Every quarter our team analyzes the projects we work on with our 500+ PE firm clients to get a birdseye view of the market. We recently compiled our Q3 findings into our Q3 2022 BluWave Insights Report. Request your copy.
Key findings from Q3 ’22 include:
Value creation activity has increased 11% YoY.
Human capital remains PE’s primary area of focus at 36% of all Q3 activity.
BluWave serves a trusted role with more than 500 of the world’s leading private equity firms and thousands of proactive businesses by connecting them with the best-in-class third parties to help build value with speed and certainty. From our unique vantage in the private equity landscape, we’re able to glean insights into how and why the best business builders in the world are assessing opportunities and building value in their portfolio companies. Here are some of the top takeaways from the BluWave Activity Index during Q3 2022.
First and foremost, value creation remains key in private equity. Despite the unsteady economic landscape, PE firms are equipping their portfolio companies with resources to maintain the momentum of previous value creation efforts. The BluWave Value Creation Index shows a more than 11% increase in Q3 value creation activity year over year. It is evident that PE firms are running towards the storm, treating economic uncertainty as an opportunity rather than a setback.
Number two, technology is surging as digitization continues to be embedded in the post-COVID world. Private equity firms are equipping portfolio companies with data and analytics capabilities to enable data-driven decision making and workflow automation. We’ve seen technology activity rise from 8% of all activity in Q3 2021 to 15% of all PE activity in this past quarter, and we expect to see technology activity remain high as firms continue to invest in subscription-based software companies due to their stability during volatile economic times.
Lastly, human capital remains private equity’s primary area of focus accounting for 36% of all activity in the BluWave Activity Index for Q3 2022. Firms continue to take strides to ensure the teams in their portfolios are top notch and well-equipped for success. This quarter we saw a surge of PE firms bringing in “wartime generals” with specialized skillsets equipped for the “new now” that can help guide portfolio companies to success in the current economic environment.
It is our hope that the information in the Q3 BluWave Insights Report will give you incremental edge as you build the best businesses in the world. If you’d like to learn more and get the report, please contact any member of the BluWave team or follow the link below. Onward.
BluWave works with over 500 PE firms from around the globe as well as thousands of their portfolio companies and other proactive independent companies, connecting them with BluWave-vetted, best-in-class, third-party service providers across a variety of resource and functional areas. From information technology and manufacturing to healthcare, consumer goods, and beyond, our clients are expert business builders. In other words, they have their heads in the game and their hands on the pulse of news and insights you can use.
Check out the latest, curated collection of our clients’ musings on value creation through human capital, continued recessionary pressures, DEI, digital marketing, and more.
ParkerGale Operating Team Partner Jimmy Holloran is joined by David Cohen, human capital partner at Kelso and Company. They discuss the various ways that human capital can impact a firm’s portfolio, the biggest value creators during the hold period, how human capital leaders can and should be thought partners, and more.
SMB founder-owned businesses often don’t have a deep pool of resources like PE-backed companies, but this doesn’t mean they can’t take a page out of the PE playbook during this contracting economy. Heartwood Partners outlines some economic indicators available to businesses, where owners can strengthen their organization during these uncertain times, cost management strategies, and opportunities to revisit a company’s financing ahead of the projected, much stronger economy.
Insight Partners’ Senior Director Portia Raphael and VP Rachel Bonds explain five key actions that all leaders, not just the human capital function, should consider with the increased attention to DE&I in the workplace. They emphasize that this will be a long-term, dedicated effort that will require thoughtful leadership, purposeful recruiting, inclusive policies, and more, so that people of all backgrounds can thrive.
Livingbridge investment team members Vernan Richards and Dave Kirby review why marketing as a business function has significantly changed over the past decade, in both B2B and B2C. Since traditional B2B marketing strategies that require face-to-face touchpoints were no longer an option during COVID, digital processes and lead generation were launched or accelerated. This has yielded very strong returns, and Richards and Kirby look at this evolving and aggressive sector.
KKR Partner Henry H. McVey and Managing Director Aidan Corcoran examine their inflation expectations, inflation volatility, current growth industries like healthcare, and mega themes such as digitalization, cybersecurity, and Europe’s energy crisis. While trimming their growth forecasts, they analyze how many European companies are “enduring the storm” much better than anticipated, a common outcome for the private equity industry during economic downturns.
Every quarter our team analyzes the projects we work on with our 500+ PE firm clients to get a birdseye view of the market. You can request your copy here to view all of the trends that we have seen over the past quarter.
Key findings from Q2 include value creation remaining strong due to the record number of deals made at robust valuation multiples during 2021, inflation continuing to wreak havoc on global economies, and the recessionary pressures availing substantial opportunities for all of the best business builders.
Learn more about the insights we gleaned from the report by watching the video below.
BluWave has a unique vantage in the North American economy. While working with more than 500 of the world’s top business builders, we’re able to understand unique insights into how and why the best business builders in the world are assessing opportunities and building value in their portfolio companies. Here are some of the unique insights we generated during Q2 2022. The name of the game in the second quarter was value creation. Value creation accounted for 68% of all activity funneled through the BluWave engine. Value creation was so robust during this last quarter for a number of reasons. Number one, private equity firms invested in a large number of companies last year so they’re acting on those investments to begin transformation. Number two, deal flow is down. A lot of the best companies were sold last year. Other companies are pausing their ambitions as the economic cycle is softening and the results slow in kind. The other mega trend that is readily apparent in our data is the specter of inflation. The private equity industry is not resting on its laurels. It’s taking aggressive action to raise prices, reduce costs, and bring in the right people with the right skills for the current times. It’s our hope that the data and insights we’re sharing will help you build your business with more speed and certainty. If you’d like to learn more and get the full report, please contact any member of the BluWave team or follow a link below.
