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Founder’s Friday featuring Giacomo Bocanegra @ Madrigal Management

Please provide a brief description about your company.
Madrigal Management is an investment management firm. The company specializes in managing diversified long/short equity portfolios, employing an strategic approach to investing with a strong emphasis on fundamental analysis and a bottom-up investment philosophy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
One of my bigge­st achievements was founding Meerkat, a textile company, totally on my own, and the­n selling it off before enrolling into college. To make Me­erkat a success, I had to understand the­ complex world of textile, from crafting unique­ materials to promoting ethical and gree­n methods. Selling Mee­rkat wasn’t just a major money win, it showed how to blend busine­ss smarts with a dedication to keeping things sustainable­.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My journey through the world of hedge funds has taught me a lot. It’s also led to my main rule for happiness—follow Ben Graham’s advice. He invested in companies that were trading below their intrinsic value. By following his views, I not only find success with fund performance, but also enjoy learning how to make my investments better. To me, happiness is finding a balance. It’s being smart with capital and also getting joy from understanding the ins and outs of how hedge funds work, all while carrying forward Graham’s teachings.

What is your greatest fear?
As the he­ad of an investment firm, the worry comes from not wanting to let down those who de­pend on me. This includes my te­am of analysts and the people who’ve­ given us their capital to invest. I don’t want to disappoint them and it’s a worry that never leaves me. I deal with the complicated parts of the market with an unwavering focus. My driving force? Not just the desire for success but from not wanting to disappoint my team and our investors who expect a level of performance from us.

Whom do you most admire?
I appreciate Bill Ackman’s unique way of value investing and activism. His ability to spot unappreciated opportunities and his fearless activism is a special mix of financial knowledge and active involvement. He is not just identifying value, but also making positive changes in companies and creating value for shareholders. I think that combining value investing with an activist approach has made Ackman successful. It shapes how I view financial markets’ complexities and has shown me how important it is to both spot value and be actively involved in the company.

What are your top tips for balancing work and life?
My story of balancing work and life is an ongoing tale of adaptation. Regular workouts hold me down, giving me resilience in the midst of market stress. But when it comes to intense periods (like the earnings season or corporate actions), strategic focus may set aside workout routines temporarily.

What is something new that you learned about running a business this year?
This year, my exploration of hedging strategies led me to discover new approaches, particularly among the oil companies in our portfolio. In contrast to my previous experience focusing on micro hedges, our companies are utilizing derivatives—futures and forward contracts—to hedge prices for natural gas and oil production. This approach to hedging shields our investments from price fluctuations in the underlying commodities.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I balance confidence and humbleness as a hedge fund manager. Good leadership needs a mix of both. I need to be confident about making hard choices and guiding my team with a sure hand. But I also must be humble. This lets me respect my team’s combined smarts, welcome different ideas, and create a place where everyone keeps learning at Madrigal Management. This balance shapes my managing style. It’s a strong power that drives myself and the team ahead.

What is your greatest regret?
I don’t really have any big regrets. Life is just a long string of choices that you make, and it’s important for you to own up to all of them. I can’t deny that some of the decisions I’ve made in the past brought tough and painful lessons with them. As long as we learn from them and keep moving forward in this game we call life, it won’t be all too bad.

What is your motto?
I’d take the chance of risking everything for what I believe in rather than backing down and admitting defeat.

Giacomo Bocanegra
Founder & CEO of Madrigal Management

Tricia Meyer is Founder + Managing Attorney of Meyer Law, one of the fastest growing law firms in the United States. Meyer helps entrepreneurs and technology companies from startups to large corporations with day-to-day matters and notable clients include companies that have appeared on Shark Tank to companies gracing the Inc. 500 to some of the largest companies in the world.

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