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Networking with Private Equity Firms?

Anyone have any advice for networking with PE firms whom may need CFO's for their portfolio companies?

Answers

John Reese
Title: Managing Director
Company: ERA
(Managing Director, ERA) |

Mark,

The premier location to access PE Firms is The Association for Corporate Growth - www.ACG.org

You should look at their Website, see if you have a connection and try to attend a meeting in your area.

Regards,

John

Topic Expert
Brenda Morris
Title: Board of Directors, Audit Committee Chai..
Company: Boot Barn
(Board of Directors, Audit Committee Chair, Boot Barn) |

I agree with John that ACG is a great resrouce, I would also talk to the larger accounting firms who have relationships and groups in house that specialize in VC and PEG companies and know the firms well.

Topic Expert
Jim Quinlan
Title: CFO, Managing Director
Company: Trinity Group, BlueGold, Genergy, Wellco..
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Managing Director, Trinity Group, BlueGold, Genergy, Wellcount) |

Since I work in a PE firm, I talk with others in PE groups all the time. I build my network by participating in investing-directed seminars and venture/start-up business presentations.

Lawyers who regularly do securities work are good connections, since PE needs good legal work. Seek out those lawyers and find some synergism.

Good ideas attract people who place capital, so, find those who are seeking and see what they have turned up. Maybe you can meet a PE person.

Topic Expert
Vernon Reizman
Title: CFO
Company: RCM Industries, Inc.
(CFO, RCM Industries, Inc.) |

Banks are also a great resource for netowrking as they are often using such firms for troubled companies.

Mike Adhikari
Title: Owner
Company:
(Owner, ) |

AMAA (Alliance of M&A Advisors, www.AMAAonline.org) is another association for active networking with PE firms. AMAA has two conferences in a year; next one is in Las Vegas on 1/18, 19. Then in Chicago in July. Approx. 100 PE firms are expected. (I am president of AMAA). You can also directly reach PE firms using databases like Private Equity Info.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

One last way are identifying major vendors to PE firms; those firms that are involved in the acquisition. That's an entry point into meeting the right PE firm for your goals.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP of Finance & Operations
Company: RBA Consulting
(VP of Finance & Operations, RBA Consulting) |

Here's my experience with CFOs in my local networking group trying to work with PE firms. Lots of people trying to get connected into PE firms, so buy doing some homework and networking - help give you an edge on which ones to pursue.

PE firms generally do not change their CFOs unless necessary and the CFOs in the firms have an incentive to stay until exit. As most PE firms are staffed with I-Bank experience, they are buying the management team and like to stick with the team. There are some PE firms who are more aggressive than others when performance slides, those firms would be more likely to have an opening - so use your network to find out what PE-owned firms are underperforming, that could be valuable insight when approaching the owners.

Also, due to a PE firm's desired short window to hold the company, it suits them to work with people who understand PE firm's objectives and how to meet them (e.g. getting a business prepped to sell, near-term EBITDA improvement, etc.) I've seen a CFO move from one PE owned firm to the next - this are the folks you want to meet.

Someone who has established their reputation with PE firms would be a great referral source for both giving you credibility into PE firms, but also for lead generation for potential roles - as they will be getting calls from other PE firms.

Hope this helps - after you use some of the resources mentioned above to locate PE firms of interest. Good luck.

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