In 2005, entrepreneur Andrew Nikou used $30,000 from his own savings to form a private equity firm, OpenGate Capital. In the last 16 years, Andrew’s leadership has grown OpenGate into a global company with a reputation for innovation and deal-making. He has a passion for people and a knack for recognizing what is needed to help businesses in the lower-middle markets reach new heights.
Hailing from Southern California, Andrew graduated from the Marshall School of Business at USC and joined Platinum Equity as a business development professional. While there, he was one of the driving forces in establishing and later growing Platinum’s first international office in Paris, France. These experiences and early successes inspired Andrew to start OpenGate Capital, a fast-growing firm with a reputation for creating transformative value in the businesses it acquires.
FOUNDER AND CEO, OPENGATE CAPITAL
Today, Andrew spends a substantial portion of his time overseeing investment team which incorporates deal sourcing, investments, portfolio operations, firm management, and the overall strategic direction of the firm. He is also a member of the firm’s Investment and Portfolio committees. Under Andrew’s leadership, OpenGate now manages more than $1 billion in assets with a concentration within Industrials, Business Services, Consumer, and Technology/Software sectors. OpenGate is focused on seeking opportunities to acquire and invest in corporate carve-outs, privately-owned and founder-led companies, helping them unleash and achieve their strategic growth plans while realizing their full potential.
This is perhaps best exemplified in the much-publicized acquisition of TVGuide Magazine for $1 plus $50 million in debt. Andrew spearheaded the magazine’s challenging turnaround and recovery, returning it to profitability after just two years and eventually selling the company in 2015. This successful investment, among many others, has cemented both OpenGate’s and Andrew’s place in the industry as creative, disciplined forces for growth.
OpenGate Capital operates out of Los Angeles and Paris reinforcing a transatlantic strategy, thus equipping them with exceptional geographical reach and coverage as a platform for discovery, execution and strategic operational optimization in their acquired entities.
Locating and acquiring companies that have growth potential is important, but does little to contribute to the success of a private equity firm. The ability to institutionalize and transform the portfolio companies is where Andrew’s professional commitment lies. By leveraging his management, leadership, and financial skills along with his vision toward the future, Andrew has consistently transformed complexity into simplicity, unleashing opportunity and potential along the way.
THE ANDREW NIKOU FOUNDATION
Aside from his family and business, Andrew Nikou’s passion is empowering young people whom the system is working against. This compassionate drive led to the formation of the Andrew Nikou Foundation (ANF), a nonprofit committed to scalable, community-minded ideas that improve the lives of people who are disconnected, underserved, and left behind. The foundation invests in and partners with people who are actively working to make a positive and impactful change.
Recently, Andrew Nikou teamed up with MobLab, Inc. to create a new learning opportunity — a gamified platform that enables users to learn, practice, and share in their personal financial goals. Goalswell bridges the gap between knowledge acquisition, sustained best practice, and positive behavior formation. It targets and empowers youth to develop sound financial health in preparation for the many challenges that lie ahead.
The foundation is also partnering with USC Rossier School of Education’s Center EDGE (Engagement Driven Global Education) as lead funder to launch The Education (Re)Open. This project seeks out, elevates and celebrates education stakeholders who contribute ideas and solutions to problems facing K-12 education in the Los Angeles region, where teachers, parents, and students alike have been struggling to navigate through the “new normal” of remote, hybrid, or in-person learning. The select highest-scoring solutions formed the inaugural toolkit showcase on a newly created “Education Solution Exchange,” a publicly accessible and searchable resource hub for educators and parents seeking to better serve their students as school returns in session for fall 2021 and beyond.
Another issue that is close to Mr. Nikou’s heart is that of bullying and other forms of social isolation. As a young man growing up in a low-income area, bullying was prevalent not just for Mr. Nikou but for many others. Unfortunately, the experience of oppression and a system that is designed away from elevating the access and opportunity to thrive continues to be a reality for so many today. The foundation has created The Includr, an online inclusion hub that successfully encourages widespread use of socially inclusive practices and promotes a vibrant, diverse, vigorous exchange of ideas about how we as a society can focus on inclusivity as we emerge from this pandemic. Includr.org is the work of leading experts, educators, and public figures all striving to bring about sustained behavioral change for good. The website will serve as a media hub, empowering people to practice deep inclusion in their own lives, starting with themselves, their colleagues and teams at work.
Andrew Nikou Foundation launched IncludrPod in early November 2021 as its latest offering and the official podcast from Includr.org. This podcast features conversations between host Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, experts, academics and everyday people to guide those ready to do the work required to create a culture where we can all show up as our most authentic selves.
Both Includr.org and IncludrPod are designed with the intention to accompany readers and listeners on their journey to discover, harness and deepen their daily practice of inclusion.
Andrew also serves on the board of Team Yellow, a foundation started by Pharrell Williams that seeks to “even the odds” for youth through education. Closing the massive gaps in education that exist between children and teenagers — some of them living in the same ZIP codes — requires the compassion of a philanthropist and the vision of a futurist.
In addition to these endeavors, Andrew has been a member of the XPRIZE Foundation Innovation Board and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.