The Value of Time has Increased…So, What Now?

“Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing.” (Albert Einstein)

For a while now, I’ve had this feeling that the value of time has been increasing. At first, I just sensed a hastening in the pace of business.  Anyone who uses email can probably attest to this.  Did you know that if you don’t respond to a colleague’s email within four hours, you may be triggering anxiety within them based on an innate fear of social rejection?  Sad, but true.  Anyway, I went on to wonder whether each moment in our modern lives has more intrinsic value given what can now be produced with that time, thanks largely to technology.  However, I felt in danger of wandering into the realm of quantum physics and figured I would focus on fighting other metaphysical fires.

Then, I read a short but powerful blog by Seth Godin called, “Opportunity Costs Just Went Up.” Godin posits that every decision has a price given that you are forced to give up alternatives upon choosing a course of action. He goes on to say, “Our access to the world of learning and online resources means that the alternatives are far more valuable than they used to be.”  Well said.  So, this implies that because we all have finite lifespans, it behooves us to not only understand the alternatives we are giving up, but also derive ways to optimize our decision-making process to maximize the ROI on time spent.

So, how are we to respond to make best use of the time we are allotted?  Sometimes it’s easier to identify things we should stop doing than those that we should start doing, but I propose a few ideas and life hacks here.

For Business:

  1. Develop Time-Denominated KPIs. This is easier in concept than in practice because it requires measurement of the time required to complete a specific task or produce a certain output. However, think about how powerful a material reduction in, say, hold time can be for the customer experience. This piece from Inc. Magazine touches on this point in an article entitled, “Forget About Saving Customers Money. Save Them Time Instead.”  Then, you might check out this admittedly VERY deep cut on YouTube…tune in around 0:48 where Herrell says, “…The new currency of business is time.”  His ensuing commentary is a fascinating exploration of the significance of rapid response times in a globally connected world.  You never know, we may get to a point where dashboards begin reporting on Profit (or Revenue) generated per hour spent on a specific task.  I’d love to have more visibility into how that could apply in my own world and have made some progress by implementing time management software called RescueTime.
  2. Set Weekly Goals. We all have to-do lists, but sometimes the deadline is too far into the future or, worse even, undefined.  It’s relatively easy to conceptualize the things we need to get done over the course of a week, so defining a list of tasks to be completed over this time period can be quite powerful in reducing anxiety and stimulating action in the present.  Also, we know that the brain rewards the completion of unfinished tasks by freeing up focus for new challenges, a phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik Effect1.
  3. Safeguard the Time of Your Future Self. It’s tempting to commit to future activities out of a sense of reciprocity to the person who invites you or because of that nagging fear of missing out. Remember, though, that future calendar items that you really don’t feel like doing become pesky obligations in the present before too long.  I read somewhere that you can always tell how you feel about a person or activity when you reflect on the face you make when receiving a call, email or letter from them.  If the face you make is anything approximating a wince, then it’s safe to say that you should politely decline.

For Life:

  1. Avoid “Cheap” Dopamine. With great power comes great responsibility…to not waste time on your smart phone!  Our phones, and the myriad of apps on them, are in many cases designed to promote engagement with them at a neurological level.  It’s not a coincidence that alerts show up in RED and video games offer delightful visual and auditory rewards to keep you coming back. Think about the creative ideas you could have formulated while you were nose-to-screen during that 30-minute Fortnite session.  To that end, I’ve taken drastic measures such as deleting all games and turning my screen to grayscale to change my phone from a dopamine producer back into a productivity tool.
  2. Resist Click-Bait News Headlines. I’m experimenting with a new life hack which is to essentially ignore all digital news and only read the physical newspaper that arrives every Sunday.  I figure, if it’s fit to print on Sunday, then it’s survived the weekly flurry of activity and worth my time to consume the information. This hasn’t been easy, but it seems to be freeing up a good amount of time that I could be spending more productively, and my screen time metric has been plummeting.  One day at a time.  The daily tug of war between screen time and real life is a zero-sum game, and we now live in a 24-hour news cycle that will stop at nothing to capture our attention. So, less news = more time for potentially better uses of our ocular energies, like eye contact with another human.
  3. Proceed Cautiously with Streaming Content. I’ve got a love / hate relationship with Netflix.  On the one hand, it’s frequently my first stop after firing up the Apple TV.  On the other, I’ve been guilty of spending an entire episode’s worth of time just scrolling through titles to find something worthy of viewing.  This is not only a terrific waste of time, it also drives my wife insane.  If, against all odds, I do ultimately land on a title that I deem worthy of watching, I’m often disappointed.  So, I’ve started to apply the test of waiting to get a referral from three or more humans whose opinion I trust (i.e. not a recommendation engine) rather than venturing into the rabbit hole of title surfing2.  Come to think of it, maybe I’ll just go cold turkey until Game of Thrones Season 8 premiers on April 14thon HBO at which point, I’ll be doing a swan dive off the wagon.
  4. Generally, Avoid the “Feed” on Social Media Sites3. The “Feed” enjoys elevated status in the pantheon of time wasters.  It’s a fabulous way to distract yourself with everyone else’s overshares, self-promotions and marketing messages to the detriment of your productive energies.  I can count on one hand the number of people in my network who consistently share high value content, and most of these contributors have their own blogs.  If this is the case for you too, just visit their blog sites for updates so that you don’t have to get sucked into the vortex of meaningless posts.
  5. When Possible, Read Physical Books. If we assume that we should spend some amount of time reading for the purpose of self-improvement, then it’s better to spend that time with physical books.  To start, most online articles or digital content is written in a format for rapid consumption.  For instance, this piece is what’s called a “listicle” which means that the content is presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.  However, this can result in relatively weaker retention of information.  As reported in Scientific American back in 2013, when people read on a screen, they tend to take shortcuts and look for keywords rather than going line by line as they would on a paper-based document.  As a result, the reader can miss out on the subtleties of creative or academic writing and more quickly forget valuable information which invalidates the exercise of reading in the first place.  You also miss out on the psychic benefit of turning pages which reinforces a sense of accomplishment.  And, most importantly, how else are people going to know how smart you are until they see all of your knowledge trophies (i.e. books) on your bookshelf?

