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Private Equity BD Professionals to Watch

Curated by Middle Market DealMaker editors based on more than 270 nominations

Private Equity BD Professionals to Watch

This year’s Private Equity Business Development Professionals to Watch list was curated by Middle Market DealMaker editors based on more than 270 nominations from the ACG dealmaking community.

We selected 10 private equity honorees who represent the diversity of the profession. In compiling the list, we considered the number of nominations each individual received and their professional achievements in 2022.

Those achievements ranged from sourcing notable deals for their firm; launching new business development strategies or other initiatives; expanding their teams; fostering collaboration within the PE business development community; and in some cases, all of the above.

This section of the report originally appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Middle Market DealMaker. Read the full story in the archive.

We asked each of our honorees to share their proudest professional accomplishment from 2022 and a goal for the coming year.

Holland Reynolds

Senior Associate, HGGC | Palo Alto, CA

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: HGGC’s sourcing strategy was flipped on its head in 2022. After 15 years of sourcing predominantly from intermediaries, we embarked on a huge strategy shift in 2022: thematic-driven investing. Traditionally, our funnel was fed by CIMs (confidential information memoranda) from investment banks. Implementing the strategy shift required a complete overhaul of our sourcing funnel.

The biggest hurdle to executing a new sourcing strategy is introducing and managing new inputs to the top of the funnel. The new strategy resulted in new team members, new information systems and new priorities. We doubled the size of our business development team by creating a new analyst program dedicated to cold email campaigns and other direct efforts. We built out internal infrastructure to track relationships from early days, emphasizing metric-driven results. Lastly, we prioritized thematically driven conference attendance and sponsor relationships. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve put in to revamp our team and look forward to furthering our thematic strategy.

Professional Goal for 2023: In 2023, I hope to refine my mentor skills within HGGC and externally. Mentorship has always been a priority for me, regardless of whether I’m on the giving or receiving end. Building strong mentor relationships also reminds me of why I love my job. The beauty of the business development role lies in building gratifying relationships—a stark contrast to the transactional private equity world.

Rich Grajewski

Vice President, Business Development, Huron Capital | Detroit, MI

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: I’m most proud of how my direct efforts originated actionable opportunities for our industrial automation investment thesis. My colleagues Mike Zukas and Leah Ierardi, who lead our thesis-based investment strategy called ExecFactor, and I identified key aspects of a long-term sustainable business and what drives value in this space. This research provided the framework to map the market and articulate our thesis with relevant intermediaries and executives, with the goal of expressing our interest and knowledge and garnering their insights and feedback. Through my relationships, we received proprietary introductions to several relevant companies where we have since built strong rapport with the owners. Today, we are in active dialogue and, if successful, they would form the foundation of a platform with meaningful size and scale.

Professional Goal for 2023: In 2023, I hope to be considered a thought leader for private equity business development. While the role is relationship-driven, building meaningful rapport with the vast number of intermediaries, executives, companies and other professionals in the lower middle market is challenging. Innovation must be at the forefront for every BD professional, so sharing even the simplest techniques can make a huge difference. I regularly exchange best practices with a small cohort of peers. Having this network of BD contemporaries provides opportunities to elevate both individual performance and the overall role of BD in private equity.

Brent White

Vice President, Gauge Capital | Dallas, TX

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: Gauge Capital’s business development team continues to grow, tripling to six professionals, including two analysts and four senior-level business development professionals. In addition, our food and consumer vertical had a breakout year closing two platforms and one add-on investment.

I’ve since worked to spearhead our food and consumer endeavors, which includes planning vertically focused off-sites, segmenting the food and consumer vertical by sub-themes to become more thematically focused, constructing a valuation database to capture relevant transaction multiples, and organizing a schedule for critical consumer conferences. I’m also proud of Gauge’s overall performance. Our firm has been recognized as one of the top five best-performing private equity firms in the HEC-Paris-Dow Jones Small-Cap Buyout Performance Ranking.

Professional Goal for 2023: I aim to develop a more systematic and consistent approach to tracking and nurturing our core relationship with intermediaries, while expanding our footprint across the food and consumer ecosystem.

Stephanie Mooney

Director of Business Development, Trivest Partners | Toronto, Ontario

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: I’m most proud of the increased awareness of the Trivest brand in the Canadian market. Individuals and firms in the M&A community know the Trivest name and how we uniquely partner with family, founder-owned businesses. I like to think we immediately come to mind when an entrepreneur or multigenerational business is looking for an equity partner.

My involvement in the community is also something I’m proud of—this ranges from being part of the CVCA Young Professionals Committee, to co-chairing the ACG Toronto Deal Source North Committee to being an active board member for a charity called Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto.

Professional Goal for 2023: My professional goals for 2023 center around Trivest’s newest fund strategy, the Trivest Recognition Fund. We are expanding our investment criteria to be able to work with larger family, founder-owned businesses. I’m excited to share that I will be transitioning roles to focus on Trivest’s relationships with our investment banking partners in Canada and the U.S., with the purpose of generating opportunities for the Recognition Fund. My goal is to ensure this fund is successful by building relationships and originating opportunities.

All that said, I wouldn’t be a true business development professional if I didn’t specifically mention closing deals—as always, that’s the goal!

