S2E40 -Romain Simon Investing in ETFs, Private Companies, and Public Companies

S2E40 -Romain Simon – Investing in ETFs, Private Companies, and Public Companies

Romain Simon

Romain Simon –  Investing in ETFs, Private Companies, and Public Companies. This episode is packed full of entrepreneurial and investing content. My next guest built and sold a SaaS company over the duration of 7 years. While he was building his first company, he started investing in the stock market with ETFs but after his confidence increased, he learned that individual stocks are a much more efficient way to build wealth. In this episode, we break down his investment strategy, what stocks he invests in, and what other investments he makes outside the stock market. Please welcome Romain Simon.

Payback Time Podcast

Payback Time is a podcast for investors. The goal of this podcast is to help make investing approachable and easy to understand. We will interview beginner and experienced investors and ask them to share stories on how they got started, what challenges they faced, what mistakes they made, and what strategy works for them today. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that helps you become a better investor.

Preview Video

Full Episode

Key Timecodes

  • (01:03) –  Romain Simon’s background history

  • (02:00) – His data analytics SaaS company history

  • (02:37) – How big was his team

  • (02:55) – When did he sell The company?

  • (03:13) – What is his personal investing story?

  • (04:19) – What was his starting dollar amount?

  • (05:16) –  His strategy when he started investing

  • (06:06) – His transition from ETFs to individual stocks

  • (07:26) – His strategy on stocks investing

  • (08:42) – What metrics he looks for on stock financials?

  • (10:15) – What kind of stocks he invests in and some examples at his portfolio

  • (16:39) – How many stocks he holds today

  • (17:26) – When was his last investment?

  • (19:38) – What percentage of his net worth he invests in stocks

  • (20:21) – What are his returns in stocks in 2021?

  • (21:09) – His biggest success

  • (22:46) – What percentage of his income he invests in crypto?

  • (23:54) – Understanding his new SaaS company business

  • (25:33) – How big is his team today?

