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Private Equity Technology Podcast

At the core of every business either owned by or being evaluated by Private Equity is technology. Yet many in the Private Equity world don't have a grasp on the magnitude of impact that technology can have on their investments. The Private Equity Technology Podcast will explore the inner workings of the technology applications and people running your potential acquisitions or portfolio companies, providing you another lever to pull as you look to maximize returns. #privateequity #tech

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Episode 39 - Cost Optimization with Crosslake

Russ Albright and Erik Larson of Crosslake Technologies join Alex and Lisa to talk through 5 cost optimization strategies for your portfolio companies' IT function. While the discussion is perhaps more relevant than ever, the topic is one that should always be on the minds of operating partners and portfolio company leadership.Crosslake is a technology due diligence, strategy, and execution consultancy based in Seattle, with offices in Canada and Europe.Website: https://crosslaketech.com/equity


15 May 2020

Rank #1

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Episode 6 - Apax Partners Gets It

Apax Partners, the well-known private equity firm, recently announced the acquisition of ThoughtWorks, the well-known developer of enterprise custom software solutions. Conveniently, with this acquisition, Apax helps to drive home this podcast's base theory that private equity firms should be leveraging technology to improve the outcomes of their portfolio companies. I discuss the acquisition and what it signals to the rest of the private equity world.


22 Sep 2017

Rank #2

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A Rant - KKR (very, very indirectly) Acknowledges Base Theory

Last week, a quote attributed to KKR's Anne Arlinghaus from the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum hit Twitter and made my year!


20 Nov 2017

Rank #3

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Episode 22 - Private Equity IT Trends

Renna Partners' Mike Bestvina dropped in to talk current private equity market IT trends and going ons. We cover two primary topics. First, that the game is just starting when it comes to private equity firms teaming up with IT service firms and strategic advisors in a premeditated way (think Apax buying ThoughtWorks, think Kinzie Capital partnering with Clarity Partners). Then, we talk carve-outs and the challenges that technology creates.


18 Apr 2018

Rank #4

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Episode 5 - The Importance of Visual Design and User Experience

The look and the feel of enterprise software is often (and wrongly) overlooked. The Consumerization of IT continues to pressure organizations to make their enterprise software appealing both visually experientially, to both customers and employees. Chris Bernard, Director of what used to be Truth Labs (www.truthlabs.com) and is now folded under Perficient Digital, discusses the importance of UX/UI in enterprise software and the value it can bring to productivity, satisfaction, and enterprise value. If you work for a Private Equity firm, listen long enough and Chris puts out an amazing offer for you.


5 Sep 2017

Rank #5

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Episode 34 - Pilot Growth

There’s a lot of excitement about the potential value of artificial intelligence. And we are hearing a great deal about exciting demos in a variety of sectors. However, we are also in a phase where a lot of PE firms are somewhat skeptical as to whether or not it can actually help them. How do firms evaluate the opportunities and limitations? How best to handle the complexity of ethics, transparency, and bias?AI can be viewed as a cognitive prosthetic for business intelligence. Pioneer companies are already using AI to innovate and grow fast. William Lee and Neil Callahan of Pilot Growth Equity are here to share their insights on the implications of the AI paradigm shift in the transformation of all business processes within organizations, and their experience working with AI in portfolio companies. They are using their deep industry, analytics and technology expertise to help their portfolio companies get real value from these technologies – now. Will and Neil talk us through their experience of joining data science and investment expertise. We discuss what AI is, conditions required for success and how AI can be leveraged within portfolio companies. Links and resources mentioned in this episode: Pilot Growth Equity - https://www.pilotgrowth.comWilliam Lee - https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-lee-05a8091Neil Callahan - https://www.linkedin.com/in/neilcallahanr4 - r4.co/ Thank you so much for joining us this week. This show was hosted by Lisa Weaver-Lambert.


