Women in PE Forum Recap | November 2021


November 19, 2021

By: Katie Marchetti

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 key learnings from 2021 and goals for 2022. 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 in private equity and interested in joining fellow leading PE professionals during our next Women in PE Forum? Please contact us at events@bluwave.net.

  • BD and origination: After a year of increased competition and a lack of in-person events, firms have had to find unique ways to offer LPs a good answer for “Why you?” A number of firms are moving to more specialization from an investment strategy perspective—potentially developing new theses and then marketing these changes. Some firms have also taken the approach of becoming more explicit with bankers as to the composition of their portfolio for the purpose of proactive add-on identification.  Many BD teams have optimized their external relationships with more regimented and organized outreach—and been unafraid to follow-up with persistence, even if that had not been needed in the past.
  • Investment teams: The theme of this year has been finding ways to optimize time. Deal teams are being more judicious with travel and are having remote meetings where possible in order to save time that has been spent on travel in the past. Deal teams are also working more closely with ops teams pre-close to ensure returns can be made as soon as the deal is signed.  Additionally, some firms have been unafraid to forego deals in the current heated environment until multiples return to a more normal level.
  • Operating teams: Talent and human capital continues to be a significant focus (both internally and externally) with funds and their portfolio companies. That said, this year has been very difficult to attract, engage and retain talent—prompting more discipline with the process and an increased emphasis on branding.
  • Personal: Remote work has been a blessing and a curse for many—allowing for more flexibility for, for example, working parents, but creating challenges in getting up to speed, especially for more junior people who are meant to learn via the apprenticeship model.  It seems the primary lesson in 2021 is grace—having grace for other people and also yourself.  This time period is inarguably difficult with the number of changes and challenges it has presented, so give others and yourself a break when you can!

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to gather with other leading women in PE to discuss learnings and takeaways from yet another unprecedented year. If there is anything we can help you with as you finish out the race to year-end, 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 and we will be happy to help you right away.