A Wave of Deals is Coming: Commercial Due Diligence Webinar

The private equity deal market has been slow in 2023. There are signs, however, that that could change soon.

In fact, BluWave founder and CEO Sean Mooney believes PE is ready to “call a bottom” based on proprietary internal data. That means that firms must have their due diligence resources lined up ahead of the anticipated wave of deals this fall and beyond.

Mooney was recently joined by BluWave Head of Technology Houston Slatton and Hidden Harbor CP Partner Andrew Joy to discuss the intricacies of commercial due diligence on a live webinar.

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Here are some of the top takeaways from their conversation:

Understanding Target Markets

The panel touched on how commercial due diligence is pivotal in assessing market conditions.

“The definition of commercial due diligence in my mind is a synthesis of all factors, both historically and in the future that affect the growth and the competitiveness of the target in that particular model,” Joy said.

This “synthesis” involves myriad factors, from end-market demand drivers to regulatory inputs and global competition. The goal is to understand not just the immediate future but to project growth and trends 10-20 years ahead.

“Commercial due diligence is a term of art for a market study,” Mooney added. “It’s standard operating procedure by the best private equity investors in the world.”

READ MORE: What is Commercial Due Diligence?

The Role of Due Diligence in Bid Strategy

The competitive landscape of private equity demands a unique approach to bid strategies.

Mooney said private equity firms aim to see something unique in their investment targets that others don’t.

“One of the big trends is investment bankers are starting to put sell-side commercial due diligence studies in the data rooms,” Mooney said. “The incentive may be for private equity firms, ‘Oh, this is great, I can rely on the money that they’ve spent and I’ll just take their word for it.’ “But a newsflash is, if you’re buying the market study, you get to pick what it says so you can frame it.”

He added that that’s one of the reasons the private equity industry still uses its “own source of truth.”

Joy elaborated on other challenges PE firms are facing.

“I think as information and data has become more commoditized and more accessible, it’s becoming harder and harder to really find areas where you have a competitive advantage,” he said.

Finding that unique angle in a saturated market can make all the difference for a firm.

READ MORE: Buy-Side Commercial Due Diligence Strategies

Choosing the Right Commercial Due Diligence Provider

The choice of a due diligence provider can make or break a deal.

Mooney emphasized the importance of team experience and relevance.

“When you’re vetting your group, I’ll show exactly how we do it. It’s ‘What is your experience in the defined industry you’re exposing? Which projects have you worked on in this industry?’ When did they work on it? Who is the team that worked on it?”

In the end, he said, it comes down to ensuring that the diligence team has relevant experience with the target, the market and the industry.

“I think it’s really finding the right team that has the most relevant experience and just knows the market cold,” Joy added.

Mooney also warned against trying to pull an up-market firm down to your budget. Because of scarcity of resources, this could mean they don’t put their best team members on your project.

As the PE world braces for influx of new deals, having your diligence sources lined up ahead of time is key. To learn more about how to prepare, you can watch the webinar on demand.

If you would like to hear about the commercial due diligence resources in the Business Builders’ Network, contact our research and operations team to scope your need.

Panelist Bios:

The Road to AI Implementation: Strategic Planning, Data Management, Cybersecurity

What’s worse than not implementing artificial intelligence tools into your business?

Implementing them without a plan.

While it might feel like you’re falling further behind competitors every day you’re not adding AI to your tech stack, you’re better off waiting a little longer to get it right. Rushing out a half-baked product will only cause you more harm in the long run.

Let’s dive in to some of the key precursor activities for implementing artificial intelligence into your business.

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Aligning AI with Business Strategy

As you choose your AI use cases, it’s essential to align them with your broader digital and business strategies.

Nik Kapauan, principal at Access Holdings, recently talked about this on a BluWave-hosted webinar, Activating AI.

“Your strategy for using AI obviously needs to tie to your broader digital strategy, which needs to tie to your broader business strategy as a firm,” Kapauan said. “I’d also bifurcate it because when we say AI, it’s a broad spectrum of things. You have your traditional analytics, which is descriptive analytics, just getting stuff on a screen and reporting. And then you have your more predictive analytics for predicting the future.”