The pandemic has both accentuated and accelerated PE’s greatest challenges, and human capital is challenge #1. PE human capital leaders have quickly become the busiest people in the industry, demonstrated by our BluWave Activity Index which shows that 42% of PE projects in Q1 ‘22 were related to human capital, which was up from 36% in the previous quarter. Our key takeaways from the conference below share how talent leaders are staying busy and how they are creating efficiencies to drive more value while they are in such high demand:
1. The Need for a Data-Driven Approach to Talent
Business leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance and value of quickly getting the right talent in place across all organizations. According to McKinsey, organizations that get talent right in the first year see 2.5x ROI on their initial investment. Getting talent right is not just a necessity for the C-suite, 90% of critical talent needs in a company lie below the C-suite.
With so much at stake if you get talent wrong, many PE firms and proactive businesses are taking a data-driven approach to human capital in order to have best practices to track against.
Not only does getting the right talent in place quickly improve ROI, it is also crucial to enable companies to deliver on their value creation plans. One way firms are ensuring they get the talent they need is by developing great relationships with their recruiting firms. This allows recruiters to gain a sense for what “talent for that specific firm” looks like.
While human capital is critical to value creation, everyone is fishing in the same pond for talent, creating difficulties in getting the talent you need. One solution to this is to take a holistic approach to talent identification & recruitment in which you identify the key targeted areas for value creation in a portfolio company and then systematically focus and prioritize solving the talent that will have an impact on the biggest value creation opportunities. This has been called the “Talent to Value” approach.
3. Growing Emphasis on Culture and DE&I
There is a growing emphasis on culture and DE&I in private equity
On the DE&I side, each firm needs to take a personalized approach that works for them. A good starting point is to take an initial framework and gather data internally to make sure everyone is included and heard. Then, needs should be measured on a quarterly basis to see how you are improving over time.
On the culture side, a focus on internal company culture will help with recruitment & retention efforts, which ultimately, will help you advance your value creation plans. One way to do this is to assess what currently sets your culture apart and then build on it from there. Additionally, interviews should be assessing if candidates have cultural alignment, as much as they are assessing if they have skill and will.
Balancing the art and science of connecting talent to value, amidst a tight market will be the key driver to success as we head into the second half of 2022. If we can be of any 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:
It was refreshing to be back in person with hundreds of PE ops partners to learn from their first-hand perspectives. Key takeaways included:
Executing value creation means that human capital remains a top priority for PE firms.
Ensuring the right management team and board leadership are in place allows for efficient execution against the value creation plan. Resource scarcity has had an immense impact on firms’ abilities to implement and execute plans. Industry leaders discussed tips for how PE firms can source and retain the right people at our recent human capital forum.
Leveraging technology to increase efficiencies is non-negotiable.
The aforementioned human capital challenges have tremendously accelerated digital transformation plans. PE firms are laser-focused on leveraging technology to increase efficiencies and reduce manual tasks to align with value creation plans. This allows portcos to reallocate resources to higher impact areas and rely on technology to solve for the monotonous, repeatable workflow.
Building trust with portcos’ management teams early on is essential.
Trusted partnerships between PE firms and their portfolio companies are vital to a successful investment. Building executive buy-in earlier on in the diligence process with a people-centric approach puts PE firms in a win-win situation. When the (right) management team has ownership in the decision-making process, this creates invaluable efficiencies between the PE firm and portco leadership teams.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of these, contact us here. You can also check out some of these resources:
BluWave works with over 500 PE firms from around the globe as well as their portfolio companies and proactive independent companies, connecting them with pre-vetted, best-in-class, third-party service providers across a variety of resource and functional areas. From information technology and manufacturing to healthcare, consumer goods, and beyond, our clients are expert business builders. In other words, they have their heads in the game and their hands on the pulse of news and insights you can use.
Check out the latest, curated collection of our clients’ musings on everything from retail industry news to ESG and CEO perspectives.
Blackstone recently gathered CEOs across their portfolio companies for their annual CEO Conference. While we live in a world where it’s rare for anyone, nonetheless decision-makers, to agree on political or major topics as well as growth and business strategies, here are some key insights that brought the group together. Highlights include recruiting and retaining talent, finding success in simplicity, and keeping ESG at the top of their agendas.
Vice President at Baird Capital, Becca Schlagenhauf, dives into root causes of grid instability and how the growth in demand can lead to growth in distributed energy resources. The movement towards green energy still comes with its own sets of challenges associated with cost and reliability. As new technologies are being brought online, this has created solutions that are going to be vital to the global electricity infrastructure moving forward.
Learn about Heartwood Partners’ continual increased interest in different recycling and environmental services businesses and about their notion to “do well by doing good.” Their ultimate interests lie in the recyclability of finished products after they have been used by end-customers. Opportunistic themes and strategies involve packaging, agriculture, consumers, and more.
MiddleGround Capital Founding Partner, John Stewart, spills his secrets on how their operational focus enabled their companies to build resilience prior to and during the pandemic. Due to the pent-up demand from 2020 in manufacturing and industrials, Stewart highlights the opportunities for American workers as manufacturing wages are spiking. With the industry being under-invested as a whole for the past few decades, the opportunities for business to take advantage in technologies to produce more products is unmatched.