  • (25:55) – What are his goals with that SaaS business

  • (26:38) – A deeper look into that SaaS company products

  • (27:39) – His strategy as an angel investor

  • (32:53) – The worst business or investment advice he ever received

  • (33:36) – The best business investment advice he ever received

  • (35:23) – Guest contacts


[00:00:03.430] – Intro
Payback Time is a podcast about building businesses wealth and financial freedom. We try to uncover the challenges our guests faced, the mistakes they made, and the steps they took to achieve their goals. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that leads to your own success. Sean Tepper is your host. Are you ready? It’s payback time.
[00:00:33.150] – Sean
This episode is packed full of entrepreneurial and investing content. My next guest built and sold a SaaS company over the duration of seven years. While he was building his first company, he started investing in the stock market with ETFs. But after his confidence increased, he learned that individual stocks are a much more efficient way to build wealth. In this episode, we break down his investment strategy, what stocks he invests in, and what other investments he makes outside the stock market. Please welcome Romaine Simon. Romaine, welcome to the show.
[00:01:04.750] – Romain
Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
[00:01:06.560] – Sean
Well, good to have you here. Why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background.
[00:01:09.990] – Romain
Yeah, sure. So my background is an entrepreneur. Always. I’ve been an entrepreneur. I started my early career by creating a software company which was called the Atlanta. It was in 2014. So built the company, grew the company, and I sold it in 2020 during the panelix time ever to sell the company. But I finally managed to sell the company, kept working as the CEO of the company during a year after that, and I left the company a year ago, and I’m taking a year off currently to travel a bit. So that’s my background. In a summary.
[00:01:50.790] – Sean
We’re going to dive into all that a little bit. Well, good for you. It sounds like over the duration of six years, you built a data analytics company, right?
[00:01:59.420] – Romain
Yeah, right. It’s a software company. It was aiming it’s for sales people, helping them to prospect and get leads, and then prospecting.
[00:02:09.550] – Sean
Got it. Did it like, bolt onto another platform like LinkedIn, or is it just like an independent tool?
[00:02:15.930] – Romain
There’s a part that helps you gather people from LinkedIn, find their email address, and the other part of the software helps you get in touch with those.
[00:02:25.220] – Sean
People over in a nice that sounds like a great solution. I know sales automation is a big deal.
[00:02:33.630] – Romain
Yeah, it’s a sales automation platform, obviously.
[00:02:36.450] – Sean
And how big was your team?
[00:02:38.400] – Romain
The largest was 20 people, but we had to scale down a bit of the team during some bad times. But it was between ten and 20 people.
[00:02:48.320] – Sean
Got it. And then this was a SaaS platform.
[00:02:51.120] – Romain
It was a SAS platform. Yes.
[00:02:52.850] – Sean
Good for you. Good for you. All right. And then you sold it, and now you’re in the state where you can kind of do whatever you want. This year is your year off where you’re traveling?
[00:03:03.670] – Romain
Yeah, definitely. Before jumping on to anything else, I wanted to take a year off to travel that’s always been my dream, so I did it.
[00:03:13.420] – Sean
Awesome. Well, good for you. Well, this is a podcast on investing. We’re going to really dive into investing more on your personal side and then we’ll lead up to you have a business that actually is similar to Tykr. It does serve investors as well. We’ll talk about that a little later, but I want to dive into your personal story as investing. So you’re fortunate enough you went through an acquisition. You sold your business where you investing in the stock market prior to that, or did you get into the stock market after you sold your business?
[00:03:44.980] – Romain
Yes, I was invested a little bit in the stock market, but was not really much interested in it. I invested in ETFs and just did some dollar cost that I’ve read in, but was not very intuitive before selling my company.
[00:03:59.290] – Sean
Got it. So then after selling your company, is that when you started to really take things serious? Like now I want to start investing in stocks?
[00:04:06.630] – Romain
Yes, definitely. Because I started to learn more about it and I wanted to understand how the stock market works before doing anything other than investing in ETS.
[00:04:18.660] – Sean
Got it. And getting started is always one of the hardest steps, as you know, it’s like jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool. What kind of dollar amount when you started investing in individual stocks, and we’ll get to those stocks in a second, but what kind of dollar amount did you start with?
