Plexus is a private equity firm based in North Carolina with a focus on the lower end of the middle market. As they’ve grown, they’ve stayed true to their core competitive advantage: sourcing, executing and managing transactions with companies under $100 million in sales. To scale the model and keep their investment discipline, they had to transform their platform.
“We had over 30 portfolio companies, multiple transactions in varying stages of due diligence, and a diversified and growing LP base. Our execution and reporting requirements were growing exponentially, yet we knew our core competency was smaller deals—and we wanted to continue growing. We just reached a critical mass where we had to address the consistency of data across all our reporting platforms and bring institutional processes to our deal flow, execution and portfolio oversight.” Says Plexus Partner Michael Painter.
The team at Plexus learned about Altvia from a fellow fund manager and chose to go with AIM, a CRM solution specifically designed for Private Capital Markets, based on conversations with other Altvia clients.
Plexus started with AIM, a system that was designed to track incoming deals and run analytics on deal flow to accommodate the increased number of deals that they were evaluating (800+ per year). The next step was to address the very detailed portfolio company financial and operating metrics that they had been capturing in a massive spreadsheet on a monthly basis. Altvia helped Plexus import this data into AIM, streamlining the upload process and pushing the portfolio company metrics into a shared AIM database that provided everyone on the Plexus team with up-to-date data. Altvia also helped Plexus pull accounting information from QuickBooks into AIM to help track historical portfolio balances by portfolio company.
“Altvia has a lot of experience with what works and what doesn’t work,” says Painter. “They are a good governor for what is realistic versus what is possible and they helped us start small and grow into a system that has allowed us to scale while institutionalizing our processes and staying true to our core competency of investing in the lower middle market.”
Almost immediately, AIM started saving the Plexus team time and making them more efficient. The 20-page Monday morning meeting reports that used to take up to 10 hours could now be compiled in 15 minutes. They are also now able to more efficiently manage their deal flow, due diligence, portfolio and overall fund management processes. Says Painter, “We would have to add two full-time people if we didn’t have AIM – and even then it wouldn’t have been scalable given our strategy.”
Most importantly, the Plexus team now relies on AIM to monitor and report their deal flow. “We are able to report on performance on a real time basis with stats on deal generation, quality of referral sources, and the status of key accounts and more,” says Painter. “Having that information in front of our entire team every Monday has made us better; we are more disciplined, more accountable and we are finding more ways to be smarter about how we generate deal flow.”
Painter says that much of the benefit of using AIM comes from working with the team at Altvia. “They’ve worked with a lot of people in our space and they know what they’re doing,” he says. “And they’re also good guys,” he adds. “Our market is so relationship driven—we really get to know our business partners and understand their needs. With Altvia, it’s clear that they value having a relationship that comes along with the software.”