We sat down with Oak Tree Hill Capital founder Emiel Putman. We delved into the chapters of his life, the roots of his childhood on a farm, exploring the spark that ignited his entrepreneurial ambitions, and the trajectory of his career. Join us as we unveil the story of Emiel Putman, offering insights into the experiences that have shaped the heart of Oak Tree Hill Capital.
Both my parents were born and raised on a farm. As a child, I enjoyed riding on tractors and working with livestock at my grandparents’ place. Despite being the oldest in the family, my dad decided not to take over the farm. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around that back then. But they grew up in the aftermath of World War II, a time of scarcity and uncertainty, which led my father to opt for the stability of teaching. Looking back, I understand that their search for certainty sparked my own curiosity about diving into entrepreneurship.
My university days at Twente were eye-opening, especially understanding the impact of how digital automation was changing organizations. That’s when my buddy Wouter and I dove headfirst into our first venture, ‘Putman & Lammerse Innovative Marketing Solutions.’ Picture us, with our tiny office on campus and just a couple of computers, feeling like we’d hit the big leagues! But before branching out, I wanted to learn the ropes of how established businesses ticked. So, I started working for Siemens and a big American software company, soaking up knowledge in the international arena.
During these years, I still had the ambition to start my own company, so when Microsoft launched Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 2005, I saw a chance to blend my marketing and sales background into something special for companies. And that’s how CRM Partners came to life! Thanks to my vast network, we scored some major deals. Yet, as we grew, we realized our service quality needed a serious boost. Just in this very period I was supposed to go on a management trail in the African jungle. Although I felt that everything would fall apart, I went.
Managing Partner at Oak Tree Hill Capital
Looking back, it was the best decision I could have ever made as I learned so much about myself and gained confidence. Post-jungle adventures, we steered the company towards stability, expanded into Germany and a few years later, we made our first acquisition. Just shortly after we broadened our scope by acquiring an ERP- company in The Netherlands and later another one in Sweden. We shifted gears from being a niche player to a Microsoft platform partner.
I eventually passed the baton of day-to-day management and together with a small group of staff, we facilitated alignment and strategy. And it was at that time, that we began to realize that we needed a family brand to emphasize the synergy within the company. Soon after that, the Fellowmind brand was introduced. Teaming up with FSN Capital in December 2019 rocketed our growth.
After FSN Capital joined at the end of 2019, we grew the company through an active buy and build strategy, resulting in a team of more than 2.000 employees across Europe today. In 2022, I decided to step down from my position as the CEO and take position in Fellowmind’s Board of Directors, giving me more freedom to work on new ambitions and to explore my potential.
At the start of 2023, we founded our private equity platform Oak Tree Hill Capital with the aim to build a community of people who join us in our mission towards compassionate investing. We firmly believe that finance has the potential to be a catalyst for positive change. During the first half of 2023, we initiated our first platform by the acquisition of iunxi, an expert in the field of IT networking, connectivity and cybersecurity. Our aim for the platform is to transform to a next-gen managed services company.
Managing Partner at Oak Tree Hill Capital
Currently, we are actively looking for additional companies to join our inaugural platform, while preparing for our secondary platform to be launched. Next to the development of our platform companies, we are actively meeting with our community of compassionate investors during one-on-one meetings, receptions and events.
I feel we have only scratched the surface of what lies in front of us. I am proud of what we achieved so far and eagerly looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us.