[00:04:34.410] – Romain
I wanted to start small and learn along the way, so I did not invest all the money I got from selling my company and tried to spread it over time. So it was maybe less than $10,000?
[00:04:48.950] – Sean
I’d say less than $10,000. Yes. That’s a good starting point. I know there’s a lot of investors or entrepreneurs on this podcast that they did not sell a business, and they’ll usually start with like, somewhere between $101,000. So you’re just a little north of that, which is pretty conservative. But that’s really good to know.
[00:05:08.080] – Romain
That’s where I started when I invested in ETS prior to selling my business. So that was a good starting point.
[00:05:15.310] – Sean
Nice. And what was your strategy when you first started investing?
[00:05:22.380] – Romain
The first thing I did was read some books and try to learn. I found out about value investing, and I didn’t really know about it at the time. So for me, investing in stocks was only trading, so that’s why I was not really interested in it at first. So I read a lot of books about it and tried to really understand what value and the store were trying to do before trying to jump on stock. So that was the first thing, reading a lot of books. And then I tried to dig deeper on some companies I found interesting to send some learning calls and really understand how the business works.
[00:06:06.400] – Sean
Awesome. Very much in line with the Tykr strategy, which is based on value investing. And I love to learn that. Your transition from ETFs to stocks. Now, just to clarify, do you still invest in ETFs or did you sell those and now only invest in stocks?
[00:06:23.070] – Romain
When I decided to invest in stocks, I sold all my ETS at the time, but I was really small amounts in ETS. But that’s when I really don’t know where to invest my money and I put it in ETS, but it’s a really small amount. Sure.
[00:06:40.050] – Sean
I’m so happy to hear that, especially a younger guy like yourself. I know some people at a younger age like, well, I just want to invest in ETFs index fund or mutual funds at a young age. I’m like, no, I highly recommend going to some stocks. And as you get older, that’s when you can play more conservative and get back into ETFs. Yes.
[00:07:04.930] – Romain
Go over the fear of investing and don’t know you don’t know what you’re doing. So it might be a good way to get started.
[00:07:11.890] – Sean
This is true. And to kind of go back on my statement is Tykr is adding ETFs here very soon. So people, if they want to go into ETFs, they can see the ratings on those funds, if you will. But let’s dive into your individual strategy so we know it’s value investing. But what do you really look for? You look for the financials or you look more into the meaning. I’ll just do a quick segue here, really big on the forens, so you get the margin of safety, which kind of encompasses all the math. Then you get the meaning, which is the business model, where it will be in the next ten years. Then you got the moat, which is the competitive advantage, and then you got the management, which is the C suite or CL Souring.
[00:07:56.740] – Romain
I tried to screen some companies based on financials, so I can have a small set of companies I can look at. That’s the first thing I do. And then when I have a few numbers of companies to look at, I try to dig deeper and try to understand the company. If I don’t, I can because I don’t want in those companies. And if I can really understand the business model, how the business works, and have a clear idea of what the company does and the future prospects, I can maybe invest in those companies. So I try to calculate value and see if it’s a good price right now, or if I want to add it to my watch list and maybe add it later.
[00:08:42.610] – Sean
Can you share with us what specifically are you looking at financials? Are you looking at maybe profit growth, which would be your EPS, or maybe lower debts, maybe explain that a little bit.
[00:08:56.160] – Romain
Yeah, all of that I try to look at. I want you to have a revenue which is flat or slightly growing, or for revenue, earnings, free cash flows. That’s the baseline of the company I’m looking at. And I definitely look at depth level, many of things, some ratios. That’s the basic of my screening strategy.
[00:09:20.810] – Sean
Got it. So a lot of the factors or metrics you look at are very much in line with what Tykr looks at. So we’re looking at the revenues and you mentioned the earnings, your EPS, free cash flow, another big one, and debts, of course. You did mention a moment ago ratios. What ratios do you look at?
[00:09:40.570] – Romain
It’s maybe more home valuations, but I look at the ratios for debt level.
[00:09:46.820] – Sean
Debt to income ratio is a hot one.
[00:09:49.040] – Romain