4 Sep 2019

Rank #6

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Episode 35 - Data 101

We get back to the basics in this episode to deliver an understanding of data and databases. If you're looking for a quick primer that will help contextualize conversations you're having with targets or portfolio companies regarding data, then listen in.Naveed Asem, Chief Data and Analytics Officer of Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN), has devoted his career to building data and analytic solutions and takes us through an impressive coverage of architecture, tools, processes, products, and applications of data.In this episode you’ll learn about: * The difference between relational and non-relational databases* Data lakes, data warehouses and data marts* Data preparation and quality – what’s involved in cleaning, transforming and merging data sets* Exploration and insight reporting – which dashboards to use?Links and resources mentioned in this episode: Naveed Asem - https://www.linkedin.com/in/naveedasem


2 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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Episode 23 - Hiring Tech Executives

Hiring the right tech executives to run your portfolio companies is a serious challenge. Alex Rawlings, of UK-based Raw Selection, dials in from across the pond with strategies and tips on how to find what you're looking for.


1 May 2018

Rank #8

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Episode 33 - The Digital Transformation Payoff

“Investors should talk about their digital investments more and sooner,” advises Suraj Srinivasan, Professor at Harvard Business School, who joins us to discuss his recent article titled ‘Investors Reward Companies That Talk Up Their Digital Initiatives." Public companies talking about their digital investments on quarterly investment calls has grown 5x since 2010 and investors are paying up for those digital investments. Suraj discusses the importance of rethinking the growth strategy with a technology lens and how to value this, as well as the criticality of having the right level of talent within a portfolio business. In this episode you’ll learn: * How to think about the scope of a Digital Strategy* The impact on due diligence of disruption* The importance of tech talent at C-level* How digital investments should be valuedLinks and resources mentioned in this episode: Suraj Srinivasan: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=10700Article: https://hbr.org/2019/06/research-investors-reward-companies-that-talk-up-their-digital-initiativesThank you so much for joining us this week. This show was co-hosted with Lisa Weaver-Lambert.


22 Aug 2019

Rank #9

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Episode 25 - Kinzie Capital Partners

So excited to finally be able to tell the story of Chicago-based Kinzie Capital Partners!Kinzie has an investment thesis that you'll hear from many other private equity firms, targeting lower middle market companies amidst transition in the consumer, manufacturing and services industries. But Kinzie is profoundly different in that it believes that a capital partner must understand technology’s growing influence on operations in order to unleash a company’s true potential. Sounds quite similar to what we've been preaching here for 10+ months, right?!?In a unique strategic partnership with Clarity Partners, a Chicago-based technology consultancy and developer, Kinzie has assembled an in-house team of technology, industry and operations experts that are readily available to assist with due diligence and work closely with their portfolio companies to execute strategic vision. This isn't Apax buying ThoughtWorks. This is Apax and ThoughtWorks going into business together.It's a setup that I believe is completely unique at the present, but one that I expect to become more familiar as the years go by.Check out Kinzie at http://www.kinziecp.com/ or @KinzieCapital


18 Jun 2018

Rank #10

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Episode 3 - Current State of IT Diligence

Mike Bestvina of Liberty Advisor Group checked in to discuss the current state of IT diligence. It was great to hear that IT diligence has just about made its way into the standard pre-acquisition diligence process.


19 Aug 2017

Rank #11

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Episode 29 - Operators-as-a-Service

As private equity firms continue to look to technology as a way of creating growth, the market for operating partners that know technology is picking up. PE firms need pre-investment tech due diligence. During the hold period, they need creative technology solutions and execution of those solutions. And when preparing for sale, they need to maximize shareholder value. Enter Morgan Hill Partners, whose operators-as-a-service (cute, I know) model imagines to have the scalability that Vista and others have to meet the demand of operational leverage. Jim Barnish is our guest: http://bit.ly/private-equity-barnish-linkedin


8 Jul 2019

Rank #12

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A Rant: Dear Associates, You Have An Incredible Opportunity To Make An Impact

Dear Private Equity Associates - You have an enormous opportunity to add value at your respective firms: go deep on understanding the technology both pre- and post-acquisition. Your bosses and bosses' bosses most likely don't have the time to get into it. Every company is run on technology. The more you understand about it, the more impact you can create earlier in your careers!


5 Mar 2018

Rank #13

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Episode 26 - West Monroe Partners On Cybersecurity

Brad Haller and Paul Cotter of West Monroe Partners, a household name in IT diligence, join me on this episode. We get into one increasingly important aspect within IT diligence, namely cybersecurity diligence. Securing your company’s data has become a vital aspect of running a business. There are serious costs in failing to secure that data. How do you protect yourself from acquiring companies with data security issues? Listen up!


