PE HUB Wire Highlights, 10.1.19

Apollo keeps $44 bln dry powder on hand for mkt dislocation; Hoffman retires from Probitas; FTV seeks $1 bln for sixth fund

It’s Tuesday. How is everyone?

Last week, Jon Korngold, a Blackstone senior managing director and global head of Blackstone Growth, spoke at PartnerConnect West. We talked about many things, but one interesting tidbit was about blockchain. Korngold, a noted fintech investor, said the industry is still in the “embryonic stages of development.” He said he has yet to see a blockchain company in a position to extract economic value from the disruption they caused. “Very few people have figured out a way to monetize this,” Korngold said. Blockchain is too soon for traditional growth equity, he said, but “not too early for venture capital and you’ve seen lots of activity in the space.”

VC activity in blockchain does facilitate innovation in some ways, Korngold said. But it can also put pressure on companies to “swing for the fences,” he said. This may cause some to “skip the elemental building blocks” in order to get where investors need them to be.

I asked Korngold if blockchain was too soon for Blackstone, given that BXG can provide big checks, of between $400 million to $500 million. It’s not that blockchain is too soon for Blackstone, but that blockchain “is too soon for a $500 million check,” he said.

What really impressed me? Korngold said he has three kids under 12 and he tries to get home every night. He also coaches his kids’ soccer and basketball teams. “To the extent I’m not traveling, I really do make it a point to drop them off at school in the morning and be home for dinner…I don’t want my kids to think their dad wasn’t there until all of a sudden they’re in college and I’m retired. You’ve kind of missed each other. All of a sudden its ‘Cats in the Cradle.’ It haunts me and I’ve never allowed it from day one, even when the kids were young.”

Find out more about Korngold’s talk at PartnerConnect, including more info on Blackstone’s new growth unit, how many people they’ve hired, where everyone is coming from and their plans for San Francisco. Read my story here. 

In a related item, Blackstone closed its buy of Vungle, a performance marketing platform for in-app video advertisements on mobile devices.