A large and growing number of private-equity firms have at least one full-time deal originator on staff. But it can still take the skills of a consummate originator to break into the field at the junior level.
All told, 59 percent of the 144 private-equity firms that participated in this year’s Deal Origination Benchmark Report have at least one business development professional, or originator, whose full-time job is relationship-building with deal intermediaries or business owners. That’s up from 47 percent in the 2017 edition.
The report is produced every year by deal-sourcing platform provider Sutton Place Strategies. All the participants are clients of Sutton Place Strategies, so the sample may not be representative of the broader industry. (Sutton Place Strategies is a consulting client of mine.)
It’s one thing to land a job at a private-equity shop as an analyst or associate. It’s another to make the heady climb to partner in a decade or less.
So I took the question of how to become a rising star to Ian Li, vice president at 1315 Capital, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based specialist in healthcare growth equity. Earlier this year Li spoke eloquently on a panel I moderated on opportunities in private equity at the Toigo Foundation’s Catapult event in Jersey City. Li wrote up the following six tips, reproduced verbatim with a few minor edits for style:
Like many buyout shops, Alpine Investors recently welcomed its latest class of freshmen analysts–about a half a dozen this year, all previously interns–recruited from top schools around the country.
But, in an unusual move, the San Francisco-based firm also welcomed a second class of recruits. As part of a four-year-old “CEO-in-training” program, the firm over the past year tapped a dozen second-year MBAs from top business schools to join portfolio companies in senior operating roles after graduation.
In August these recruits began two weeks of private-equity training and networking; some immediately deployed into operating roles, while others joined investment teams at Alpine Investors with the aim of finding an operating role later on. They all receive ongoing mentoring and leadership training.
On the anniversary of 9/11 this week I had the opportunity to talk to Air Force veteran Ryan Brown, who served in the Iraq War, about his goal of building a private-equity business.
“I am on the entrepreneurship journey and my mission is to create jobs for veterans by way of buying and building a portfolio of companies,” Brown wrote me earlier this summer in introducing himself via LinkedIn. “It’s a very ambitious goal, but I know it’s possible.”
When I caught up by phone with Brown on Wednesday, he was in Orlando looking to meet up with hospitality executives at the Hilton Americas Owner Conference. Hospitality is one of the services sectors that he has his eye on to buy businesses in through his firm, Patriot Investment Partners. Brown, who’s active in ACG, recruiting businesses in the Melbourne, Florida area, also works as a turnaround management consultant.
Below is more about Brown, who shares my predilection for bullet points, from a written Q&A lightly edited:
An annual one-day summit for women in finance looking to learn leadership skills and advance more quickly in their careers is itself getting a big promotion.
With the introduction of Groundbreakers | RISE, the Toigo Foundation is giving women on both the GP and LP side of the industry the opportunity to participate in a year-long training and mentorship program.
The program is open to “rising women leaders” with seven to 10 years of experience in finance, and participants get nominated by their firms to join. Individual private-equity firms or teams within global shops can nominate up to two women for each class of students. Among the main components of the program:
* A three-day conference devoted to leadership assessments and goal-setting this December in Austin, Texas;
* Quarterly regional sessions;
* Webinars for building on quantitative skills;
* Coaching by members of the Private Equity Women Investor Network, an association of experienced, successful women in private equity that is one of three “launch partners” of the RISE program.
Tuition is $7,500, and students or their firm must pay for travel and lodging. Along with PEWIN, the two other launch partners are Clearlake Capital Group and the Kwanza Jones & José E. Feliciano SUPERCHARGED Initiative.
Reach the Toigo Foundation to learn more at 510-763-5771.
Hiring, promotions and fundraising often go hand in hand in hand in private equity. Such is the case with Palo Alto, California-based HGGC.
Yesterday the prolific deal-maker–over the last two and a half years the firm has acquired 10 platform companies and more than 50 add-ons–said it had hired 12 new professionals across both operations and investing. That brings its headcount to close to 70. It also promoted four.
The build-up comes as HGGC gears up to raise a fourth fund likely to eclipse $2 billion in size–a healthy notch up from the $1.84 billion the firm speedily raised just under three years ago. Earlier this year, following an investment by Dyal Capital Partners, the firm announced five new hires and 10 promotions.
Fresh on the heels of closing a $1.56 billion fund, New York City-based Palladium Equity Partners is “opportunistically” looking to hire a mid-level professional–a senior associate, vice president or principal, according to Dale Pescatore, vice president.
Candidates with expertise in health care, services or industrials–three of Palladium Equity’s target industries–would be particularly desirable. The 22-year-old firm, which acquires family-run, mid-sized businesses, many of them serving the Hispanic population, also values employees with a variety of backgrounds.
“I do feel that as a female minority in our industry that I have an obligation to elevate women [and minorities] in all fields and industries,” said Suzanne Yoon, founder and managing partner at Chicago-based Kinzie Capital.
And Yoon said that it’s not just diversity in gender and race that she’s after in building her private-equity firm. It’s also diversity in age, experience, ways of thinking. “I know that diversity produces good results,” she said.
Private Equity Women Investor Network plans to expand Project Pinklight–an accelerator program designed to help women launch their own private equity funds. The program addresses an appalling lack of diversity among founding partners.
From beachheads in New York City and San Francisco, where participating firms have closed on a total of some $300 million, the organization plans to roll out the program to Los Angeles and London, Kelly Williams, PEWIN founding chair, told PECW.
In each of its regional headquarters PEWIN expects to usher three to four firms through the accelerator every year, said Williams.
Research by consulting firm McKinsey & Co suggests that companies perform best when they have women represented on their boards and in senior management. So it’s perhaps not surprising that fresh research suggests a similar phenomena in private equity.
Speaking last evening at the National Arts Club in New York City, Oliver Gottschalg, professor at HEC Paris, presented research from his business school and from placement agent MVision suggesting that deals approved by diverse investment committees at buyout firms–those with at least one woman member–significantly outperform those approved by all-male investment committees.