Well, hopefully this was worth the 3-4 minutes, and I’d be interested to get any additional ideas about how to enhance the ROI on all of our valuable time. Comments please!

_______

1Russian psychologist Dr. Bluma Zeigarnik stumbled upon this finding in the 1920’s after observing that upon returning to a restaurant where she had just finished lunch, her waiter did not remember her, where she was sitting or what she had ordered. She found this peculiar given that the waiter had previously taken everyone’s order accurately without writing anything down.  Zeigarnik later conducted a series of experiments that reinforced the conclusion that the human brain remains more focused on unfinished tasks – something that’s also been referred to as the “inner nag”.

2Incidentally, if you’re into mind-bending dystopian movies, check out the 2011 Sci-Fi thriller, In Time, starring Justin Timberlake.  Imagine a world where a new economic system has been devised where the currency is time itself and each person has a rechargeable clock on their arm that counts down how long they have to live.  Note that I happen to disagree with Rotten Tomatoes on this one and suggest that it’s worth the 109 minutes to watch it.  I believe you can rent it on iTunes.

3It’s not lost on me that this piece will likely get some engagement from its appearance on my network’s wall.  Sorry not sorry.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects.  Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value.  For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.

Mark Gartner, Principal & Head of Investment Development

Private Equity Trends & Predictions for 2019

“Prediction is difficult – particularly when it involves the future.” (Mark Twain)

I know all of the reasons I shouldn’t make predictions about the private equity industry or any other industry for that matter. After all, blog predictions are generally worth what you pay for them, and I’ve been incorrectly forecasting a recession for the past four years. However, I’m going to do it anyway through a blend of trendspotting and inferences about where this might take us. With any luck, one or more of these prognostications will prove to be true. Note that this list is not intended to be comprehensive, nor do I suggest that anyone act on any of the ideas below without sufficient contemplation or investigation lest you be dealt a heavy dose of regretful rumination.

  • The Hunt for Recession Resistance Continues. We’re currently amidst the second longest period of economic expansion in our country’s history (second only to 1991-2001), and the list of investors willing to sign up for the career risk of championing an inherently cyclical business at peak valuations is ever diminishing. Therefore, companies that existed pre-2008 and weathered the Great Recession without issue or even grew will continue to enjoy elevated status during Monday Morning Meeting new deal discussions. Some typically defensive sectors or strategies might include healthcare, legal services, “found money” business models that compensate service providers based on savings generated, small luxuries, regulatory / compliance-driven businesses, and other non-discretionary services.
  • Add-On Strategies Remain Important but Grow More Challenging. A great way to grow when valuations are high is through a disciplined acquisition strategy. This is because add-ons can usually be acquired for an EBITDA multiple that is less than the multiple applied to the larger acquiring entity. I don’t see pricing for relatively smaller businesses (say, <$3MM of EBITDA) ever reaching parity with the larger entities that have achieved the critical mass to historically enjoy a valuation premium, but the gap between purchase multiples based on size has been narrowing in many sectors. This is due, in part, to the growing competition for smaller assets by lower middle market private equity, search funds, independent sponsors, family offices and private equity-backed portfolio companies. Investors should preserve a healthy skepticism for new platform investments predicated on add-ons to create value that don’t also have a credible organic growth story.
  • Everything-as-a-Service (“EaaS”). This was the year that recurring revenue jumped the shark. Just when I thought I had heard them all, I was recently introduced to Dental Practice Management and Digital Marketing as-a-Service. The valuation benefit afforded to companies that generate a majority of their revenue from ongoing payments has driven many sectors to attempt to re-tool their revenue models accordingly. Investment banks have followed suit in their presentation of these businesses which has forced us to take a much more critical eye to any revenue streams presented as recurring.
  • De-Commoditization (or Humanization) of Capital. If I have to regurgitate the dry powder statistic one more time, then I myself may regurgitate. Ok, fine, only for you do I do this…there is over $1 trillion of private equity capital globally sitting on the (gulp) sidelines. What does this mean for the industry? In short, “Mo Money Mo Problems” 1 . In other words, private equity funds will have to increasingly fend off the image of commoditization given the dizzying number of firms from which an investment bank and/or business owner must choose. Prepare to see a lot more touchy-feely stuff on websites accompanied by an increasingly sophisticated marketing presence to lend a humanized element to private equity. I’m personally betting on the growing prevalence of things like testimonial videos, Mission Vision Values statements, clever digital marketing initiatives, snazzier websites and print advertising in our industry. With any luck, these efforts will succeed in driving business owners to the best private equity partner to suit their personal and professional objectives which is the ideal outcome for both parties.
  • Renewed & More Systematic Pursuit of the Proprietary Deal. Believe it or not, proprietary deals could once comprise a material portion of a private equity fund’s deal flow. While many current private equity professionals may not have lived through or have yet been born during this era, it was a thing (or so I hear). Lately, many funds have differentiated themselves by sourcing deals through less competitive auction processes, but if necessity is the mother of all invention, we may see a revival in the pursuit of proprietary deals. However, this time around it is likely to be more sophisticated through the use of new data and direct marketing tools that were not previously available. We’ll call this Proprietary Deals 2.0. TBD if / how successful this strategy will be, because proprietary deals tend to have this timelessly elusive quality that make them hard to systematize regardless of the tools at one’s disposal.
  • Private Equity Grows More Technology Enabled. The English word technology is derived from the Greek word teknologia which means, “A systematic treatment of an art, craft or technique”. Fascinating to compare that definition to the current state of private equity work streams which have been changing for a while now from more artisanal approaches to behaviors that are increasingly automated and technology driven. Today, technology has permeated nearly every functional area of the private equity activity set including business development, marketing, due diligence, financial reporting, and capital raising. What’s fascinating it that adoption is consistent in certain areas, such as CRMs which are now ubiquitous, but also inconsistent in others. In other words, our industry is still figuring out how to apply technology where it generates the highest ROI, and this creates opportunities for the early adopters who figure it out first.
  • Cyber Security Creates Both Risks and Opportunities. Not to be too much of an alarmist, but the cyber-villain community is getting better at what they do. Perhaps they realized that the jig was up on the “Just Wire Me a Few Thousand Dollars, and I’ll Send You $100 million in Return,” game and decided to develop some new material, but I’m noticing increasingly creative strategies to attempt to relieve me or my firm of our financial resources. A recently popular rouse is to mimic the email address of a firm leader and direct an employee of the firm or one of our portfolio companies to do something beneficial to the scammer. For now, these sorts of schemes can be defended by (i) trusting one’s intuition about something that seems fishy, and/or (ii) hovering over the email address to inspect the link. However, my gut tells me that we will need to be increasingly vigilant to these sorts of attacks in the New Year. The good news is that where a problem arises, so does a business opportunity. Be on the lookout for new ways to play cyber security from an investment perspective.
  • Pursuit of Historically Neglected Sectors. Competition is increasingly driving private equity to sectors that haven’t historically felt the love from investors. In a market characterized by elevated valuations and abundant capital, the creative investor will win the day if they can unlock strategies to deploy capital in industries previously perceived to not present compelling returns potential. A good example of this is the rise of private equity-backed retail healthcare. This year alone, I’ve been contacted about investment opportunities in Podiatry, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, Oral Surgery, and Dermatology. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing private equity creeping into other consumer services realms such as drycleaners, plumbers, roofers or nail salons.