Yes, that’s one. But there are some other issues I look at. Current ratio, Quick ratios are goods ratio gets, and some other issues are return on capital, return on equity. So some ratios that I look at to see the quality of the business.
[00:10:10.870] – Sean
Got it. And some of those are on Tykr too. So that’s very much in line. So you start with the numbers, it sounds like, then you move on to the business. We want to make sure it’s a business, you know, warren Buffett has taught us through the years is invest in a business, you know. So what kind of businesses do you like to invest in? Can you share any stocks?
[00:10:28.790] – Romain
Yes, some of the stocks I like are some kind of boring businesses, you could call them. I invest in some French businesses. I could say there’s a business I really like. It’s called thermador. It’s very obscure stock, but it’s a family owned business which has all the criteria I mentioned.
[00:10:52.670] – Sean
And what’s the Tykr symbol on that one?
[00:10:54.790] – Romain
Th EPA on the French exchange. Thermador group yes, it’s small, obscure business, but when you look at it, it has all the things I like about this business. Growing revenue, growing free cash flow. They acquire other businesses in the space. It’s really a boring business, which is not followed by analysts a lot. But if you can see the stock price, it’s always been drawing. And it’s a family business, as I said, they’re really transparent about what they are doing. So I really like this small business. That’s one of the stocks, one of the first stocks I picked when I started investing. It’s a bit more expensive, but at the time it was a good deal.
[00:11:43.020] – Sean
Yeah, and I always like to do this. When people do list what stocks they like, I like to look them up and Tykr right away. So the audience, if you’re curious. So thermadorgroup Tykr symbol T-H-E-P PA. It is a watch. It has a really high score.
[00:12:01.300] – Romain
So that’s good.
[00:12:01.880] – Sean
It’s got a 78 out of 100, which shows really strong financials. The issue is margin of safety is 0%. Looks like their earnings did slow down the last few quarters just looking here. That’s usually what that tells us. A little flat, not alarming, but still doesn’t mean it’s a bad stock. And boring is good. We like boring businesses.
[00:12:25.770] – Romain
As you can see, the price shoots up a lot, so it might be a good deal right now. But if it goes down, it’s good business to watch, I think. Yeah.
[00:12:34.480] – Sean
What other Tykrs have you invested in?
[00:12:38.250] – Romain
Some other type of businesses? Because I look at some maybe bigger businesses. One of the business I like is the Meta platform, Facebook, because they have awesome financial. It’s one of the best balance sheets. But the stock went down a lot. You got a lot of hate for many reasons because they throw a lot of cash on the metabolism because of all the bad news and bad Facebook ads. But she can look at only the financials, and I think it might be a good deal right now. I don’t know.
[00:13:18.270] – Sean
Let’s take a quick look. Again, I haven’t looked at Meta in a few weeks on sale, which is great. 61 out of 100 score and the margin of safety is 64%. So share price today is 158, fair value 338. We got some solid upside potential, but as you said, it’s gotten a bad rap through the years. But it’s that business model, batch advertising spend, there’s no upfront limits. You and I love SAS, but I consider there are two models that are cut above. You’ve got transaction fee models like PayPal and Square. Credit card companies do that. And then you’ve got the advertising models where that meter can just keep running businesses, spending and spending with no upper limit. It’s beautiful. Cool. Any others? Is there one other hot Tykr you want to talk about?
[00:14:11.460] – Romain
Yeah, maybe on the technology side, maybe Dropbox.
[00:14:15.810] – Sean
Okay, nice.
[00:14:16.810] – Romain
It was a stock, which got a lot of it, but when you look at free cash flows, they had some growing free cash flow. And a lot of people say that Dropbox is like a commodity because they have big competitors such as Microsoft, Google, but they’re trying to transition from storage only to having a lot of fast tools that can upsell to their large audience. So it’s kind of a turnaround. But it’s still a technology company and they have fast growing cash flows. Or maybe not fast, but growing cash flows.
[00:14:50.200] – Sean
Right on. And just call out the numbers on this one. So Dropbox is also on sale. Score of 50 out of 100 margin and safety is 79%. So the share price is only 21 today. And then the fair value puts it at about 63. Lot of upside potential, and I do agree with you. I remember hearing this in 2019. They bought hello sign, which is competitive to DocuSign. Just so the audience knows. It’s kind of like you want secure online documents, signing capabilities. Like mortgage companies are big on this. Instead of doing everything with a pen and paper, you can just do everything right there online. DocuSign is kind of like the flagship. We all know hello. Sign is a competitive product, great tool. I like your analysis there because they are expanding beyond just a document storage company. They’re more than just that.