In either case, Kapauan reiterated the importance of aligning with your overall goals, noting that predictive analytics allow for more flexibility.

“The way you’d approach that strategy is a bit more iterative, a bit more experimental,” he said, “trying to get use cases and experimenting as soon as you can to figure out where the value is.”

Tackling Data Challenges

Data is at the heart of any AI initiative. The service providers in our network say the number one hurdle businesses face to adding artificial intelligence tools is not having a good sense of data availability or hygiene, respectively.

“A lot of people want to jump to the model or the technology. ‘What if we could do this with customers?’ I think it’s really important to start with, ‘What is the space of data that we have at our disposal?’” Michael Woods*, the CEO of an AI consulting firm BluWave works with regularly, said in an interview. “Then just as importantly, ‘Do we have any sense of the inaccuracies or things that could really lead us astray in that data?’

On the AI webinar, Kapauan said that handling data is often the most significant part of large analytics projects.

“That centralization of data, the cleaning of data, the ongoing maintenance of data, is the lion’s share of the effort,” he said.

BluWave CEO & Founder Sean Mooney said the effort, however, is worth it.

“You’ve got to do the unglamorous data cleanliness part… the only thing worse than no data is bad data,” he said. “Keep [the data] good because it’s like a piece of equipment that’s gotta be maintained. Anytime there’s rotation and force in anything, it wants to lose calibration.”

READ MORE: AI Data Analytics: BI Tools

Change Management: A Key Component

Kapauan emphasized the need for a high-level leader to drive the change internally when significant changes are being made to the way a business operates.

“I think one of the biggest predictors of success is a champion inside the organization that could really own the vision and drive the opportunity. And often that’s the CEO or someone the CEO directly holds accountable for the digital agenda,” Kapauan said. “Having that leadership voice to set the vision and drive the organization and mobilize change is critical to success for analytics and any other kind of major digital transformation.”

Mooney added that this is a key part of change management.

“AI’s going be part of your strategy,” he said. “It’s a tactic, it’s not your strategy.”

Securing Your Data Assets

Finally, as businesses build up their data assets, it is vital to safeguard them.

“We want to make sure that we protect [our resources] from theft, making sure that if someone gets into our organization that they can’t pull that model out and take it with them to use somewhere else,” said Keith Thomas, the Cybersecurity Operations National Practice Lead at AT&T. “There are some ways that we protect using different security tools, and different security capabilities support the idea of a [data] model theft by attackers.”

Thomas also emphasized the importance of having a robust disaster recovery plan. If an AI system goes down, the team must be prepared to mitigate any negative impact on data and analytics.

“Even if it is to go to a manual approach, that’s OK. Having the plan is the most important part of that,” Thomas said.

Mooney pointed out that various resources are available to help businesses of all sizes protect their most critical asset: their data.

“Once again, we’re seeing this theme of, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail,'” Mooney said. “You’ve gotta do the work in advance. Not just even on the data and the analytics side, but also in protecting your data.”

BluWave has seen a rapid uptick in demand for AI-related services recently. What many firms lack, though, is the necessary foundation to get started.

Aligning your AI tactics with your overall business strategy, preparing your data, identifying an internal champion and protecting your data assets are crucial precursors to implementing these powerful new tools.

Whether you’re at a private equity firm, portfolio company or private or public organization, BluWave’s Business Builders’ Network is full of expert third-party AI resources. These highly vetted service providers can not only help you with the aforementioned preparations, but will also work with you to implement these tools.

Contact our research and operations team to learn more, and we’ll connect you with an industry specific expert to assist your digital transformation using artificial intelligence.

*Privacy is important to us. While the source and company name have been changed, these are real quotations from a real service provider in the BluWave Business Builders’ Network.

Investment Strategies, Bridging Valuation Gaps, Leveraging AI: VP Forum

BluWave welcomed a group of accomplished thought leaders June 22 for its latest VP forum.