So, what do you think, do any of these trends or predictions resonate with you? Fire away with comments. Here’s to a Happy New Year and a successful 2019!

1 Notorious B.I.G.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting…To Sell Your Business

Yes, you read the title of this piece correctly. I’ve analogized the process of selling a business to childbirth1. I went around and around to find any other metaphor but kept coming back to this one. Both happen relatively infrequently during a lifetime, are fraught with fear of the unknown, profoundly and forever affect the participants, and present a host of opportunities to say, “I thought we were friends, how come you never told me about that?!” Therefore, as a proud father of two with nearly 15 years of experience in the M&A industry, I thought I would share some candid reflections on things a business owner should expect in their journey to achieving liquidity. So, put your feet up, remember to breathe, stay hydrated, and we’ll get through this together2.

  • You will learn new vocabulary words. You’ll begin to develop a fluency in two new groupings of words. The first are words with which you were previously only superficially familiar. You might have heard others in your network, perhaps other business owners who sold their companies, use certain terminology when describing the process. Without firsthand experience, these words lacked any visceral or practical meaning. Get ready to intimately understand what things like exclusivity, indemnity, and working capital adjustment mean. If you’re lucky, you’ll be surrounded by trusted advisors and working with an investor with a good bedside manner who can explain everything in English. The second group of words are the insider jargon used by accountants, lawyers and investment bankers that, even after the process, still won’t make any sense. Don’t waste any energy trying to figure out what things like synergy practically mean for your business.
  • Strangers will demand access to private information. It would be perfectly normal to recoil the first time someone you don’t know very well asks you how much EBITDA you are generating and how much you paid yourself last year. However, you can expect more than a few questions from people you would have liked to have known a bit better before revealing the intimate details of your business. While these types of inquiries may feel a tad forward, understand that the people asking them are professionals who intend only to use the answers as one of many datapoints necessary to advance the deal towards a close.
  • Uncomfortable procedures. I’m not going to sugarcoat this, the due diligence phase may smart a little bit. Business due diligence usually comes first and will be led by your new investor. It will typically entail someone that appears to be the same age as one of your kids (or grandchildren) asking a series of questions that makes you wonder if they grasp what your company does. In reality, they are simply making sure to build a strong foundation for their understanding of the business based on the information you’ve provided. Then, the accountants arrive. If you’ve been putting off an audit because you thought the process would be too painful, just wait until you experience a Quality of Earnings assessment. This exercise will include a near cellular look at the constituents of revenue and cost to assess the accuracy and sustainability of your company’s reported financial performance. You can also expect legal, environmental and insurance-related investigations into the business. Just know that while one or more of these exercises will feel like an exam, they are a part of nearly every deal that gets done to help an investor build conviction that they’re not buying a lemon. The good news is that, afterwards, the company will likely be better organized and more self-aware about its health than it has ever been.
  • Tense moments with your partner. In this case, the partner to which I’m referring is the new investor in the business. It’s easy for emotion to take hold of a negotiation, but the key is to remain dispassionate and use the benefit of time and deep breathing before responding to sensitive deal points. This is especially important if you will be retaining some ownership in the business alongside the new partner going forward. Like many relationships, effective communication will protect against a lot of conflict that arises from misaligned expectations. Further, maintaining a strong working relationship will allow you to focus on constructively growing the business together once the deal has closed.
  • You’ll be ready for it to be over. In most instances, the gestation period of a transaction with a private equity fund is 3-6 months from “hello” to the closing dinner. You will inevitably encounter deal fatigue and other frustrations regarding why things are not moving along more quickly. However, it’s important to remember that by the time you are saying, “I just want this to be over,” the investor will have likely incurred substantial legal, accounting, and other due diligences expenses to drive towards a close. This accumulating cost creates an incentive for the investor to close as quickly as possible. And, believe it or not, investors want to get the deal done too and move on to the important business of growing the company. Your interests are aligned in this way. Stay vigilant, though, to make sure that anyone getting paid by the hour isn’t dragging out the process to their benefit. Sometimes the most efficient solution is to speak directly to the new investor to fix any bottlenecks.
  • New perspectives on the other side. Having experienced a transaction is binary – you’ve either gone through it, or you haven’t. If you have, you gain an array of memories that will forever affect your outlook on business and life. You’ll also be equipped with a ton of advice you can dispense for free and on an unsolicited basis to other business owners thinking about selling their companies. And, perhaps most importantly, you will have the transcendent satisfaction that you’ve lived the entirety of the circle of entrepreneurial life.