[00:15:42.160] – Romain
Yeah. And more and more they try to be acquired LSI but they also built their own tools to try to have a complete tutorial and maybe compete more with the likes of Microsoft and Google. May be hard to see that they are competing with the big names in the space, but they have a large free audience that you already use the Dropbox as a free tool. So if they can upsell or sell something to this audience, I think that might be it.
[00:16:11.060] – Sean
Reminds me of Intuit a little bit. You have your one main platform tax and you get these other kind of ancillary products, other SAS tools that complement the main product you can cross sell a lot easier. And it sounds like DocuSign is doing exactly that. It’s a smart business model. I really love it. Yeah. Dropbox. So one to think about for the audience out there. It’s a good one. I’m curious, how many stocks do you own?
[00:16:42.730] – Romain
Currently I own something like maybe ten stocks, but my top three or four stocks are more concentrated. Maybe half of my portfolio is in the three bigger stock. I’d say something like that.
[00:16:56.000] – Sean
That’s great. Highly focused. You’re doing it like we recommend at Tykr. Some people want to get into a 50 or 100 and we’re like no, try to keep it between ten and 15. For example, I hold ten stocks myself.
[00:17:08.350] – Romain
But sometimes I bought maybe one share of stocks. Maybe because it’s easier in my mind to follow the stocks when I own it. So I maybe buy one share of the stock when I like it. I want you to buy it a lot. Right. Easier for me to follow the factor. And I know I wrote it.
[00:17:25.370] – Sean
That’s funny. And then when was your last investment?
[00:17:30.390] – Romain
It’s not recent. I’ve not put a lot of money currently, so maybe a few months ago I put some more money on really platforms.
[00:17:39.550] – Sean
With everything being down right now. I’m sure you don’t want to buy more.
[00:17:44.550] – Romain
Definitely. But I want you to have some time to dig deeper on some basis. But some of the stocks I like, such as for example, Media platform, I have good amount of shares right now, so I don’t really want to pay more right now, except a lot more. But yes, what I did mention is that most of my portfolio is currently in cash. So I’m trying to find a good businesses to invest this cash on.
[00:18:14.220] – Sean
Waiting to deploy some dry powder, as they’d say.
[00:18:17.400] – Romain
[00:18:18.630] – Sean
Are you waiting for like a public stock to really drop that you really believe in? Are you kind of saving your cash flow or like a private company?
[00:18:26.940] – Romain
Yeah, there are some stocks I really like, but I am maybe a bit more expensive right now. The big name is such as Apple or Microsoft. Those are some companies I really like, and I think they have such huge modes. A little bit too expensive right now. Some of the stuff I like to buy in, but maybe not right now, right?
[00:18:53.500] – Sean
Let’s take a quick commercial break. Hey, this is Sean. I just want to say thanks a lot for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for checking out this one. Could you do me a quick favor? If you haven’t done so already, could you leave us a five star rating on either Spotify, Apple, Podcasts, Google, or any other platform you use to listen to podcasts? What this will do is help us rank higher in the podcast search engines, you could say. So that would be much appreciated. Also, if there are any questions you want me to ask the guests for a specific topic you want me to address, please go to our Tykr Facebook group. You can leave a comment there, and I’d love to hear what you have to say. All right, back to the show. Now, this next question relates to what percentage of your income do you invest? You’re in a unique circumstance where you’ve got this year, you’re off, you sold the business, you can kind of do what you want. So it’s not really like you’re taking a paycheck, your bi weekly or your monthly paycheck putting into the stock market.
[00:19:54.840] – Sean
But I’m curious, I’ll phrase the question differently. What percentage of your current you could call it net worth is in the stock market? Because you said you’ve got some in cash. But I’m curious to know what percent do you actually hold in stocks?
[00:20:08.190] – Romain
Maybe something like 25%.
[00:20:11.900] – Sean
Got it.
[00:20:12.370] – Romain
Yeah, but we could maybe dive on some of the other investment I have, excluding stock, maybe 2020 5%.
[00:20:21.840] – Sean
