The private equity industry for many years lived up to its name – “private”. However, in the last few years this relatively small asset class has become a global player and a sought after target for the media. Much of this has been brought on by a former private equity executive, Mitt Romney, running for President. This quick and generally negative introduction to the public has happened rapidly which has created an image problem for the private equity industry.
When I graduated from college I knew very little about private equity but was fortunate enough to land a job in this industry. Since that time I have never looked back and have the utmost respect for those that work in this industry. There is no doubt that this industry is comprised of some of the best and brightest individuals and also hard working as well. Major media attention on the private equity industry has been strongly skewed towards the negatives which include job reduction, management overhaul and large profits. The fact is that none of these factors are bad unless portrayed in a certain context. Sometimes companies need to layoff workers and change management in order to survive or run more efficiently and there is absolutely nothing wrong with creating wealth. Wealth creation is what built the United States to what it is today. Of course there are isolated examples of questionable motives but that can be said of any industry.
I believe that most of the individuals that choose this career path have a deep respect and admiration for entrepreneurs and want to support and guide those that have the courage to create and innovate. I am now a principal in a private equity fund, DCA Capital Partners, and we focus on making investments into what we define as the lower middle market ($10 to $150 million in Revenue). The companies we invest into have created some type of product and/or service and grown that company through hard work and dedication. Our capital and strategic advisory will help companies to grow beyond what they have and ultimately create more value for themselves, our fund and ultimately the consumer. This process is crucial to our economy and allows us to take big risks on new ideas and technologies. The private equity industry as a whole is at fault and must do a better job in the future of demonstrating to the public the admiration they have for the entrepreneur and the health of the business community.
What motivated me to write this blog is the recent Crossfit and Anthos Capital transaction that is taking place. This has been a very interesting development to watch considering I am both a Crossfitter and a partner in a private equity fund. I appreciate how passionate the Crossfit community is but most of the arguments and discussions that I am seeing from the community are not entirely accurate which is in alignment with the general populations view of private equity.
I can not speak on behalf of Anthos Capital but I can speak in regards to private equity investments. Private Equity funds are first and foremost concerned with investing into good growth companies that have strong management. It is purely arbitrage to buy low and sell high, no different than the public markets. If I were making this investment I would have no intention of changing something that is already working really well. The ideal role of a private equity investor in this scenario would be to make strategic suggestions but at the end of the day trust management to continue to grow the company as they have for years. This is not a hostile takeover or a buyout so this should indicate that Anthos Capital trusts Crossfit management team as an equal partner.
I am an optimist at heart and ultimately hope that Anthos Capital and Crossfit can find common ground and work together to better the brand and community we all love as Crossfitters. I also hope that those individuals in the private equity industry use this example and others as a wake up call that private equity is no longer “private” and start truly showing the benefits of this industry to the business world.