Emily Osman Lawrie

Vice President, Business Development and Capital Markets, BayPine | New York, NY

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: Since launching the effort in late 2021, I have worked directly with the founding partners to implement a robust business development function, which included leading senior-level dialogue with key banking, lending, executive and sponsor relationships to articulate the firm’s differentiated strategy and elevate our brand. I was directly responsible for leading efforts related to the creation of a proprietary investment scorecard, a thematic sector and asset identification process, and a founder-owned identification process, with these latter two processes resulting in the identification of high-priority investment opportunities outside of formal sale processes.

Professional Goal for 2023: I hope to continue to execute on our mission to be the partner of choice for high-quality businesses seeking to effect a comprehensive digital transformation, driving toward my long-term goal of building a first-call business development function.

Jason Burmer

Vice President, Edgewater Capital Partners | Cleveland, OH

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: I am most proud of the intentional and systematic growth, effort and dedication of the business development team, and the results our program has produced. Overall, our organization has demonstrated commitment and passion for business development as the lifeblood of our business. (While four of us have business development in our titles, everyone at the firm makes a considerable contribution.) We added two members to the business development team in 2022, which has further enabled us to scale our relationships with business owners (two closed transactions in 2022 from owner-operator relationships); implement a best-in-class CRM and data reporting; increase funnel metric conversion (including NDA to IOI, and IOI to LOI); scale our marketing efforts (including a more than 30% increase in social media followers, and a doubling of social media impressions); and increase our fund deployment rate.

Professional Goal for 2023: Fund deployment is our business development team’s compass each year. It drives all action and objectives throughout the year. We have increased and exceeded our internal fund deployment goal in each of the past two years. In 2023, we will continue to scale our team and systems, and build and strengthen our relationships with business owners, intermediaries and large corporations in key thesis areas that we find compelling, in order to exceed our deployment target.

Abe Borden

Director, Diversis | Los Angeles, CA

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: In 2022, we leveled up in a few ways. The most impactful has been the addition of new team members to our veteran business development organization. Having more people provided us with the bandwidth to narrow our individual scopes of coverage, dive deeper into pockets of opportunity and execute on our five key strategies with a higher level of proficiency. This new flexibility, paired with an upgraded system for managing deal qualification, resulted in an approximately 5% deal funnel efficiency increase from NDA to a term sheet, compared with our 2021 performance. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but applied to hundreds of opportunities and a record year of M&A for our firm in 2021, that’s a meaningful amount of potential equity deployed and a lot less time wasted on lower quality opportunities.

Professional Goal for 2023: It’s an extension of our goals in 2022, where we hope to achieve higher quality pipelines by becoming more efficient. One example is improving our tactical process or day-to-day workflow so we can enable our team to become more effective engaging with our network. (For example, improving the frequency and quality of our interactions with key individuals in software and recording those for measurement in our CRM.) We should be able to set new records in overall opportunity volume, annual equity deployed and fees generated to our friends in the investment banking community.

Renn Iaboni

Director, Monomoy Capital Partners | New York, NY

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: Having worked on over $30 billion in transactions in my career, I have a unique eye for a deal. Following market intelligence from a colleague, last year I traveled to the Midwest on a whim to have dinner with an executive, which ultimately positioned us to evaluate a sizable carve-out opportunity.

Professional Goal for 2023: I will continue to focus on telling the Monomoy story and deepening relationships with industrial and consumer sector participants. (I’d also Iike to shave a few strokes off my golf game.)

Christopher Schatzman

Principal, Business Development, Arcline Investment Management | New York, NY

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: I am most proud of Arcline’s capital deployment and closed deals in 2022. Early in the year, we celebrated our 100th transaction since closing our first fund in 2019, and we quickly surpassed that number. Toward the end of 2022, our business development team had originated nearly 1,000 new opportunities, and the firm had closed roughly 25 transactions, including four new platform investments.

I am extremely impressed by our firm’s “wolf pack” approach to each deal. We employ resources across several vertical functions internally to get transactions across the finish line. It makes me very proud to be part of such an engaging and collaborative team, and it has been exciting to observe that team expand.

Professional Goal for 2023: Arcline has grown from 15 professionals when I joined the firm in May of 2019 to about 50 today. Each team, including business development, has onboarded additional resources. I hope to serve as an effective and meaningful coach and mentor to all the firm’s junior resources. Business development, in particular, is a fluid role without an off-the-shelf playbook, so mentorship is one of the most effective tools for success. As all my colleagues continue to positively impact me on a daily basis, I too hope to be a catalyst for team members’ success at the firm.

Shane McAdam

Vice President, Business Development, Kilmer Group | Toronto, Ontario

Proudest 2022 Professional Accomplishment: Not long after I joined Kilmer Group in mid-2021, I recognized that the market could use a refresher in terms of our team’s appetite for deals and key investment criteria. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak at the inaugural ACG Atlantic event held in Halifax this past September. As part of the panel discussion, I described Kilmer Group’s long-term investment horizon, flexible approach, and how our family-office model is different relative to traditional private equity. On the heels of the ACG Atlantic event, a number of new deal opportunities materialized, and it became clear that the market increasingly was responding to Kilmer’s renewed investment mandate and priorities; the message was out there. That was a proud moment.

Professional Goal for 2023: Working in business development in a deal-focused industry, the conventional goal is to source and close as many transactions as possible. But that’s not what we’re aiming for at Kilmer. We’re looking to make prudent investments in suitable, fundamentally sound businesses with positive long-term growth prospects. In 2023, I expect to build upon the strong momentum the Kilmer Group team has created over the past year and get the right deal(s) across the finish line.