I know what you’re thinking, some of this sounds a little scary. Not to worry, just like with having kids, the less pleasant experiences tend to fade away while the positive aspects linger. If that wasn’t the case, then people wouldn’t strive to sell multiple businesses (or have multiple kids). And, don’t lose sight of the fact that a successful sale brings the liquidity and wealth diversification long pursued by many an entrepreneur. What’s more, a deal with a private equity fund can create an opportunity for a “second bite of the apple” whereby any ownership you retain in the business has the potential to appreciate in value before another future sale. In some cases, we’ve seen the second bite be worth more than the first.

If you’re considering an exit or taking on a partner, it’s a good idea to start doing your homework early. Part of the learning process might include informal conversations with investors to get their perspectives on your business and to begin to develop trust with possible suitors. Please get in touch with us any time if you want to learn more about our investment criteria, philosophy for creating value and/or stories about how we’ve helped other business owners navigate an exit

1Rest assured that this passed editorial review by my wife.

2For maximum effect, I recommend playing “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King in the background while you read this blog.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.

How to Make an M&A Conference Worth Your Time

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field.” (Niels Bohr)

It’s no secret that one of the many channels for sourcing investment opportunities is to attend the M&A conferences that pepper the calendar throughout the year. The fact that these events are well attended is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can usually set up a lot of relevant meetings, but on the other, your competition is trying to do the exact same thing. So, after reflecting on lessons learned for generating an ROI from the time and cost of the trip, I thought it was worth crystalizing the ideas below:

  • Identify & Emphasize High Priority Meetings. By this point, you should be able to quantitatively define the highest priority relationships to your firm across major metro areas. There are many ways to do this in a data-driven manner, but the answers should reside in your CRM and be readily retrievable in an automated report. Using your version of this report, identify any “must have” meetings at the conference – if those groups are not participating or you are current in your communications with them, then a reasonable conclusion is to not attend the event. Your time is too valuable to waste on unnecessary travel. The strategy of throwing on a blazer and indiscriminately shaking hands with as many people as possible at an M&A conference is over.
  • Request Meetings Early. Goes without saying, but the sooner you request meetings, the higher the likelihood of getting those meetings on the books. The standard you should aim for is submitting meeting requests the same day that the attendee list is published. In a market this competitive, the implied value of a meeting is higher than it has ever been, so procrastinating will only serve to limit your effectiveness. And, I recommend having the senior-most attendee of the conference send out the meeting requests themselves – a seemingly minor point, but all things being equal, the other party is more likely to agree to a meeting when you put in the extra effort. I’ve always been more impressed with senior-level attention than someone’s ability to delegate tasks to junior team members.
  • Prepare for Each Meeting. You are only going to get 20 minutes or so per meeting, so you better make each minute count. You should already be up to speed on the vital stats of each firm and person with whom you are meeting, so don’t waste time with the “commercial”. You should go into every meeting with a game plan for maximizing the effectiveness of the discussion. Presuming you are using a CRM to track your interactions with firm relationships, print out the necessary pages that highlight prior interactions and recent deals. Moreover, make sure you are current on the specifics of any recent interactions to create continuity in the discussion. Nobody likes it when you forget the details of prior conversations, so use notes from past conversations to create a seamless transition to your meeting.
  • Don’t Try to “Catch Someone at the Cocktail Reception”. A common response when someone’s calendar is full is that you should just try to connect at one of the group gatherings. This is an ineffective and annoying suggestion for at least four reasons. First, it’s predicated on the assumption that both of you will actually attend these events which is not always the case. Second, if you both do attend, then it requires you to essentially read name badges (if provided) until you fortuitously happen to come across the person in question. Third, the setting will not be conducive to productive conversation as it will usually transpire after a long day of speed dating when a person’s head will be spinning from a dozen or so other discussions and they are not especially interested in maintaining the level of focus required for the exchange to bear fruit. Fourth, if the person was truly interested in meeting, then they should have suggested a specific time / place to meet or proposed a call after the event.
  • Set up Meetings Off the Regular Schedule. It’s easy to get lost amongst the shuffle of the back-to-back 20- minute sessions, so an effective way to be memorable is to visit outside of the regular schedule of meetings. In other words, steer your higher priority meetings to coffee, drinks or meals when you can go longer form and have more meaningful interactions. I’ve found that once you’ve broken bread with someone, you can almost always count on a high level of responsiveness going forward.
  • Take Notes, and Follow Up. Meetings without follow up might as well have never happened. If you don’t follow up, you are essentially assuming that the other person will follow up with you which is dangerous, because most people don’t. A simple trick is to take note of key action items on the back of a person’s business card so that you can use it as a reminder for when you get back to the office. Perhaps there was a point in life when I could have remembered everything I needed to do without writing it down, but those days are a distant memory. Second only to my laptop, my post-meeting stack of annotated business cards is the item about which I’m most concerned to bring home with me. So, whether it’s on business cards or another method, make sure you keep a record of what you said you would do so that you can be good to your word.