Got it, yes. And we’ll get to other investments, including your own business here in a moment. I just got a few more stock related questions, and can you share with us? Did you track your returns in the stock market in 2021?
[00:20:34.890] – Romain
In 2021, yes. I was up a bit, but I mentioned down in 2020. I think that doesn’t bother me very much because I know I have some other cash I can invest when I want, and I try to do it really slow. So 24 to one, I did not invest a lot, and that was really progressive.
[00:21:01.060] – Sean
Sounds like a year. You’re just getting warmed up to the stock market and just kind of testing the waters, if you will. So that’s fine. Let’s talk about well, I already know the answer to this question. One of my questions, what is your biggest investment success? I would say your first company would probably be that, would you agree? The building over five, six years and then selling it?
[00:21:23.180] – Romain
Yeah, definitely my company was my biggest, but it’s seven years of working on it. I don’t know if your audience might relate to that. So maybe I should say my second biggest successful investment, it was Ethereum. So one of the first ideas when selling my company was investing in Ethereum. I was already invested in but I put a little bit more money in it and that was I think a good timing because Ethereum was like at 200, less than 200 at the time. So it was maybe low and after it showed up to ten times, that was a good call. I think it was lucky or not.
[00:22:16.330] – Sean
I’m looking at Aetherium right now today.
[00:22:19.730] – Romain
Today it got down a lot from the top 15.
[00:22:23.060] – Sean
[00:22:23.670] – Romain
But I’m still up because I got.
[00:22:25.420] – Sean
[00:22:27.890] – Romain
At big loss.
[00:22:29.340] – Sean
I see that if you went in around 201,500 today, still down from I’m looking at the highs. Yeah, high was at $4,600. Looking pretty good.
[00:22:41.390] – Romain
But I did not sell my position and still holding it.
[00:22:45.500] – Sean
And what percentage of your net worth do you have in crypto right now?
[00:22:53.210] – Romain
It’s a large part, I’d say maybe 25%. Wow. Okay. But I did not invest that amount at the start because when it should have a lot and the part which I invested was really small. I’d say maybe two to 3% of my portfolio at the time. If the math works. For sure. It was a small part of my wealth when I invested and it just happened to go up a lot.
[00:23:21.690] – Sean
Sure. Got you. Okay, now that gives us a good overview of what you are investing from stocks. Is really happy to hear you at a young age kind of getting away from ETFs. Are you still in your 20s? I’m just curious. Look like okay, you’re holding onto your youth well at 33 yes. You’re in a good spot. Individual stocks, I think playing with a little crypto is fine. We’ve got people in our audience that love investing in crypto. We do suggest keeping it at a lower percentage. But let’s transition to your new software as a service platform, which is Beamvest, is that correct?
[00:24:03.570] – Romain
Yes. Right, Beam.
[00:24:05.810] – Sean
Why don’t you tell us about this.
[00:24:07.800] – Romain
So maybe I could get into the inception of that because it was at the same time as I started investing more in individual stocks. I wanted to try to track my performance and compare it to the SNP 500 to know if that was a good thing to invest in individual stock or if I had to just switch back to investing in the air because it was a waste of time. That’s kind of hard to do in a spreadsheet. So that was the inception of business. I wanted to track my stocks and know how good I am doing investing in those tax. So that’s why I started building the best for myself first. But I thought I could share it and maybe try to have some more people using it other than me.
[00:24:54.500] – Sean
So it sounds like a portfolio tracking software.
[00:24:57.490] – Romain
Yes, that’s right. It’s portfolio tracking software.
[00:25:01.050] – Sean
Is that it’s sole focus or does it do anything else?
[00:25:03.920] – Romain
It does few other things. You have some other tools, such as Dcfcatter for example, which saves a little bit of time when you have a software which prefills everything, when you don’t have to do it in Excel, that’s DCF.
[00:25:20.070] – Sean
So this kind of cash flow calculator?
[00:25:21.860] – Romain
[00:25:22.540] – Sean
Got it. Okay. If people want another tool out there to analyze the intrinsic value of a stock is really what you’re getting out there, is that correct?
[00:25:31.150] – Romain
[00:25:31.600] – Sean
[00:25:32.080] – Romain
Got it.
[00:25:32.740] – Sean
Okay. And how big is your team? Is it just you or you got a few people with you?
[00:25:37.160] – Romain
It’s just me right now. Software, do the support, do everything by myself right now. Really?
[00:25:43.770] – Sean
You’re doing all the coding?
[00:25:44.880] – Romain