The panel, comprised of Lauren D’Amore of Prelude Growth Partners, Mackenzie Laudel of Shamrock Capital Advisors and Yan Levinski of Trivest Partners was moderated by BluWave founder & CEO, Sean Mooney.

The experts delved into three critical aspects of the investment landscape: effective sector ideation strategy, bridging the buyer-seller valuation gaps and leveraging AI in the investment process.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Summary Takeaways

  • Investment firms increasingly employ long-term thematic exploration for ideation, aiding their decision-making process and enabling differentiation.
  • The dynamic market environment necessitates innovative approaches like earn-outs to bridge buyer-seller valuation disparities.
  • AI is still nascent in the investment arena, with its integration and application varying greatly across firms based on their unique sectoral needs and strategic requirements.

This event was conducted with the Chatham House Rule in place.

Expanding on Sector Ideation Strategy

The panelists stressed the importance of leveraging industry, consumer and market trends to formulate effective investment strategies. To this end, firms are differentiating themselves by immersing in a particular theme or sector over multiple years. This not only lends a unique perspective to every investment opportunity but also leads to more informed and strategic decision-making.

The panel also touched upon the importance of a focused investment universe. Some firms are moving away from a broad-spectrum approach to concentrate on mid-market, founder or family-owned businesses. This narrower focus facilitates a deep understanding of potential investments and leads to higher quality deal flow.

CASE STUDY: How BluWave Enabled Massive Turnaround of Family-Owned Business

Bridging the Buyer/Seller Gap

As the market continues to fluctuate, there’s been a shift in deal flow, with some firms noticing a lean toward growth equity deals. These deals offer more structural levers to pull during negotiations, proving to be advantageous in the current economic climate.

READ MORE: PE Market Analysis: Growth Strategy for Business

In response to sellers’ high expectations, firms have had to adapt and innovate their negotiation strategies. Earn-outs, previously less favored due to their potential complexity, are now being used more frequently to bridge valuation gaps. Firms are also exploring other attractive deal structures, such as rollovers and seeking to simplify negotiations by taking representations and warranties off the table.

Embracing AI in the Investment Process

The conversation on AI’s role in the investment process revealed a mix of approaches. Some firms have proactively set up AI task forces to explore how the technology can impact their portfolio companies and be integrated into daily workstreams.

READ MORE: AI Data Analytics: Business Intelligence Tools

But as mentioned above, the adoption of AI varies across firms. Some admitted to falling behind, expressing a need to engage AI consultants to bridge the knowledge gap. Conversely, others haven’t yet prioritized AI due to their investment in sectors where it has less relevance.

Whether you’re navigating investment strategies, bridging valuation gaps or exploring the potential of AI, the landscape of investing is continually evolving.

As these conversations unfold, BluWave remains committed to connecting you with the exact-fit resources and insights to navigate this ever-changing environment. To learn more, or to start your project, set up a scoping call with our research and operations team.

Operating Partners’ Forum: Leveraging AI for Data, Analytics

How are private equity firms and their portfolio companies leveraging data and analytics to transform their business landscape? What are the emerging trends in AI and machine learning? These were the central themes June 13 in the latest BluWave-hosted PE Operating Partners’ Forum.

Our esteemed panelists, Tye Howell of Blue Point Capital Partners, Gregory Kegeles of Newlight Partners and Mark Steenhoek of The Stephens Group, LLC., joined our own Rena Frackt Zimmerman for this insightful event.

Here’s are some of the key takeaways.

Summary Takeaways

  • View data as the new oil, demanding the investment of money, skills and experience to extract value
  • Foster a culture of data usage and analytical rigor in portfolio companies
  • Invest in data and analytics both internally and at portfolio companies
  • Be a catalyst for change and push companies toward a more data-driven approach
  • Identify and leverage the right people to lead the data and analytics transformation journey
  • Understand and stay ahead of emerging trends in AI and machine learning, such as generative AI and conversational analytics

This event was conducted with the Chatham House Rule in place.