Having attended dozens of these events, I’ve definitely been on the wrong side of this advice before realizing the err of my ways. Hopefully some of these tips will enhance your effectiveness in wringing value out of the conference circuit. Happy networking to you all.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.

Eight Powerful Quotes For Business and Life

In 2006, I started a Word document to capture lessons learned from various mistakes and accomplishments I had experienced in the earlier years of my career. I did this to help me do less of what didn’t work and more of what did.  Over time, this document took on a life of its own and slowly evolved into a place to store quotes that resonated with me personally and professionally.  Now that I’m over a decade into the process of trying to download the wisdom of some of the world’s greatest thinkers and business minds, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes and reactions to them.

  1. “All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; third it is accepted as self-evident” (Arthur Schopenhauer). This is the song of anyone that has been a change agent on the right side of truth. Ridicule and opposition can take many forms in business and in life, but there are few things as sweet as knowing that you courageously embraced the right path, despite its challenges, and persevered to see your vision become a reality. What’s fascinating is when you reverse the order of this quote and examine things that had the early allure of being true but proved to be false.
  2. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” (Albert Einstein). This one comes in handy when your background or skillset is different than that of the majority of your professional peers. There’s nothing wrong with not being like everyone else so long as you are not held to the same yardstick of tree climbing when you are by nature a much better swimmer.  Best to find those situations where your very particular set of skills (nod to Liam Neeson) find impactful use and are valued accordingly.  The best people in any discipline are simply those that have embraced their unique attributes and applied them in settings where they can be better than everyone else. This is the ‘genius’ to which Einstein was referring.
  3. “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do” (Andrew Carnegie).  People tend to vote with their time and their behavior, so a good practice is to observe whether their words and actions are in sync. From my experience, this is one of the faster ways to determine whether you are dealing with someone that you can trust.  In a related quote, Peter Drucker once said that the most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said – watching behavior can be a very useful tool to fill in gaps where people might not have been as forthright as they could have been.
  4. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi). Without fail, this quote always results in an instant attitude adjustment for me because it holds up a mirror and asks me what I could be doing differently. It’s easy to see the speck in someone else’s eye while neglecting the plank in your own.  If you aren’t willing to behave in a way that brings about the desired change, then how can you expect others to do the same?
  5. “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced” (Vincent Van Gogh). I find there’s a strange relationship between our fears and desires such that we frequently need to overcome that which we are most afraid of to accomplish our goals.  Oftentimes fear can give way to doubt and a toxic inner feedback loop that can make success, however you define it, more challenging.  A good way to reverse unproductive thinking is to take whatever steps, be them small or large, that move you towards your goal and build on little victories to enhance your confidence. Interesting how well the great painters understood this – Picasso echoed the sentiment when he said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.”
  6. “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you” (Mark Cuban). This is a classic motivator for the procrastinators out there. Regardless of the station you hold, there are powerful competitive forces at work that threaten to erode the ground you’ve fought to attain. And, it’s a good reminder that there are those out there that would love to have your job. Anything less than a 100% effort will not prevail in the long run.
  7. “Pessimistic visions about almost anything always strike the public as more erudite than optimistic ones” (Joseph Schumpeter). It’s easy to sound smart when you pass on an opportunity which is an unfortunate fact that compels many people to eschew action. What’s harder is to take a position, with full knowledge of the risks, and proceed with the belief that your prudent risk will find reward. Think of it this way, would you rather sound smart, which has little tangible value, or be the person who courageously seized on opportunity where others walked away? History is full of examples of the great reward afforded those that saw the glass half full.
  8. “The world does not belong to the pessimist. Believe me” (Warren Buffet). This is a wonderful follow up to Quote #7 above from a guy that, by last count, has over 80 billion reasons to back up his conclusion. What’s interesting is that Mr. Buffet is widely known for his tendency to say “no,” yet his words convey the truth that it’s his smart “yesses” which have yielded his success. This is a bit of an aside, but the man is simply a national treasure, and it seems that every time he’s given a platform, he shares conventional wisdom that makes me wonder, palm to forehead, why I hadn’t thought of it sooner. My list of quotes from Mr. Buffet alone could have populated an entire blog.

So, what do you think? Hopefully you saw as much truth in these quotes as I have, and I’d love to hear from anyone that has quotes to add to the list above.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle- market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.