[00:25:45.580] – Sean
All right, good for you. And you’re solo, you’re kind of traveling the world. You can kind of work on it as you desire. What are your goals here with this platform over the coming years? You want to build this up or you just kind of want to use it passively? What are your thoughts?
[00:26:01.910] – Romain
Yeah, I’d like to build this up. I’d say my first goal was just to break even on the software so I can use it myself. That was the first goal. But as I’m going, I want to maybe try to grow the square and maybe compete with some of the software that do the similar things. Some of them you might know, maybe, but I want to maybe try to build software bigger.
[00:26:31.470] – Sean
Nice. And I assume this platform is available to anyone around the globe, is that correct?
[00:26:37.020] – Romain
[00:26:38.730] – Sean
And when you add your portfolio, is it a manual process CSV, or are you connecting to brokers all the truth?
[00:26:45.710] – Romain
So you can add stock store ETS or split or anything manually. You can import CSV that you get from your brokerage accounts. And I have a few brokerage synchronization that I plan to add more later.
[00:27:00.210] – Sean
I’m curious, which brokers are you connected with today?
[00:27:03.060] – Romain
Today is only one of the biggest European brokers. So that’s the main one right now.
[00:27:14.160] – Sean
Got you. Okay. And I assume you use the Giro as your personal broker?
[00:27:19.570] – Romain
Yes, I use the Zero as one of my brokers because I use those.
[00:27:25.310] – Sean
Got you. Okay, well, cool. This has really been an educational podcast to learn about your background. Really fun background on building and selling a SAS that’s not very common. So you’re in a great spot there, and then it’s fun to hear you work on this new SAS. But before we jump to the rapid fire round, is there a question that I should have asked but did not ask?
[00:27:47.170] – Romain
Yeah, maybe. There’s a small part of my portfolio I didn’t mention, which is investing in private companies. So it’s really small part that’s one of the things I like to do. So I invested in some of some private companies.
[00:28:04.820] – Sean
So you’re also an angel investor.
[00:28:07.700] – Romain
Yes, I am.
[00:28:08.600] – Sean
That’s awesome. Okay. Can you share with us? Is there one or two of these companies you’d like to talk about real briefly?
[00:28:15.250] – Romain
Yes, I do. Sure. So maybe the first companies I invested in was the company my cofounder built just after selling our own business. So it’s a software called Merciat. It’s like grammarly. Maybe it’s grammarly. Similar grammarly, but for French. The first business I invested in a company called Fonderpast.
[00:28:41.050] – Sean
[00:28:41.970] – Romain
Yeah. Great business to get the cash flow. When we have monthly subscribers for you, they can give you the annual revenue, and you have to pay back after. So it’s a good way to fund yourself when you have a sales business.
[00:28:58.700] – Sean
I’ve heard of Founder Path.
[00:28:59.970] – Romain
[00:29:00.380] – Sean
Very interesting. Cool. Any others?
[00:29:02.900] – Romain
Yes. And listed in a company called CustomerIO customer, which is Anniversary, which helps you send email, text messages, and communicate to your audience.
[00:29:17.680] – Sean
Awesome. Yeah, I’m on their side. Really nice design on this one, too. So good for you. Sounds like you’re getting behind some really niche products. Again, not glamorous. Very much related to your public portfolio strategy. Find businesses that aren’t flashy. And I’m the same way. I like to invest in more boring businesses that are really necessary utilities. Once you’re using them, the pain to remove it is pretty high.
[00:29:46.150] – Romain
That’s a private company. I like to invest in best companies because that’s the space. I understand. And I know that Richard revenue is a good business model. So that’s the kind of company I would like to invest in.
[00:29:58.200] – Sean
Right on. Yeah. Me, my audience, at least. Love SAS. That reoccurring revenue. Well, cool. Let’s transition to the rapid fire round. This is a fun part of the episode where we get to find out who Romaine really is. If you can, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. You’re ready?
[00:30:17.250] – Romain
[00:30:18.000] – Sean
All right. What is your favorite podcast?
[00:30:21.430] – Romain
I’d say it’s called maybe La Martin Gala, but it’s podcast in French, so I don’t listen to it. But investing. Welfare investing.
[00:30:34.570] – Sean
Cool. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:30:37.810] – Romain
A recent book I read is called Value Investing, and I think it’s the best book about value investing. So it’s a complicated book, maybe to read, and you have to process it, but I think definitely the best read I had about value in that thing. I don’t know the auto name. I don’t remember, but not bad. Grand. The book is called Just Value Investing from Ben Graham to Buffett and beyond. Or something like that.
