Twenty-five years ago, an Argentinian, an American and an Australian met on the Cambridge MBA programme and have continued to work and invest together ever since.
Twenty-five years ago, Enrique Klix (MBA 1997) from Argentina, Lynne Thornton (MBA 1997), nee Braddick, from the USA and Simon Thornton (MBA 1997) from Australia met on the Cambridge MBA at the then Judge Institute of Management Studies, now Cambridge Judge Business School. Since then, the former classmates have continued to work and invest together whilst collaborating on various business projects.
After completing the Cambridge MBA, Enrique worked as an investment banker at Citibank in London and Lynne became a Fund Manager at First State in London. Lynne then co-founded Aubrey Capital Management, a boutique funds management firm, which resulted in a successful business in Europe and later Australia. Simon worked in the industrial sector in pan-European VP roles before moving into GM and CEO roles in Australia. While they all focused on different sectors, it was their entrepreneurial spirit that kept them connected via business opportunities over the years.
Enrique, Simon and Lynne were friends throughout the noughties and were mostly based in the UK during this period. They spent time together as families, went to Wimbledon, celebrated holidays and enjoyed many dinners together.
“There is something about the trust that we all built in each other at Cambridge Judge that made this work so well,” said Simon Thornton.
Simon and Lynne moved to Australia in 2009 to start their new life with their three boys. In 2009, Enrique moved to Australia and he and Simon worked together until 2018 across McColl’s Transport, McKinsey & Co and Toll Group.
After moving to Melbourne, Enrique joined Scale Investors, an angel investor network, and encouraged Lynne to join soon afterwards. Through Scale, Enrique and Lynne did some angel investing together. After 15 years in funds management, Lynne changed career paths and co-founded Groundfloor, a smart parcel locker company, with Enrique as one of the seed investors. The business has grown to over 3K lockers and 400K deliveries across ANZ.
In 2021, Enrique founded Integral Acquisition Corporation 1 (Integral 1), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which has now listed on the NASDAQ raising US$115m. Enrique is the CEO and Lynne was a natural board member with a complementary skill set. This is the ﬁrst SPAC solely focused on Australia and New Zealand technology companies. The proceeds of the IPO will be used to invest in one of Australia’s or New Zealand’s most exciting and ambitious growth companies, giving them a fast-track route to the NASDAQ.
The three have transitioned respectively from investment banker, fund manager and corporate executive to entrepreneurs and owners of their own businesses. Simon, Enrique and Lynne have all worked and/or invested in McColl’s Transport, Integral Acquisition Corporation, and Groundfloor. 25 years ago, they never would have predicted that they would own and operate a transportation business, a smart locker company and a SPAC together.
The photo (above right) references Simon and Enrique winning their corporate turnaround of the year in 2012 for their work on McColl’s Transport. Simon and Lynne later teamed up with other investors to buy McColl’s, a $150m liquid logistics business in Australia. Simon is currently the CEO of McColl’s.