From Bridesmaid to Bride Part II: Post-Pitch Tactics to Win a Sell-Side Mandate from a PE Fund

It’s a seller’s market and has been for a while now, which means a lot of pitching activity. So, I thought I’d expand on a prior blog post with some thoughts about post-pitch behaviors and tactics to best position your firm to win the mandate. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some ideas for consideration:

  • Proactive Follow Up Notes. It might seem obvious to send a note after a pitch meeting, but you’d be surprised how many do not. At a minimum, it’s nice to see an email come over with some reflections on the visit and affirmations of continued interest to work with the portfolio company in question. The best investment banks also send hand-written notes to each attendee from the private equity firm and portfolio company management team. To be clear, this won’t resuscitate a group that blew it in the meeting, but it’s a classy move. Whether you win the mandate or not, the goal is to leave the private equity firm with a high esteem for you and your bank such that you’ll get the call again when another portfolio company comes up for sale.
  • High Level of Responsiveness. Inevitably, there are follow up items from the pitch based on additional information and perspectives the private equity firm wants to see. How quickly and thoughtfully you assemble responses is indicative of a few things. First, it shows whether you took note of any follow-up items during the meeting and didn’t wait for us to ask about them. Second, it demonstrates how you are prioritizing the post-pitch action items which indicates where we stand amongst your other activities. Lastly, it’s potentially indicative of how close you are to the answers of the questions posed by the private equity firm. In other words, some groups are good at positioning themselves as experts but may not be as familiar with the subject matter as you were led to believe. Long lead times on follow up work may mean that it’s requiring a lot of digging to get to the answer.
  • Always Be Marketing. The quality and aesthetics of any post-pitch follow up work is just as important as anything you presented during the pitch. If deliverables come over in a polished, well organized way, then we know that you weren’t just putting on airs for the formal pitch and that we should expect a consistently high standard of work product. The opposite is also true, so make sure anything that comes over reflects the quality with which you want to be associated.
  • Data-Driven Evidence of Pitched vs. Actual Valuations. This is one of the more valuable sets of information you can provide after the pitch (if not during). We recognize the motivations to inflate your valuation range for the pitch, so understanding how conservative or aggressive history has proven you to be is crucial. The best banks can readily retrieve this analysis across numerous recent deals to highlight how accurately they’ve telegraphed likely valuation to sponsors.
  • Senior-Level Attention. We’re realistic and expect that the laboring oar of execution in a sell-side process is going to fall on the mid- and junior-level team members, which, incidentally, is why we pay close attention to their contributions in the meeting. However, we like to see mindshare from senior bankers and firm leadership both during and after the meeting. In a few cases, the difference between winning and losing was having an investment bank’s CEO call us to reiterate their desire to help us achieve a great outcome. It always feels good to know that our portfolio company is going to be taken seriously and not get lost amidst a firm’s other assignments.
  • Take Feedback in Stride. Whether it’s constructive feedback following the pitch or a conversation about why you didn’t get chosen, know that we go through an impartial and rigorous process to identify the best group for the assignment. Use any feedback to thoughtfully make your case if you think we’ve missed something – it’s ok to push back, but also remember that how you handle feedback will leave a lasting impression. Don’t disqualify yourself from future processes by responding emotionally or saying something you’ll regret later.
  • Preserve Confidentiality. This should go without saying, but it seems to be the norm these days for banks to gossip about which private equity portfolio companies are going to be in market. Presumably, this information is being used as currency to win brownie points with other private equity firms or strategics insofar as interested buyers might appreciate knowing about a deal well in advance of it coming to market. However, it doesn’t feel good to us when we invite a small group of banks to pitch, and our portfolio company’s EBITDA suddenly becomes part of the public record along with the knowledge that it is for sale. This gets back to us, so please respect the confidentiality agreements.

To all our friends in the investment banking community, we hope these ideas are helpful and provide some transparency around our thought process. As always, we look forward to hearing from you and doing business together.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle- market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.

Why is it Called Private Equity Anyway?

“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” (Socrates)

Words that we encounter frequently have a way of engraining themselves in our mind, often attached to a visceral feeling more so than an academic understanding of what they really mean.  I’ll never forget when I first reflected on the word “convertible” and sheepishly realized that it wasn’t a coincidence that cars with the ability to convert from a hard top to no top had been given this name.  How many other words in our daily vocabulary fall into this category without our awareness of it?  For starters, what about the term “private equity”?

Based on a simple Capital IQ screen1, there are currently just shy of 1,100 private equity funds in the United States.  While their charge may be similar – deploying capital and managing investments – they are led by individuals with disparate backgrounds, egos and philosophies around how to achieve common goals.  This creates a dissonance in that the proliferation of private equity as an asset class has led many to view capital as an abundant & lifeless commodity, when the reality is that there are human decisionmakers behind that capital that give it personality.  Indeed, I’ve heard several business owners say something to the effect of, “If you’ve met one private equity fund…you’ve met one private equity fund.” Despite the practical reality of this diversity amongst the field of investors, private equity has become a monolithic shorthand for capitalists seeking to generate returns that beat the market.  Thus, I thought it was time to stop and examine the name “private equity”.

First, let’s see how the dictionary2 defines it:

  1. Private Equity (noun, ˈprī-vət \ ˈe-kwə-tē \) – equity in a business that is raised from private sources, as opposed to shares that can be traded publicly

Really?  I don’t know about you, but to me this was somewhat boring given the headlines and histrionics surrounding the industry which, according to the dictionary, is apparently just providing a non-public source of capital.  We’ll call this “Definition 1”.  What was more interesting was when I broke up the term into its component parts, private and equity, to see if that might reveal some less intuitive nuances, and indeed it did. Please examine the following definitions of each taken independently:

  • Private (adjective) – belonging to some particular person
  • Equity (noun) – the quality of being fair or impartial; fairness; impartiality

This made me pause.  Over the course of a 10+ year career in the business, having uttered the term probably tens of thousands of times I only recently realized that I may not have truly understood what it meant (or could mean).  For example, I’ll admit that I had never associated equity with impartiality given my narrow focus on its application within finance. If you take the analysis further and trace the word to its Latin origin, Aequitas, you learn that it stems from the notion of symmetry, or fairness, and in ancient Rome it was held as the concept of fairness between individuals.