18 Jul 2018

Rank #14

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Episode 28 - Data Science with Jike Chong

Data science already is, or will be, a key factor in the success of your investing. In this episode of The Private Equity Technology Podcast, we spoke with Jike Chong, Chief Data Scientist at Acorns, a startup focused on building tools for micro-investing. Jike joined to set the record straight on what data science actually is and where you can be looking to deploy it both pre- and post-acquisition. He has extensive experience building data science teams and practices in Financial Services, including a stint at Silver Lake. Our conversation covered many topics, including: * Potential applications of data science during the PE process and within portfolio companies. * Where to place capability and how to recruit and train skill sets* The challenges in getting data sources that are reliable and useful, and how to start unlocking for value creationJike Chong is on LinkedIn: bit.ly/jike-chongThis episode is co-hosted with Lisa Weaver-Lambert.


24 Jun 2019

Rank #15

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Episode 15 - Goodnight RFP, Hello RSS

Traditional RFIs and RFPs are painful experiences for both buyer and vendor. They're inefficient and often do a poor job of 1) conveying the actual business needs; and 2) vetting vendors. David Carlson, of Halsted Partners, has been on both sides of the traditional processes. Today, he bucks those traditions and deploys a process he calls Rapid Software Selection (RSS). Buyers and vendors (even those that don't end up winning) have been thrilled with the results. Check out David's method to choosing the right software partner in an efficient, thoughtful manner.


13 Feb 2018

Rank #16

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Episode 4 - Deeeeeeep Dive IT Diligence

When you're looking at (or own) a company whose revenues or key operations rely on proprietary technology, it probably makes sense to go much deeper than typical IT diligence, like into the actual software code itself, to understand whether that technology can scale to meet your goals. We call this Deep Dive IT Diligence. Steve Holstad, Director at Perficient, drops by to provide an overview of Deep Dive IT Diligence and when/where it makes sense.


24 Aug 2017

Rank #17

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Episode 32 - The Importance Of Pricing

Despite evidence that pricing is the most critical predictor of profitability, the science of pricing is still relatively underdeveloped for most portfolio companies, and few have optimized their pricing to maximize profits. Pricing is therefore often one of the first levers Private Equity firms should be looking to look to optimize – gaining control over pricing strategy, processes and establishing the foundation for value-based pricing. Paul Hunt, Global President of Pricing Solutions, talks through the underlying technology required to optimize pricing. Pricing Solutions has worked with industry leaders implementing cross-pollination of best pricing research, management and intelligence practices across industries.In this episode you’ll learn: * The unique value of a pricing specialist versus other data analytics skills* The different levels of pricing expertise and technology and infrastructure requirements* Who should be accountable for pricing in a portfolio company* Benefits of pricing automationLinks and resources mentioned in this episode: * Pricing Solutions - https://www.pricingsolutions.com/* Paul Hunt - https://www.linkedin.com/in/pspaulhuntThank you so much for joining us this week. This show was co-hosted with Lisa Weaver-Lambert.


8 Aug 2019

Rank #18

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Episode 17 - Managing The Rollout Of Large Technological Change

Rightfully, more and more attention is being paid to how a portfolio company's operations and culture are affected by large changes to the technology that runs the business. When there are meaningful technological changes, it pays to not only consider how those changes will impact a company and its culture, but to put a plan in place to address and manage the changes. Micah Alpern, culture and change management expert, drops in to share how you can and should prepare for technological change.


26 Feb 2018

Rank #19

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Episode 24 - Da Cloud

Great episode here (though the audio quality isn't). You're undoubtedly hearing a lot about the virtues and benefits of the cloud when it comes to the software running potential acquisitions or portfolio companies. How do you make sense of all of it? In this concise 30-minute overview, Steve Holstad, Director at Perficient, provides a layperson's understanding of 1) which applications belong in the cloud and ways of getting them there; and 2) the primary cloud providers and their offerings. You can find Steve at LinkedIn. Message him and ask him about his free Cloud Assessment for PE portfolio companies. https://www.linkedin.com/in/steveholstad/


21 May 2018

Rank #20