Harnessing the Power of Data and Analytics

The panelists shared insights on how data and analytics are transforming the private equity landscape. They emphasized the importance of evolving toward a data-driven culture to drive tangible results. They said it’s essential to be rigorous and proactive about this during both due diligence and value creation phases.

Fostering a culture of data usage in portfolio companies was also underscored, with a focus on the push-and-pull dynamics of growth equity. Firms are often seen as catalysts for change, nudging portfolio companies toward sophisticated reporting and analytics.

The Impact of People and Learning Curve

People are critical to this transformation journey, according to the panelists, particularly in managing the pace of technological advancements. Developing an effective learning curve, choosing the right leaders and even outsourcing certain operations are critical factors in successful data and analytics implementation.

Emerging Trends in AI and Machine Learning

The discussion later veered toward the exciting prospects of AI and machine learning in the private equity space. Generative AI, with its potential applications in quality assurance, marketing and customer support, was discussed. The panelists also expressed interest in the advancements in conversational analytics and low-code, generative support technologies.

When you’re ready to harness the power of data and analytics like the top PE firms, contact BluWave to set up a scoping call with our research and operations team. Whether navigating the complex landscape of data and analytics, managing your workforce or any other business building services, we have an exact-fit solution for you on standby.

Human Capital Forum: Navigating the Labor Market, Investing in Talent Development

How do firms and portfolio company leaders manage through current labor market conditions? What are the emerging trends in different roles, industries, and sectors? These were among the pressing topics in the latest BluWave-hosted Human Capital Forum on May 24.

Esteemed panelists Peter Allen of Aegis Ventures, Steven Berman of Accel-KKR, Michelle Nasir of Arsenal Capital Partners, Dan Grosh of Diversis Capital, and Damon Beyer of Warburg Pincus LLC, joined our own Erez Schnaittacher for this insightful virtual event.

Here are some highlights of what was discussed.

Summary Takeaways

  • Find a balance in preparing portfolio companies without being overbearing.
  • Encourage knowledge sharing and development through forums for functional leaders.
  • Invest in developing the next generation of talent within portfolio companies.
  • The demand for leadership roles has shifted from growth-centric positions to CFOs.
  • Understand candidate priorities and ensure alignment with the company’s goals for higher performance and retention.
  • Invest time upfront in C-Level hires, including comprehensive assessments and coaching.

This event was conducted with the Chatham House Rule in place.

Navigating Through Current Labor Market Conditions

Panelists addressed how they are supporting their firms and portfolio company leaders in navigating the current labor market conditions. They discussed various considerations that have both short-term and long-term effects and whether these considerations are complementary or conflict with one another.

Uncharted economic cycles require balance between providing necessary support and respecting the autonomy of portfolio companies. Emphasis was placed on coaching and working with deal teams, managing cash prudently, and hosting functional leadership forums. These strategies ensure a well-prepared and resilient portfolio despite the labor market uncertainties.

The need for a long-term perspective was discussed, with a focus on nurturing talent for future needs and aligning compensation structures to foster loyalty and dedication. Panelists highlighted the importance of creating a conducive environment for growth, where employees feel recognized and challenged.

Emerging Market Trends

The discussion shifted toward emerging trends in different roles, industries and sectors across the portfolio companies. The panelists also shared where their focus had been this year.

In 2021, the focus was on revenue and GTM leaders, but the CFO role has recently seen a spike in demand. Companies are looking for CFOs who can manage costs efficiently, so the company can maintain a position of strength.

Panelists highlighted the challenges in filling entry-level jobs and niche roles such as business intelligence and business operations. Also, the current labor market is very competitive, particularly for C-suite roles in the healthcare sector.

In some instances, portfolio turnover is greater than 50 percent for all C-Level roles, indicating the importance of nurturing talent internally and conducting thorough assessments before making C-Level hires. Industrial and Manufacturing businesses are currently experiencing a shortage of mid-level management roles.

