In our 3rd installment of Meet the Team, we’re speaking with David Fleer, co- founder of Bristlecone Value Partners. Our Meet the Team feature showcases the people who make Bristlecone different. So keep reading to find out more about David:
1. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC, a small city in the middle of the state (famous, or infamous, as the home of Camel cigarettes and Krispy Kreme doughnuts!). Both my parents were in academics; I grew up right on the campus of Wake Forest University, so that was my playground and that had a big effect on me.
2. How so?
Mostly, it was just a lively community of smart, interesting people from all over, plus there were always interesting shows, concerts, and speakers, not to mention a great library where I spent many an hour. I've tried to be a lifelong learner, and that started there.
3. How did you end up in Los Angeles?
I went to college in Massachusetts, then also got a Master's degree in art history. After that, my wife and I didn't have any particular plan or place to go, so we travelled a while seeing the country and ended up deciding to live here in LA. Now after 24 years, with children and two businesses, it definitely feels like home.
4. How did you get interested in investing?
I remember pretty much always being interested in the stock market. My grandfather was the one who got me interested. Although he never had an especially high paying job, he was a model, long-term investor and that made a big impression on me. I started investing my tiny savings in my early teens, and never really stopped.
5. What inspired you to start Bristlecone?
I've had an entrepreneurial streak from a very early age. I was a paper boy from the age of about 11. One summer I sold doughnuts (yes, Krispy Kreme, which I could buy for a $1 a dozen if I bought 100 dozen, then sell for $2 a dozen) from the back of a station wagon. After moving to Los Angeles, I helped my wife start a bakery / café in 2000 (Clementine, if you're hungry), so starting a business for myself had always been something I wanted to do.
I think those experiences of starting and running two successful businesses have given me a useful insight into how businesses work and definitely informed my practical approach to investing.
But mainly, Bristlecone was borne out of a frustration Jean-Luc and I had trying to manage investments at a larger, traditional brokerage house. The incentives for long-term success for clients didn't feel right there, so we wanted to do it our own way. It's been great.
6. What do you do for fun?
I spend a lot of time in and around soccer. I help coach a couple of youth girls club soccer teams and try to play too when possible (and not injured!).
Also, ever since I was toted around Europe in the back-back of VW Beetle as a toddler in 1972, I've always loved travelling. Some favorite recent trips that come to mind are Yellowstone, Japan, Norway and, last summer, Mexico City, which I loved.