos Advisors, spend decades climbing the corporate executive ladder until one day they are awakened by the entrepreneurial spirit.

An entrepreneur can leverage big corporate experience.

After spending over twenty years rising through the executive ranks of corporate giant Rohm and Hass (now part of Dow Chemical), one may think their career course is set in stone. After all, does a person give up family time, personal time, and mental solitude to work decades at an organization furthering themselves towards that light at the end of the tunnel and not plan for the retirement cake, kind words from colleagues, and a token thank you farewell gift? Well…if they realize they are really good at a particular service that will bring wealth, happiness, and fate back to their control, they often take that leap as Gus did in 1992.

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What do the Galápagos Islands & Advisors have in common?

  • Challenged with Constant Change
  • Adaptive to Their Surroundings
  • Attract Independent Thinkers
  • Exist in Competitive Environments
  • Unique in Nature
  • Inspire to Think Differently
  • Filled with Curious Notion

Gus refers to himself as a “Haasbeen,” which is the term former Rohm and Hass employees coin themselves because they share a connection to each other and to the now defunct corporation. He spent decades at the company first as a manager trainee after receiving his MBA, then as an international auditor, and eventually Controller and CFO of the Brazilian division. Experience served Gus well as he eventually became the business manager for the plastics business (did you know Rohm and Hass was the inventor of Plexiglas?) throughout Latin America. His various roles required relocation to Brazil and Mexico, but eventually as the company went through various acquisitions and divestitures, Gus made his way back to the USA.

While in rank and file, Gus started to manage financial investments for some of the other executives putting his financial know-how to work in a different way. It occurred to him that he could do this for a living and started researching how he could do it differently. This led to his decision to leave his burgeoning corporate role in 1992 to start managing institutional money through Prudential-Bache. This one realization fueled by curiosity and independent thinking launched Gus into what is now a successful investment advisory firm, Galápagos Advisors, which will celebrate 14 years in 2017.

Being able to adapt is fundamental for entrepreneurism.

Galápagos Advisors shares many characteristics with its namesake, Galápagos Islands, which are the beautiful volcanic islands nestled in the Pacific Ocean. One of those characteristics is the ability to adapt to your constantly changing surroundings. In the financial sector there are regular modifications and introductions of new technology, rules, and funding opportunities. In order to stay competitive, Gus and his team are always looking to enable their clients to adapt to changes in this financial environment so that their financial goals are still met without fear of the unknown.

“Just as Darwin did in the Galápagos Islands, we make it a point to closely examine our surroundings and to learn from such study. Like Darwin, we are independent thinkers; we do not follow the crowd; we are neither captive to preconceived ideas nor afraid of challenging conventional wisdom.” – Gus Franco

Allowing conversation to spark ideas and impact your business is a sweet spot.

Gus stresses the importance of conversation and connectedness with other people no matter what their type of business is. Having the ability to exchange your point of view with people who have nothing to do with your business can foster different perspectives and idea generation that can impact your work. Asking questions about other companies and business sectors can often determine how you look at that company or industry from a financial investment standpoint. You cannot get this type of information from research or the internet.

This is why Gus holds office space at Executive Office Link (EOL), which is a shared office space and professional services company. Institutional investment management is a highly regulated industry and requires a strong business presence. Gus finds the energy and activity within EOL to be inspiring and as close to being part of a larger organization as possible. When you are managing millions of dollars, your clients and the regulators need to feel that you have stability, business support, and operate in a well-managed environment like EOL provides.

Gus stays focused on continuing to align Galápagos Advisors with the same characteristics on which it was founded: curiosity, adaptiveness, independent thinking, and competitive prowess.

To contact Galápagos Advisors, call (610) 648-3913, or email gvfranco@galapagos-advisors.com