Ben Hensman

Senior Associate
MelbourneAustralia

How did your last role equip you for this one?

At Fidelity International, I worked with amazing portfolio managers like Paul Taylor, Kate Howitt, James Abela and John Lo. They helped me develop a robust investment process and understand the power of capital allocation across different business models. When you're young you think you know a thing or two... but you don't! Working with people like this (and this is much the same at Square Peg!) keeps you on a perennially steep learning curve.

What's non-obvious about working at Square Peg?

We have a really strong affinity for each other. We're a bit tribal about Square Peg as a business and a vision. We are also deeply skilled in the art of having fun. Imagine if everyone got to work for a business that was a deep part of them vs. just a job – what lives everyone would have! We are lucky.

What's your passion outside of work?

Food and wine. And travel. Nothing better than a long (long) lunch, preferably in an amazing location...

Who has impressed you most with what they've accomplished?

At the risk of a cliched reference, I think the world of the Collison brothers at Stripe. They've built an amazing business with an ever-extending vision, but what I find so impressive is how they have built it. Both were so young and have scaled enormously as founders and people – and it doesn't stop.

What was the greatest lesson an early job taught you?

I worked at a bustling café making coffee and running shifts on weekends for 5 years during uni. It was my first real taste of making teams work, processing info and acting quickly, and understanding that delegation only works if you don't get in the way. But the key lesson was that everyone is different -- customers, fellow workers, employers. You have to be patient, understanding and you need to care about others -- otherwise what hope do you have to communicate with them in a meaningful way?

What's the most underappreciated skill in founders?

An obsessive desire and passion to fulfil a vision and solve a problem. It's incredibly exciting working with someone who will stop at nothing to achieve that.

What has Paul taught you?

Where do I start? If I had to pin it down to a few things, I would say (1) he has helped me understand the journey of an entrepreneur and to always be empathetic about the incredible difficulty of it; (2) knowing what I don't know and seeking out people who operate from that same position of intellectual honesty; (3) throw in my teammates for this one – developing the skill of intellectual curiosity... there is a big difference between consuming content and thinking deeply about what you're consuming. The latter is incredibly powerful – the former has limited use, particularly in making decisions!
Square Peg Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 164 352 229) is an Authorised Representative of Victoria Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 159 228 314) AFSL 428989