I was shocked when I discovered Alex Sanderson was only 22 years old.

Alex, the 172nd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, carries himself with such assurance and single-mindedness that he seems much older.

Maybe it’s because Alex had to grow up quickly – he lived with an abusive father who kicked him out of home when he was just nine. 

During those difficult early years, Alex fell in love with movies, which offered a form of escapism. That partly explains why, at the end of 2019, he founded a motion pictures private equity firm, to provide much-needed finance to Australian production companies.

Sanderson & Partners will work with producers on a 50-50 basis – their creativity combined with his capital and the business skills he’s gained since entering the workforce aged 16.

Speaking of capital – Alex is in the process of fundraising. He hopes to raise $20-50 million by the end of the year, which will then be allocated to a diverse range of movies. When each project pays out, the money will get recycled to new projects.

Most 22-year-olds wouldn’t have the courage or vision to pursue such a bold goal. But Alex Sanderson is not most 22-year-olds.