[00:31:07.060] – Sean
Yes, I found it on Amazon. So value investing from Graham to Buffett and beyond by Bruce Green. Yeah, Greenwald.
[00:31:17.830] – Romain
And it’s a more modern approach than the ground one, so it’s really updated and up to date book, which I really like. Nice.
[00:31:28.900] – Sean
Yeah. To the audience. This might be another one to add to the list, if you’re interested. For sure. All right. What is your favorite movie?
[00:31:37.930] – Romain
Movie? It’s called her. I don’t know if you know her.
[00:31:41.910] – Sean
Is that with Joaquin Phoenix?
[00:31:45.010] – Romain
Yes. It’s about a man who fall in love with an artistic intelligence. So might sound a bit cheesy like that, but I like the movie for the same fiction part and the music is awesome. Everything is beautiful this month.
[00:32:02.400] – Sean
Thank you for that recommendation. That is actually a movie. I remember seeing the trailer intriguing. It looks like it’s a little slower. It’s a drama, it’s a Sci-Fi. It did not move to the top of my watch list, you could say. But based on your recommendation here, I’ll probably bump it up a bit.
[00:32:22.440] – Romain
It’s size, love story, everything. But it’s not a big Sci-Fi movie with a lot of special effects. It’s more on the sequel. Right.
[00:32:32.330] – Sean
The psychology aspect. One of my best friends, he loves the movie Getica, which isn’t like it’s not like a big budget blockbuster Sci-Fi like what we’re used to, like the Star Wars and Star Trek, but it’s that psychological aspect and get you thinking about where things are going. Definitely in that vein. Cool. Alright, a few business questions here. What is the worst business or investment advice you ever received?
[00:33:07.170] – Romain
15 seconds.
[00:33:08.740] – Sean
That’s to be the worst advice is.
[00:33:12.310] – Romain
From people who did not start a business and say, don’t do it.
[00:33:21.490] – Sean
There’s always that they’re anti success. I don’t know how they’ll phrase it at this given moment, but yeah, people always throw a dart at you, trying to hold you back and it’s like you just got to put it on your armor and move forward. We’re going to flip the equation here. What is the best business or investing advice you ever received?
[00:33:42.920] – Romain
Best investment advice? It might be a simple advice, but it’s focused on long term and it’s the same thing for investing or for business. Building business takes a lot of time. If you’re not ready to commit, like 510 years might not be worth it. And I think it’s the same for value and testing your portfolio might go down this year, but a year is not a lot and you have to really focus on the long term and I think that’s really hard. But if you can do it, that’s one of the best secrets from Buffett and goodness.
[00:34:18.130] – Sean
It’s a great reminder. Be patient, think long term. That’s great. All right, and last question. Here is the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:34:31.030] – Romain
Maybe it’s the same as long term, that you have to start early to investing. And if you want to build the things long term and you start early, that’s definitely the secret of success. I think. So I will start building things and investing a lot earlier.
[00:34:54.490] – Sean
Right. There’s a lot of people out there that they always think I shouldn’t say always isn’t the word, but they’re thinking about starting something. I should do this, I should do this. And you just got to move forward, which said, there is very much in line with that. Just go forward.
[00:35:11.170] – Romain
And you can start small if you start early, or you can start very small. And it’s the habit to build that’s more important than what you read.
[00:35:21.070] – Sean
Right. Awesome. Well, I’ll turn it over to you. Where can the audience reach you?
[00:35:27.580] – Romain
You can reach me on LinkedIn roman Simon or on Twitter. Same handle. Roman simon.
[00:35:34.780] – Sean
Got it. Well, thank you so much for your time. Romaine really loves your interview, which is great.
[00:35:39.480] – Romain
Thanks. So.
[00:35:47.690] – Sean
I just want to say thanks for checking out this podcast. I know your time is valuable and there’s a lot of other podcasts out there you could be listening to. So thanks for taking the time to listen to my guest story. If you did enjoy this podcast episode, could you head over to itunes and leave a five star review? That would be much appreciated. Thank you. And last but not least on this podcast, some episodes we do talk about stocks. And please keep in mind, this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. So if you did hear any buy or sell recommendations, please don’t make those decisions based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks a lot.
[00:36:23.600] – Romain
See you.