Oleg Jelesko

Oleg Jelesko: A Profile in International Investment and Founding of Da Vinci Capital Management

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With a noteworthy tenure of three decades in finance, Oleg Jelesko has become well-recognized as an experienced investment manager. His professional path took a significant turn when he transitioned from a valued contributor to top global financial institutions to establishing his own investment firm, showcasing his substantial experience in managing investments.


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Background of Investor Oleg Jelesko

Oleg Jelesko
Oleg Jelesko

Oleg Jelesko was born in the city of Aktobe in the Kazakh SSR in 1969. He spent his early life there before moving north for academic pursuits at the Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology, where he earned an undergraduate degree in the field of cybernetics. Eager to broaden his educational scope, Oleg Jelesko pursued further studies at Dickinson College in the United States, where he participated in an exchange program to refine his competencies.

During the dynamic period of the 1990s, Oleg Jelesko commenced his professional journey at Andersen Consulting (today known as Accenture), an eminent part of an American corporate enterprise. His tenure there established a solid foundation for his subsequent pursuits. After gaining initial experience, Oleg Jelesko further broadened his professional horizons by occupying various roles in several global entities, including the distinguished McKinsey & Company, as well as the New York branch of the investment banking powerhouse Credit Suisse First Boston. This stage in his career was pivotal for honing his abilities and enhancing his grasp of international financial frameworks.

Entering the 2000s, Oleg Jelesko transitioned to the RF, a move that signified a noteworthy phase in his professional life. At Renaissance Capital (with an invitation from the CEO Stephen Jennings), he was appointed to oversee the department specializing in sophisticated structured financial products. In this role, Oleg Jelesko was instrumental in fostering an environment ripe for alternative investment strategies, marrying innovation with financial expertise. His work in this period not only evidenced his skill in steering through the volatile financial sector but also laid the groundwork for his subsequent entrepreneurial pursuits.

Fortified by a wealth of expertise and accomplishments, Oleg Jelesko established Da Vinci Capital, a pivotal move that marked his evolution from a key figure in renowned firms to a trailblazer in the investment industry. Under the strategic direction of Oleg Jelesko, Da Vinci Capital rose to prominence in direct investments. Throughout this venture, he has exhibited a profound ability for leadership and ingenuity, thereby leaving an indelible mark on the direct investment landscape and establishing a benchmark for excellence.

Oleg Jelesko: The International Endeavor of Da Vinci Capital Management

Oleg Jelesko
Oleg Jelesko

In 2007, with the world on the cusp of an economic downturn, Oleg Jelesko launched Da Vinci Capital. This enterprise was strategically centered on alternative investment opportunities, mirroring the founder’s ambition to cultivate a proprietary business platform. At the inception of Da Vinci Capital, Oleg Jelesko was joined by a select group of former colleagues from Renaissance Capital. These seasoned professionals, who had previously worked closely with investors on numerous ventures, invested their confidence in the promise of this nascent establishment.

Under the guidance of Oleg Jelesko, Da Vinci Capital concentrated its efforts on direct investments in well-established businesses with high scalability prospects. The company’s investment philosophy was meticulously designed to prioritize ventures that had demonstrated resilience and viability within sectors poised for growth. The financial acumen of the team at Da Vinci Capital gravitated towards industries at the intersection of economic innovation, such as information technology, financial technology, digital transformation, and consumer services.

This strategic approach from Oleg Jelesko was informed by the recognition that these industries were not just at the cutting edge of economic development but were also ripe with opportunities for sustained growth and significant contribution to the dynamic global economy.

In his capacity at Da Vinci Capital, Oleg Jelesko undertook multiple responsibilities simultaneously. As the managing partner, he also immersed himself in the strategic management and growth of the firm. His direct involvement guaranteed that Da Vinci Capital’s strategic objectives and operational achievements were invariably in sync with the aspirations and principles Oleg Jelesko holds in high regard.

