As Yogi Berra once said: “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
Those words ring particularly true now, as everyone—from investors and business owners to teachers and healthcare workers—transition to living in a world with COVID-19. The numbers are in, and realistically this isn’t going away any time soon.
The good news is that, while the not so great cards have been dealt, we’re starting to see people embrace our new reality and play the hand. In turn, we’re seeing some amazing proactivity and innovation occurring within our 350 private equity fund customer base.
Here are a few things we’re seeing now:
#1 – CREATIVE INVESTMENT
As we all know, investors are practical optimists. They want to invest and are adapting to help companies succeed. We’re seeing equity investors get creative with where and how they play in the capital structure. We’re also seeing a lot of proactive market mapping repurposing commercial diligence firms to identify unseen opportunities so our clients can do their best to make things happen—if by sheer will.
#2 – TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION
The private equity industry is quickly catching up with proactive adoption of technology. One investment bank we work with is using drones and smart phones to conduct virtual site tours. We’re receiving significant inbounds for data visualization and collaboration resources. In many cases, our clients are sharing that they are seeing productivity actually go up (until 5:00 p.m., when we start getting overrun by virtual happy hours!).
#3 – CLEAN DATA FOCUSED
The victors will be those who are most agile. To be agile, you have to be able to see ahead, which requires clean data. We’re getting all sorts of requests for FP&A resources to clean and align disparate data sets so management teams can pivot as quickly as possible. We’re also seeing growing adoption of novel cloud tools to seamlessly stitch ERP and related datasets together versus embarking on risky ERP implementations.
#4 – LOCATION IS KEY
As flying still poses risks, many organizations are looking to engage variable resources that are geographically proximate to their portco locations. While working virtually is still the norm, physical presence will ultimately be required as companies begin to open up. If possible, make sure your variable resources are within a drive of your portcos. All of our resources are geo-tagged for this purpose.
Before the novel coronavirus reached our shores, we were receiving 30 inbound projects a week from our PE clients. Three weeks later, we saw two projects in a week come in. After a brief pause, now our phone is ringing off the hook again. It’s been amazing to see the tenacity, grit, and action that is occurring in PE across multiple fronts.
Please stay tuned-in to BluWave for “what’s next” and, in the meantime, keep up the good fight.