KKR’s Jake Heller talks lessons from the navy; Hg, GA see big opportunity in software for PE

Some of the early lessons that Heller learned from his time in service now help him manage a team of investment professionals at KKR's NGT team globally as well as build meaningful relationships with founders and CEOs.

Morning, and Happy Veterans Day! 

In honor of all the veterans in the PE community, I want to share a few fragments of my recent conversation with Jake Heller, co-head of KKR’s Next Generation Technology team in the Americas.  

Some of the early lessons that Heller learned from his time in service now help him manage a team of investment professionals at KKR’s NGT team globally as well as build meaningful relationships with founders and CEOs, he told me.  

Heller, before pursuing a career in investing, served four years as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and finished his military career in Naval Special Warfare as the Commander of a high-speed assault boat team. He is a decorated veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom including the Bronze Star with distinction for Valor in Combat. 

“Special warfare gave me the opportunity to work with extraordinary teams of operators who were incredibly skilled at what they did and incredibly committed to the job they were doing,” Heller said. 

“There was not only a sense of teamwork, but there was an exhilaration of working with people like that and winning together. As I came out of the military, I’ve always looked for the opportunity to do that again: work with extraordinary teams of incredible operators who are committed to what they do. And that’s really what I’ve found in private equity and, most importantly, at KKR’s Next Generation Technology team.” 

During covid-19, another lesson learned was particularly useful for Heller. That was an ability to deal with a high level of uncertainty when the world as you know it is changing constantly.

“That truly is a big part of what you have to live with when you’re in the military, particularly when you’re in periods of war or in areas of conflict or combat,” Heller said. 

“The ability to understand that uncertainty is the path ahead – to have patience and recognize that this uncertainty is probably going to be longer than you expect, it may be more difficult than you expect, but you’ve done the things you needed to do to get through it, and hopefully win as a team on the other end,” he said.  

“That’s the perspective I’ve tried to bring to our team internally, especially to our youngest team members, and that’s the perspective I’ve hopefully had and brought to our portfolio companies that we’ve committed to at KKR,” Heller added. 

Software for PE

Amid their recent investment in Gen II Fund, General Atlantic, Hg and IHS Markit see a strong growth trajectory in back-end technology for alternative asset managers, General Atlantic’s Aaron Goldman and Hg’s Thorsten Toepfer told PE Hub.

“It is a service that is very important for private equity funds solving the problems where you definitely don’t want to get things wrong,” Toepfer said. Read more.

That’s it for today. With any tips, comments, suggestions, or just to say hello, write me at mvinn@buyoutsinsider.com.  

Milana

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