Beyond setting the company’s direction, Oleg Jelesko played an integral role in the vetting of investment ventures. His contribution extended past supervision to actively engaging with his team of investment managers in the meticulous scrutiny of potential investments. This rigorous process not only evaluated the financial soundness of target entities but also the proficiency of their executive teams. Oleg Jelesko, along with his team, focused on identifying enterprises with robust financial prospects and leadership teams equipped to elevate their companies.

Oleg Jelesko attributes the distinctive market position of Da Vinci Capital to the seasoned and specialized expertise of its investment professionals. Their proficiency in pinpointing attractive investment opportunities and crafting strategic deals distinguishes them in a competitive market. It is this fusion of seasoned insight, financial intelligence, and strategic negotiation skill that empowers Da Vinci Capital to adeptly maneuver through the complexities of the investment domain, affirming its stature as a preeminent entity in direct investment.

Steered by Oleg Jelesko, Da Vinci Capital notched a landmark achievement with the introduction of its inaugural fund on the London Stock Exchange. By 2022, the firm under the leadership of Oleg Jelesko had escalated its triumphs, overseeing portfolio assets worth over half a billion dollars. This impressive portfolio attracted contributions from institutional entities, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the German investment group DEG, and the investment firm 57 Stars, showcasing the firm’s prowess in garnering substantial funding from distinguished sources.

The locations of Da Vinci Capital, as established by Oleg Jelesko, span the prominent financial centers of Guernsey, London, and Almaty. Such a strategic presence across these locales emphasizes the company’s global reach and reinforces its capacity to engage with a variety of markets and seize diverse investment prospects internationally.

Funds Managed by Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital

Oleg Jelesko
Oleg Jelesko

Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital operates within the dynamic realm of investment, focusing on the expansion of rapidly progressing private entities. The structure of the company is an assembly of various funds, each crafted to align with distinct investment narratives. These include Fund I, Da Vinci Private Equity Fund II, the Pre-IPO Fund, and the Da Vinci Pre-IPO Tech Fund, showcasing the firm’s multifarious investment strategies. Designed with predetermined investment timelines spanning 2 to 5 years, each fund is conceived to foster precise investment strategies and goals. This complex arrangement allows Da Vinci Capital to serve a broad spectrum of investment possibilities, nurturing progress and creativity within the industries it targets.

The inaugural fund centers on expeditiously advancing enterprises that are positioned to enter public markets, potentially through initial listings on the New York Stock Exchange or equivalent platforms. The investment focus encompasses firms in the financial services, consumer sectors, and information technology.

With the second fund, as Oleg Jelesko details, capital is channeled into enterprises within European nations that are characterized by emerging market conditions. The focal sectors for this fund encompass financial services, financial infrastructure, payment systems, outsourcing solutions, and consumer services.

The Pre-IPO Fund, under the purview of Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital, targets mid-sized to large entities in the financial domain (including brokerage firms and payment systems), IT, and consumer services sectors. It is projected that the aggregate value of the fund’s transactions will surpass the 5-billion-ruble threshold.

Expert analysts from the Da Vinci Capital Pre-IPO Tech Fund, another subset of the investment company founded by Oleg Jelesko, meticulously evaluate companies active in the information technology sector, focusing on business-related IT projects, fintech, blockchain, advanced “smart” transportation systems, the Internet of Things, Big Data, augmented and virtual reality, and cybersecurity. For these companies, progression to an Initial Public Offering is an essential criterion. The fund aims to achieve a financial scope of 6 billion rubles. 

Oleg Jelesko emphasizes that the art of selecting prosperous investment ventures hinges on a strategy that values originality and diversification, thereby aiming to mitigate potential investment risks.

Moskva Exchange: A Strategic Investment by Oleg Jelesko

Oleg Jelesko
Oleg Jelesko

Guided by Oleg Jelesko, Da Vinci Capital holds a diversified portfolio, featuring prominent businesses across multiple sectors, with certain projects being championed on the basis of the founder’s own recommendations. One of the significant undertakings of Da Vinci Capital was its involvement in the establishment of the Moskva Exchange in December 2011.

