Transforming into a tech-driven private equity firm does not happen overnight. It’s important to build well-defined milestones along the way.
Watch the full conversation between Concertiv's CEO, Priya Iyer, COO, Josh Webman, and Grata's COO, Nevin Raj. They provide expertise on topics like,
The need for a technology-driven strategy becomes more apparent as a PE firm grows. What might have worked with 10 people in a single office doesn’t function as smoothly with dozens of people completing research and working deals in silos.
The first step in the roadmap is to identify the relevant stakeholders. Don’t let conversations about technology needs be restricted to the C-Suite. Ask each stakeholder what their data pain points are.
Where there is a need, there is likely a solution.
“The tech initiatives in this space are honestly inspiring. When we talk to a new provider, every time there has been a lot of advancement it has come from their customers pushing them,” says Webman.
Here's how to get the conversation started with your team.
It’s no longer sufficient to rely on relationships and bankers to find deals. “The way the world is moving is an omni-channel deal flow,” says Raj.
An omni-channel deal flow includes:
Funding-based sourcing is when PE firms turn to tech like Pitchbook to learn when a company has raised a round of funding. With this knowledge, they set a reminder for 12-18 months to reach out when that company may well be looking for their next round.
Events are a big part of the networking required to find and close deals. It’s crucial to mark in-person interactions in your CRM as well as digital ones. CRMs ensure everyone has access to information that could help close a deal.
Since private market investing is growing more competitive, founders now expect to talk to investors who are very knowledgeable about their specific sector. Investors cannot approach companies with basic 101 questions.
In response to this change, PE firms are building their industry knowledge up front through thematic campaigns.
Raj gives one example of a PE firm specialization: a healthcare investor that stops looking broadly at “healthcare deals,” and instead looks at chiropractic clinics. They could further specify by looking for companies in non-urban areas that provide massage services. With that specific niche, this healthcare investor increases their sourcing expertise.
For those looking to start or strengthen their thematic campaign, Grata’s search engine unlocks the middle market. Broaden your range of opportunities and allow your team to search for companies that are the right fit for your strategy.
Deals take time. The deal cycle could be one month, one year, or one decade, so it’s vital to equip your team with CRMs, like SalesLoft or Outreach, to keep your communication on track.
CRMs help automate multi-channel sequences. You can create 6-8 touch points with a founder over a certain period of time.
One example of a multi-channel sequence could be:
It’s important to take advantage of these tools’ ability to set alerts for any changes at your prospect’s company.
CRMs also allow your team to refresh your data and display that information in a shared space. The companies you’re talking to–especially smaller companies– can change drastically during the due diligence process.
By the time you get to signing the term sheet, check your database and make sure your investment thesis is still relevant.
This is a valid concern. Once a technology is widely adopted, does the competitive edge go away? Yes. But according to Raj, there are 2 important caveats to this way of thinking.
You as a firm know things that no one else does because of your unique experiences. The more you can leverage what you know and combine that with what you buy, the smarter you can become and more differentiated you can become.
There are millions of businesses out there. You don’t need to acquire all of them. You need to find the areas that your firm is good at and build expertise in those areas. PE firms that are doing this and doing it well are still generalist investors but build expertise in various themes.
This webinar was hosted by Concertiv in March 2022. Concertiv is a decision-support platform that provides data analytics, group purchasing, and managed services to a group of aligned professional services firms and their key suppliers. Their powerful network, expertise, information, and technology with their unique market position to achieve results for their customers that none could achieve on a stand-alone basis.
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