I only attended a small part of yesterday’s Master Class on PE and VC Fund-Raising in New York, but I was there for a panel of placement agents and, of course, my keynote interview with Barry Gonder of Grove Street Advisors. A few, non-comprehensive takeaways for fund-raisers:
If you’ve got a large firm, don’t bring everyone to the LP meetings. LPs will be overwhelmed. The unofficial limit seems to be five.
That said, make sure that you have at least a couple of presenters, if you have an entire day of meetings. A solo presenter will be punch-drunk by the time 3pm comes around. As an addendum, don’t think that your managing partner must be the lead presenter. If someone else at your firm is a more effective evangelist, use him/her.
There may not be any underserved PE markets, in terms of geography, industry or strategy. I offered up Latin America and the Middle East, but Barry believed the political risks were too great. In other words, a market must deserve investment before we can consider the possibility that it’s underserved. This is why the PE market is not underserving manufacturers of Snorks merchandise. Or pet rock makers. Or companies that make pet rocks painted like Snorks. Or… Well, you get the idea.
Before you present to an LP, find out what they are looking for. This is best accomplished by asking other GPs who have presented to them, but also can be done via direct contact. Certain LPs don’t like Power Points, for example.
The best way to get an LPs attention is to be introduced by a GP that already has made money for that LP. If an LP doesn’t invest but you raise the fund anyway, keep in touch with that LP for the next time around.