Women in PE Forum Recap | May 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 trending topics of how inflation is impacting the investment life cycle, ESG, and what the future of work looks like in PE. We have shared the themes we heard discussed across different areas below.

These forums are invite-only and follow Chatham House Rules, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. Are you a woman in private equity and interested in joining fellow leading PE professionals during our next Women in PE Forum?  Register for our upcoming Women in PE Forum here.

Inflation: Inflation is impacting every point in the investment lifecycle from capital deployment to portfolio company bottom lines.

  • Deal Flow: From a deal flow perspective, higher interest rates will rebalance how investors think of risk/reward, but there is still $2 trillion of dry powder waiting to be deployed. Valuations are beginning to come down on the public market side, but it may be months (or years) before valuations come down on the private side. In an era of inflation, generating top-tier returns will take old-school value creation to improve a company’s ability to generate profit.
  • Portco: From a portfolio company perspective, inflation is impacting labor, commodity prices, and transportation costs. To reduce labor inflationary pressure, double down on culture, embrace tiered comp structures, and lean into automation. To fight back against commodity price increases, consider multi-sourcing, supplier negotiation, and increase prices where necessary. To address transportation/supply chain issues, consider on-shoring or near-shoring to start to balance sourcing.

ESG: Expectations on ESG are continuing to evolve, shifting from a “nice to have” to a “must have.” ESG has climbed into BluWave’s top 10 use cases on both diligence and value creation in the BluWave Activity Index. LPs are now expecting firms to collect ESG data, report on it, and make meaningful progress over time. Firms are baking ESG into value creation planning and creating thorough checklists that apply to the full portfolio.

Future of Work: COVID has disrupted all dimensions of work, from the work itself, to the worker, to the workplace. Employees are now expecting remote/hybrid work. The role of the office will continue to evolve and move towards a hub for creativity, social interactions, and building culture. The work itself is also changing – more portcos are leaning into technology and automation.

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to gather with other leading women in PE to discuss these trending topics. If we can be of help with any of the above, we’d be happy to quickly connect you to the exact-fit, PE-grade, third-party resources you need.

Interested in learning more about BluWave? Check out our Introduction to BluWave video to learn more about us and how we can help you. If you have an immediate need, contact us here or use the start a project button above – we’ll be happy to help you right away.