When you’re ready to use the same resources as the world’s best PE firms, contact BluWave to set up a scoping call with our research and operations team.

Whether navigating the labor market, investing in talent or any number of other services for business builders, we have an exact-fit solution for you on standby.

VP Priorities: Add-On Acquisitions, Portfolio Value Creation

How are private equity firms confronting slower deal flow in 2023? And why is portfolio value creation activity so high?

These were among the hot topics in the latest BluWave-hosted VP forum March 7.

Patrick Murray of Compass Group Equity Partners, Sam Yang of Gauge Capital and Larry Flanagan of Great Range Capital joined our own Rena Frackt Zimmerman for the virtual event.

Interested in attending a future forum event? Email events@bluwave.com

Here are some highlights of what was discussed.

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Continue reading “VP Priorities: Add-On Acquisitions, Portfolio Value Creation”

Human Capital Forum Recap | December 2022

Every quarter we gather human capital professionals from private equity firms to discuss current industry topics and to offer peers the chance to gather, share information, and decompress with one another. In our most recent event, we gathered to discuss top trends in 2022 and top areas of focus for 2023.

These forums are for human capital professionals at private equity firms only and follow Chatham House Rules, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. If you are a human capital professional in private equity and interested in joining fellow human capital professionals at our next PE Human Capital Forum,  RSVP here.

Top Trends in 2022

  • Human capital professionals in PE are playing a wide variety of roles within PE firms and for portfolio companies:
    • The dynamic economy and labor market resulted in constantly shifting priorities throughout the year which has led to human capital professionals having to lead varying initiatives from retention & recruiting to organizational design.
  • Recruiting and retention:
    • Certain sectors are experiencing higher turnover than others and HR leaders have been charged with identifying root causes for turnover and then offering solutions.
    • PE human capital professionals have been spending time helping portcos clearly portray their brands to help in recruiting efforts.
  • Leadership and talent upgrading:
    • In portcos where turnover stabilized, PE human capital leaders have been able to spend more time on leadership and talent assessment.
    • Proactive PE firms are using market conditions as an opportunity to upgrade talent for the long term, including bringing in wartime generals in place of peacetime ministers. Interim executives and specialized recruiters have been common tools to execute these initiatives.

2023 Top Areas of Focus

  • Quantifying and communicating human capital initiatives:
    • Human capital leaders are using data, key performance metrics, and tools like scorecards to illustrate the value they are adding and/or progress being made within the portfolio.
  • Pay transparency:
    • Upcoming pay transparency rules are expected to have a meaningful impact on how companies recruit employees across the country. PE human capital professionals are getting up to speed on these new rules and making sure their portfolio companies are ready to comply.
  • Leadership to navigate tough economic conditions:
    • PE firm human capital professionals are supporting the evaluation of organizations to make sure they have the right players in the right seats, particularly with senior executives and one level down. They are encouraging portco leaders to be prepared to upgrade talent where needed and/or equip teams with leadership coaching to enhance skills if possible.

We thoroughly enjoyed these thought-provoking conversations that occurred during this recent gathering of PE human capital professionals. If we can be of assistance, please let us know.

Additionally, you may be interested in checking out some of our human capital-specific resources, which can be found here:

Operating Partners’ Forum Recap | December 2022

Every quarter we gather operating executives in PE to discuss current industry topics and to offer peers the chance to gather, share information, and decompress with one another. In our most recent event, we gathered to discuss top lessons learned in 2022 and 2023 initiatives.

These forums are for operating executives at private equity firms only and follow Chatham House Rules, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. If you are an operating executive in private equity and interested in joining fellow operating executives during our next Operating Partners’ Forum, RSVP here.

Top Lessons Learned in 2022

  • Even the most resilient supply chains struggled in 2022.  We continue to be in a global supply chain crisis.  
  • Pricing strategy and related pricing strategy advisor usage was a major focus in 2022 to try and stay ahead of the inflation curve. 
  • Labor is still a big challenge and will continue to be. Turning to PE-grade recruiters as well as interim execs is a common solution.
  • PE firms and Portcos are doubling down on IT, data & analytics strategies, and implementation processes to be more agile, informed, and automated.  

