Not all entrepreneurship programs are created equally. The recipe may be similar, and the ingredients may seem the same, but the results are different because of the quality of those ingredients and the chef. Details matter. And being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, and doing the right thing can change the course of a life or a business.
The Bravo Family Foundation’s (BFF) Rising Entrepreneurs Program (REP) has what no other entrepreneurship program in Puerto Rico has: Orlando Bravo and the Thoma Bravo advisors.
Orlando Bravo: REP founder
Orlando Bravo is the founder and managing partner of Thoma Bravo, one of the world’s leading private equity investment firms. The firm has offices in Chicago, London, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.
His many accomplishments have captured the attention of national and global business, finance, investment, and tech publications and organizations such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Financial Times, MarketWatch, CNBC, Goldman Sachs, Institutional Investor, Milken Institute, The Information, and Hispanic Executive among others.
Orlando has received numerous accolades, including the following recent ones:
- Forbes, which is considered the top business publication in the world, called Orlando in 2019 “Wall Street’s hottest dealmaker” and ranked him No. 99 in The Forbes 400.
- In 2023 and 2022, MarketWatch named Orlando as one of its MarketWatch 50, a list of the most influential people in markets, individuals whose actions and opinions impact markets–moving stock prices, influencing strategies of market participants, and determining how markets function.
- Bloomberg Línea recently named Orlando one of the 500 Most Influential People of Latin America 2023 in the list published in September.
- In 2021, the Financial Times referred to Orlando as “private equity’s king of SaaS.”
No other entrepreneurship program or accelerator in Puerto Rico has leadership of this caliber.
Orlando graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Brown University in 1992. In 1998, he earned a JD from Stanford Law School and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
He led Thoma Bravo’s early entry into software buyouts and built the firm into one of the top private equity firms in the world.
Orlando is the co-founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of Bravo Family Foundation (BFF), whose mission is to foster social justice by providing access and opportunities to youths, young adults, and community leaders in Puerto Rico. He directs the organization’s strategies of its various programs and initiatives to promote entrepreneurship, community-based leadership, and economic development on the island.
BFF was born after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017 when Orlando spearheaded a humanitarian mission to remote communities. In 2019, to help boost the island’s economy in the long term, he committed $100 million to REP, which seeks to foster entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico.
He also established the Orlando Bravo Center for Economics Research at Brown University to support innovative research, training, and collaborative projects for faculty and students. At Stanford Law School, Orlando created the Bravo Family Public Interest Post-Graduate Fellowship Fund to help students seeking full-time employment in the public interest.
Thoma Bravo: REP advisors
Under Orlando’s leadership, Thoma Bravo, which specializes in buying and selling companies in the software and technology sectors, has reached $134 billion in assets under management (as of September 30) and has acquired or invested in more than 455 companies representing over $255 billion in enterprise value (including control and non-control investments).
On Nov. 1, Thoma Bravo became one of the biggest shareholders of Nasdaq when it sold software firm Adenza to the exchange operator for $10.5 billion. As part of the Adenza deal, Thoma Bravo will get a 14.9% stake in Nasdaq.
Thoma Bravo’s investment philosophy is centered around two pillars: partnership and innovation. The firm focuses on working collaboratively and respectfully with the companies’ existing management teams. This partnership along with strong management principles, operating metrics, and business processes helps drive operating results, innovation, and long-term value.
Like Orlando, the firm has received multiple awards, including these:
- Inc. magazine named Thoma Bravo as one of its Founder-Friendly Investors for 2023. The list, published in October, honors the private equity, venture capital, and debt firms with strong track records backing entrepreneurs.
- Thoma Bravo won the Best Overall Fundraising: Growth award in Private Equity Wire’s US Awards 2023. The awards recognize excellence among private equity fund managers and service providers in the U.S. across a wide range of categories.
- In 2019, the French business school HEC Paris and Dow Jones named Thoma Bravo the best-performing buyout investor in the world after studying 898 funds raised between 2005 and 2014.
REP: in a class of its own in Puerto Rico
From Orlando Bravo, Thoma Bravo and BFF comes REP, an effort to drive entrepreneurship and stimulate economic development in Puerto Rico.
Aiming to create a more inclusive and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem on the island, REP provides knowledge, access, and capital to young entrepreneurs who have tech-based solutions or innovative approaches to help them start, run, and grow their businesses.
REP offers participants a deep immersion experience, a labor-intensive process that develops their business skills and shows them how to lead high-growth, efficient enterprises. The program offers in-depth business know-how through a world-class curriculum, mentorship, collaborative learning environment, access to local and global experts, and ongoing support.
Thoma Bravo Playbook
REP’s educational curriculum comprises courses based on the Thoma Bravo Playbook, a collection of strategies for success that Orlando and Thoma Bravo have developed over time.
REP participants learn through the same principles that have led Orlando and Thoma Bravo to their many accomplishments. Courses cover every key business area, such as product design and prototyping, fundraising, finances, marketing, sales, operations, communications, dealing with investors, etc.
Thoma Bravo Advisors
Another pivotal element of REP is its unrivaled mentorship system.
Advisors from Thoma Bravo are hand-picked to guide and support each REP participant based on industry, type of company, needs, and challenges the startups face to scale. Among these mentors, who are matched every year to ensure the best possible fit with each incoming cohort, are REP leaders from current Thoma Bravo portfolio companies, stateside advisors from the Thoma Bravo network at large, and highly accomplished local leaders and founders.
Participants also get access to the BFF’s Mayagüez-based team led by its Managing Director, including two faculty-in-residence who follow up on the startups’ learning progress.
Throughout the program, participants and advisors develop close relationships and significant “touch time,” connecting frequently, not just monthly as can happen in other entrepreneurship programs.
- Network: REP participants have access to people who can help them take their business to the next level, including going global.
- Community: The advisors, BFF staff and REP alumni remain active in helping new cohorts and supporting new generations of entrepreneurs.
Orlando’s leadership, the Thoma Bravo Playbook, and Thoma Bravo advisors are unparalleled in Puerto Rico. No other entrepreneurship program on the island can offer the same to its participants.
It is this recipe that is worth more than any capital any program can give. A sum of money can only take you so far.
Is REP for you? For more information about REP or any of our other programs, or if you have any questions or concerns, please send us a message using this form or email us at .