I also realized that I had too often been mentally defaulting to what it meant from my perspective.  Using the definitions above and taking both words together, private and equity, you get very different meanings depending on whether you are buyer or seller.  From our side of the table as investors, it’s easy to focus on the returns potential that our capital can generate, but what should a business owner and management team expect in return from their equity provider? According to the definition, the seller should not only receive capital, but fairness during the negotiation and an unbiased partner with whom they can solve future business challenges together. This led me to consider the following alternate definition of private equity that we’ll call “Definition 2”:

  1. Private Equity (noun) – Capital invested by fair and impartial decisionmakers who are ideal partners for a company and its owner’s needs

I would argue that every private equity fund is a “Definition 1” firm insofar as they are all providing equity capital, but its the best ones that embrace “Definition 2”.  In other words, a business owner should focus not on the capital that a fund brings to the table but rather discerning whether an investor can address their unique needs and those of their business while helping to drive optimal outcomes irrespective of personal agenda.  Said another way, what if the expectation of a private equity fund was not in its provision of capital but impartiality supported by relevant industry or situational expertise?  My bet is that it’s the “Definition 2” funds that enjoy the greatest success and longevity in this business.

As a business owner, the hard part is finding your “Definition 2” private equity partner. This is especially true when you are meeting investors for the first time in the context of a transaction with the associated stress that can cloud judgement.  The best way to know that a group is going to live up to your expectations is to develop an early relationship with them.  Only then will be you be able to (hopefully) observe behavioral patterns that embolden your decision to proceed in deal discussions. In that spirit, this is a call to business owners to reach out to us for an introductory conversation to begin the journey in determining whether we can offer what you deserve in a partner.

_______

1Private investment firms based in the U.S. that are currently operating, have completed at least one deal, have raised a fund of at least $50 million and focus on growth capital, buyout and/or recapitalization transactions

2Per Dictionary.com

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects.  Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value.  For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy. 

Reasons an Independent Sponsor Should Partner with a Private Equity Fund

There once was a need for a fund,
to get a good deal or two done,
but the fundless became independent,
and closed deals until they ascended,
respected they are now bar none.

I wanted to present some thoughts on the primary reasons an independent sponsor (“IS”) would want to work with a private equity fund to get a deal closed. This is an important consideration in light of the increasingly established pools of capital available to fund IS deal flow. This relatively efficient array of options now includes family offices, SBIC funds, mezzanine lenders, special purpose funds raised to specifically invest alongside the IS community, and traditional PE firms.

The bottom line is that it comes down to what an independent sponsor is solving for when raising capital. Beyond the ever-critical certainty of close, an IS’s objectives can include things like maximizing economics, offloading the burden and expense of due diligence, and maintaining day-to-day governance control. So, here’s when you should place the call into your short list of trusted funds that you know have closed other IS-sourced deals.

  • You are a new independent sponsor and need to make efficient use of your time. Until you’ve closed a transaction or two and are generating fees to help keep the lights on, your highest and best use is finding the next deal to keep the pipeline full. The classic challenge in the deal business is that as soon as you start grinding through a transaction all new deal sourcing stops. This can leave you starting at square one as soon as your deal closes, or in pretty dire straits if it doesn’t. Best to let a dedicated fund with a fully-staffed diligence team run with the deal to let you get back to finding and structuring the next one.

  • You are looking for more capital than other channels can provide. Family offices and lenders can be a good option for the sub $5mm EBITDA deal, but what if you need more capital than they can provide? The good news is that some funds, like ClearLight, can and have funded both equity and mezzanine debt in their transactions to create a one-stop solution for larger deals. And, we can move faster than you think – from “hello” to “I do”, we’ve closed an IS-sourced transaction is 91 days.

  • You are not comfortable with the risk of dead deal costs. I don’t envy an IS trying to convince a family office or other capital source to absorb dead deal costs if the transaction doesn’t close. Dead deal costs aren’t fun for anyone, but if we commit to working through diligence on your deal, our commitment to you is that we will cover all approved transaction costs from the time of our involvement as well as any reasonable travel and legal expenses (up to a pre-negotiated cap) you’ve incurred alongside us. This is an issue we understand, and you won’t have to waste time getting us comfortable with the concept of dead deal costs.

  • You could benefit from a PE firm’s industry expertise. So, you’ve found your way to a deal that you’re excited about, but you don’t know the space as well as you’d like to. Chances are there’s a fund or two in your network with strong precedent experience that would be a great partner to help you evaluate the key risks and opportunities associated with the target company. If a fund has a current / former portfolio company in a related space, best to at least have a call to determine if there’s an opportunity to collaborate. Our portfolio company logos are up on our website for a reason.

  • You are not hung up on Board or day-to-day control over the investment. If you are trying to build a governance track record, perhaps going to a control-oriented PE fund isn’t the best strategy. You may just have conflicting interests, and that’s ok. However, if you are open to the idea of your capital partner being more involved than less, a fund with a proven track record for creating value through an active governance role might be a good option.

  • You want to partner with investors that are motivated to close. Nothing against the family office community, but they transact when they want to, not because they have to. An unfortunate reality about certain investors is that they are not motivated or compensated to close a transaction in the same way that a fund might be. If you have reservations about a family office’s conviction, you may want to reach out to your friendly neighborhood PE firm to avoid a deal falling apart at the one-yard line.

As you may have gathered, we’ve come to appreciate the independent sponsor community as an important extension of our investing activities and hope this provides some insights into when and why we’d like to hear from you. We’d be happy to discuss our experience and philosophy around working with independent sponsors further. Please call or email any time.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA (or, Operating Profit) and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.  