2023 Initiatives

  • Debt has become less available and more expensive with rising interest rates, which will make it tougher to complete platform deals in 2023. 
  • Digitization efforts will accelerate in 2023. 
  • Having the right org structure in place is top-of-mind for 2023 as labor markets will continue to be tight.   
  • PE-grade, third-party resource usage will accelerate, offering force multiplication for PE Ops teams, bringing them specialized expertise, and enabling portcos to operate more variably.   
  • The PE industry is largely prepared for 2023 and a recessionary environment due to the proactive actions taken in 2022.

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to gather with PE Operating Executives to discuss these current topics. We’d be happy to connect you to the PE-grade, exact-fit, third-party resources you need, just contact us here.

Learn more about how we can specifically help ops execs here.

Women in PE Forum Recap | December 2022

Every quarter we gather leading women in PE to discuss current industry topics and to offer intelligent women the chance to gather, share information, and decompress with one another. In our most recent event, we gathered to discuss debt markets, navigating recession in the portfolio, and diversity at the PE firm level.

These forums are exclusively for women at private equity firms and follow Chatham House Rule, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. If you are a woman in private equity and interested in joining fellow leading female PE professionals during our next Women in PE Forum, RSVP here.

Debt Markets

  • Difficult debt markets are affecting the ability to get deals done, requiring more creativity to get deals across the finish line.
  • PE firms are shifting back towards commercial bank financing options as they are more active and holding relatively steady. 2023 predictions include:
    • Traditional banks are going to be relatively active lending on new deals versus unitranche lenders.
    • It will be particularly difficult to get financing for distressed/story assets.
    • Credit officers may try to clear underperforming loans off of their books.
    • As the cost of debt increases, the M&A market will continue to cool.

Navigating a Recession in the Portfolio

  • As the economy slows, PE firms have had to shift value creation priorities (and spend more time on the portfolio than usual). Some of those new priorities include:
    • Talent. PE firms are trying to get the right people in the right seats.
    • KPIs and Reporting. PE firms are also focusing on getting the right KPIs/reporting in place to track all leading indicators.
    • Add-Ons. If the portfolio company has a strong balance sheet, it can be an excellent time to acquire competitors or struggling companies to expand market share.

Diversity at the PE Firm Level

  • The data is overwhelming – diversity is the right and the smart thing for business, yet most PE firms struggle to recruit and retain women.
  • PE firms need to have a thoughtful strategy to recruit women, track KPIs, and hold everyone within the firm accountable.
  • Recognizing the applicant pool for women in PE can be smaller, PE firms are looking outside of the traditional PE background to identify top talent.

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to gather with women in private equity to discuss these current topics. We’d be happy to connect you to the PE-grade, exact-fit, third-party resources you need, just contact us here.

PEI Operating Partners Forum – New York 2022 Event Recap

On October 19th and 20th, 2022, our team had the opportunity to attend and sponsor the PEI Operating Partners Forum – New York 2022. It was PEI’s largest event to date with over 500 PE ops professionals in attendance, a testament to the growing ops function in private equity.

At the conference, our founder & CEO, Sean Mooney, hosted a panel titled, “Unlocking the Due Diligence Imperative to Rapidly Achieve the Value Creation Plan”. The panelists – Cici Zheng of ParkerGale Capital, Marc Jourlait of The Riverside Company, and Kalyan Mukherjee of Apollo Global Management – all shared insightful thoughts on this topic and we have captured some our key takeaways below:

Leveraging Diligence Streams to Inform Value Creation

  • Overall, value creation plans are being created and put into place earlier in the process than has been done historically.
    • Benefits include building trust with the management teams and having the time and information upfront to formulate a more fully baked value creation plan.
  • Ops teams find it critical to work with specialized groups for commercial due diligence that already know and understand the market.
  • Areas assessed upfront in diligence to help ops teams better understand risk include human capital, technology, operations, and ESG.