The concept of a consolidated exchange in the RF began in 2007 with talks of a merger of the RTS and MICEX exchanges. The project gained momentum when Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital acquired a 14.9% stake in the predecessor entity. This investment facilitated the integration of MICEX and RTS, culminating in the formation of PJSC Moskva Exchange, Eastern Europe’s most expansive exchange holding, offering combined market and depository services and providing a unified trading and listing environment.

In the winter of 2013, this exchange went public, offering shares on its platform with a market valuation of $4.2 billion. Oleg Jelesko incorporated this thriving platform into his investment catalog. Currently, the exchange boasts a total trading volume in excess of 90.3 trillion rubles.

Diverse Investments Spearheaded by Oleg Jelesko

Oleg Jelesko
Oleg Jelesko

Oleg Jelesko orchestrated a significant investment in EPAM Systems, a U.S. IT enterprise, directing over $18.5 million in 2008 to the promising software development outsourcing firm, thus setting the stage for its IPO.

He crafted and executed the approach for EPAM’s entry into the U.S. stock market. The company’s shares debuted on the NYSE in 2012 at $14 each and, a decade later, the price per share escalated to $700.

Additionally, in 2016, Oleg Jelesko followed his interest in the digital transformation sector into Softline, a global IT solutions firm operating across more than 50 countries, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Under the management of Oleg Jelesko, Da Vinci Capital, along with co-investors, allocated approximately $40 million to this burgeoning tech entity.

In late 2021, Softline initiated an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, achieving a market valuation of $1.5 billion, and garnered $400 million during the offering. That same year, it reached a turnover of just under $2.3 billion. Continuing its vigorous expansion in information security and digital transformation, the company remains at the forefront of the industry.

Furthermore, in 2018, the investment firm established and led by Oleg Jelesko enriched its portfolio with DataArt, a seasoned software developer known for its work in mobile applications, IoT technologies, enterprise databases, and industrial automation over its 25-year history.

Oleg Jelesko also invested in an avant-garde online museum platform that employs pioneering technology to enhance cultural experiences. DataArt’s IT Museum presents the evolution of IT in Eastern Europe, with an array of exhibits, stories of the region’s computer pioneers, and narratives of the earliest user-programmers showcased on its website.

The specific investment figures for DataArt by Da Vinci Capital in 2021 remain undisclosed, yet the firm’s commitment increased during that year. DataArt’s revenues hit a peak of $181 million in 2020, marking a growth of over 15% from the prior year.

Amid the new realities of the pandemic, which accelerated the shift to remote work and sparked a surge in online education, the team under Oleg Jelesko invested in the trend. In 2021, they secured $109 million for the online learning platform Coursera.

Coursera, founded by Stanford University faculty members in 2012, facilitates access to top-tier university and corporate courses globally, offering official educational credentials upon completion. With a catalog exceeding 5,000 courses, the platform meets a wide spectrum of educational and professional enhancement needs.

In 2021, the educational platform backed by Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital celebrated its NYSE debut, raising around $500 million through its IPO. This significant influx of capital emphasized the escalating importance and promise of online education in modern academia. By 2023, the top-tier academic platform boasted nearly 140 million registered users.

That same year, Da Vinci Capital invested in LoopMe, a British firm specializing in digital advertising technology designed to streamline the clutter of ads in mobile applications by consolidating them into user-friendly, single-tap inbound advertising. LoopMe’s suite of digital solutions is tailored to enhance advertising efficiency and bolster user interaction. By early 2022, Oleg Jelesko and his investment experts realized substantial returns from LoopMe, a testament to their astute investment strategies and the burgeoning field of digital advertising technology. 

Oleg Jelesko: His Life and Career

September 1969: Born in Aktobe, Kazakh SSR 

Early 1990s: Graduated from the Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology with a degree in cybernetics 

1992–1996: Worked as a consultant at Andersen Consulting in the city of London, GB. 

1996–1998: Consulted on major financial projects at McKinsey & Company 

1998–2004: COO and head of business development at Credit Suisse First Boston 

2004–2007: Head of business development at Renaissance Capital 

July 2007: Founded his own company: Da Vinci Capital July 2007–Present: Managing Partner of Da Vinci Capital

Also Read: The Intersection of Technology and Finance: Future Trends in Investment Strategies



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