Private Equity Fund Seeks Talented CEOs for Long-Term Relationship

Perhaps you’ve wondered what a private equity fund looks for in an executive. We’ve done a lot of thinking about the same question with the hope of finding “the one” (or, several “the ones” given that we invest in numerous businesses, but you get the idea). In simple terms, we’re often looking for someone who compliments our own set of experiences and perspectives and can help us get to the right answers through a shared vision. Heading into ClearLight’s 18th year, we can confidently say that, more often than not, Great Industry + Great CEO = Great Investment Results. As a talented executive, you are a critical part of our investing strategy.

Further, in light of elevated competition for good deals, we’ve increasingly realized that knowing the right CEO for an investment opportunity can be the difference between deal, or no deal. This need to know backable executives typically manifests itself when the founder of a target company seeks to retire after a transaction or a private equity firm, like ClearLight, wants to pursue a proactive investment thesis in an industry where having access to a “been-there-done-that” executive is the missing ingredient to kick off a search for a business to buy together. In either scenario, it’s often the CEO candidate that moves the needle in yielding a closed transaction. Thus, having a mechanism to routinely interface with proven executives looking for their next career challenge has become a strategic imperative in the deal business.

Given that our firm’s heritage stems from the successful sale of an operating company, and the leadership our firm is largely comprised of former C-level executives, we place a premium on knowing and working with top tier executive talent. And, regardless of the situation, great leaders are always called upon to (i) define vision & strategy, (ii) identify the gamebreaker positions and (iii) hire right when necessary to construct a team of “A-players”. So, the following are some things we look for in an executive to run one of our companies as key indicators of likely success.

  • Prior GM / CEO-Level Experience. There’s no substitute for experience, and we like to see someone whose been in key leadership positions before with full P&L responsibility. This is not to diminish the potential effectiveness of a first-time manager, we just have a preference to back someone who isn’t stepping into the seat for the first time.
  • Strong Mix of IQ / EQ. Yes, you need both. Einstein said, “…intellect…it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.” Having the skills to not only define and execute strategy but also to lead and motivate your team is an important combination that often produces great outcomes. To be sure, we like working with someone that would score well on an IQ test, but we also like to see someone who can develop and inspire followers committed to a common mission. We can usually tell pretty quickly whether a CEO candidate truly cares about people and has a compelling philosophy around culture development.
  • Track Record of Value Creation. We all know that past performance is not always indicative of future results, but it’s a helpful indicator in determining an executive’s likelihood to execute on strategy and drive growth. We gain confidence if we see a pattern of long-tenured leadership positions culminating in one or more liquidity events.
  • Relevant Industry Expertise. It’s always helpful if we can count on a CEO having muscle memory and a strong network in an industry. Most sectors reveal an array of nuances once you immerse yourself within them, so it’s good to work with executives that have seen the movie before. An established network can also be helpful in surfacing off-market add-on investment opportunities and gaining industry intel that might not be available to a layperson.
  • Passion for a Business or Industry. We’ve found that CEOs with a passion for a given sector tend to be innovators that find ways to stay ahead of the competition, delight customers and are also more effective at attracting top talent to join the cause. Warren Buffet famously said that he tap dances to work – not to worry, we won’t be holding any dance competitions, but it’s nice to see an extra spring in the step.

So, if you possess the attributes described above, please get in touch with us. We look forward to sharing information about the current deals we’re pursuing and learning about any investment ideas you may want to discuss with the goal of finding a way that we might help you achieve your aspirations at this stage of your career.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.  

Capital is a Commodity, but Trust is Not

Peter Drucker famously said, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” That line is as true today as it was when he was first quoted. We have all dealt with people who are deliberately not fully forthcoming, and it can be challenging to assess a person’s trustworthiness if you are doing business with them for the first time. Unfortunately for many business owners, the process of bringing on a partner to invest in your company is rife with first-time introductions to interested parties. As a business owner, how then are you to determine who you can trust to shepherd the growth of your life’s work and most valuable financial asset?

One option is to trust your gut. Sometimes this works, sometimes it fails miserably. The other is to look to simple indicators that a person is going to follow through on what they say they are going to do. Here are a few tactics that might help you know if you’re being courted by someone that you can trust.

  • Ask yes or no questions. This is particularly important for the most critical questions you want answered. There’s immense power in both a succinct yes or no question and a corresponding, full-throated “yes” or “no”. Heavily caveated responses to basic questions signal the need to probe deeper into any areas where topics are not dealt with head on.
  • Be wary of overly rosy track records. Long-tenured investment professionals should be more than willing to humbly share the good, the bad, and the ugly from their careers. In this business, anyone who says that every deal has gone well for them is bending the truth at best and telling an outright lie at worst. Make sure you hear a balanced perspective on where they’ve been successful and what they’ve learned from their mistakes along the way.
  • Request references outside of the list that is provided. Have you ever performed a reference check on someone that didn’t go well when you were provided with a carefully curated list of contacts by the person in question? Do some digging on LinkedIn, and if you identify relevant contacts from a person’s or firm’s history of interest, don’t be shy about asking for introductions to them as well.

These are just some ideas for when you are in the early stages of your discussions with a potential suitor. However, there’s no substitute for developing a long-term relationship with a potential investor well in advance of your need / desire to transact such that you can both demonstrate consistency and integrity in your interactions to build mutual trust.

About ClearLight Partners

ClearLight is a private equity firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in established, profitable middle-market companies in a range of industry sectors. Investment candidates are typically generating between $4-15 million of EBITDA and are operating in industries with strong growth prospects. Since inception, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner. The ClearLight team has extensive operating and financial experience and a history of successfully partnering with owners and management teams to drive growth and create value. For more information, visit www.clearlightpartners.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect any ClearLight opinion, position, or policy.