Working with Deal Teams & Managing the Diligence Chaos

  • Ops teams have discovered that working with deal teams from day 1 helps avoid any post-close surprises.
  • Early work with the deal team helps the ops teams better understand what the deal team is underwriting for, allowing the ops team to better prioritize and position value creation plans.
  • Many firms are leveraging technology to manage the many diligence processes that are happening at any given time.

We greatly enjoyed learning from these thought leaders and connecting with both familiar as well as new faces at the PEI Operating Partners Forum – New York 2022. You can learn about specific ways we equip PE operating professionals with the exact-fit, specialized third parties they need here. If you have an immediate need we can support, contact us here and we will immediately get started.

ACG M&A East 2022 Event Recap

Our team had the chance to attend and sponsor ACG M&A East 2022 in Philadelphia on October 17th and 18th. At the conference, our founder & CEO, Sean Mooney, had the opportunity to be one of seven speakers to speak on the topic of “Trends and Best Practices in Value Creation”.

In Sean’s presentation, he shared the most recent data in our Value Creation Index and the functional trends we have been seeing within that- specifically within HR, technology, and sales & marketing. The main points he shared from our data were:

  • PE firms and their portcos are focusing on data & analytics to help them become more agile and change with the times.
  • Organizations that traditionally had outside sales are now transitioning to inside sales due to the digital boom.
  • Marketing functions are becoming more crucial than ever.
  • PE firms are bringing in wartime generals in place of peacetime ministers for the new now.

In addition to Sean’s talk, we were able to listen to insights from Dave Helgerson of Hamilton Lane, Dan Kessler of Energage, Justin Kulla of TZP Group, Keith Scandone of O3, Christopher Simmons of LLR Partners, and Laura Queen of 29Bison. The main topics of their discussions were ESG, DEI, talent & culture, and digitization & customer experience. We have shared our key takeaways below:


  • The ESG mandate from LPs is growing.
  • The 3 key factors to ESG are framework, investment process, and organizational guide.
  • Implementing ESG can be a competitive advantage that allows you to unlock opportunities that no one else sees.


  • DEI is an ongoing journey, not a destination.
  • DEI is all about problem-solving.

Talent & culture

  • Capturing the voices of employees is soon to be the biggest trend in diligence – unhappy employees without a voice can become the biggest issue post-close.
  • Implementing frameworks to assess and drive culture initiatives is critical.

Digitization & customer experience

  • Customer experience is a journey, not a funnel.
  • Putting your customers at the center of your business model is a constant that will never change.

We greatly enjoyed learning from these thought leaders and connecting with both familiar as well as new faces at ACG M&A East 2022. If you are in need of third-party resources for your ESG, DEI, talent, or digitization needs, give us a shout and we will be happy to quickly hop-to.

Women in PE Forum Recap | September 2022

Every quarter we gather leading women in PE to discuss current industry topics and to offer intelligent women the chance to gather, share information, and decompress with one another. In our most recent event, we gathered to discuss the current slower deal flow when compared to last year and challenges/opportunities in the face of recession.

These forums are exclusively for women at private equity firms and follow Chatham House Rules, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. If you are a woman in private equity and interested in joining fellow leading female PE professionals during our next Women in PE Forum, RSVP here.

Deal flow 

  • After a historic 2021, deal flow is down across most industries. The summer months returned to a “normal” deal flow cycle, with fewer deals coming to market between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 
  • There are still a considerable number of teasers, but the deals are not closing. Many seller expectations have not realigned to the market and are still expecting 2021 multiples. 
  • The quality of deals coming to market is a mixed bag. 
  • Looking forward, PE firms expect the rest of 2022 and early 2023 to remain slower. 

Challenges and opportunities in the face of recession 

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to gather with women in PE to discuss these current topics. We’d be happy to connect you to the PE-grade, exact-fit, third-party resources you need to assist you in this pressurized market, just contact us here.