The Power of 1,000+ Women: Key Takeaways from the Women’s Private Equity Summit

The 2024 Women’s Private Equity Summit convened senior leaders across LPs, GPs, and advisors to the industry to explore the latest trends and strategies shaping the private equity landscape. As we reflect on the illuminating discussions from this year’s conference, distinct themes emerged, each offering valuable insights and guiding principles for navigating the evolving market dynamics. Keep reading to hear about our biggest takeaways. 

1. Prioritize Value Creation Amidst Complexity.
In today’s evolving landscape, marked by challenging macroeconomic factors, the imperative to prioritize value creation has never been more pressing. With higher interest rates amplifying operational challenges, successful investment strategies must transcend reliance on valuation multiples. Instead, a comprehensive approach, integrating capital solutions with operational excellence is essential. Focusing on fundamental practices such as team prioritization, working capital optimization, and strategic M&A discipline were discussed as key levers to drive enduring value.

2. Think Outside The Box to Deliver Tailored Strategies.
In an era defined by fluctuating valuation uncertainties, creativity has emerged as a cornerstone of successful portfolio company management. Off-the-shelf solutions are no longer sufficient; instead, the ability to craft bespoke strategies tailored to specific challenges is paramount. Leveraging innovative instruments and structured solutions empowers investors to optimize capital structures and operational hurdles, fostering resilience and sustainable growth in portfolio companies.

3. Embracing NAV Loans as a Form of Liquidity.
A notable trend underscored at the Summit was the increasing prevalence of GPs leveraging NAV loans as a creative solution to provide their LPs with cash. With the challenging fundraising market and re-up rates at risk, GPs are looking at NAV loans to inject liquidity into their portfolio companies and to fill fundraising gaps. While some LPs may see this strategy as problematic, the general theme at the Summit was that GPs should be transparent with their LPs, as it shows creativity during a challenging market. 

4. Follow Through On Your Execution Plan.
While formulating a robust investment strategy is crucial, achievement ultimately hinges on disciplined execution. Rigorous follow-through and early relationships ensures alignment with objectives and maximizes the potential for value realization and the right exit for companies. And given the intricate nature and multitude of variables involved, leveraging technology and AI tools facilitates monitoring performance and execution.

5. Harness AI as an Accelerator for Efficiency.
Unlocking the potential of generative AI presents unparalleled opportunities to enhance operational efficiency and drive strategic insights, for not only your firm, but also for portfolio company operations. By understanding the landscape of AI-driven tools, firms can help portfolio companies streamline processes, mitigate risks, and uncover latent value, enabling them to achieve more with limited resources.

6. LPs Have More Choice.
2023 saw limited distributions, and with many LPs relying on distributions to re-up with existing GPs or allocate to new managers, this led to a difficult fundraising environment. This has unsurprisingly shifted the power to LPs who can now wait to see how portfolios shape up or how the managers have fared during a difficult year. Summit attendee advice to GPs who are fundraising in 2024?

  1. Be realistic about fundraising targets and timelines. GPs who request extensions open themselves up to renegotiations, especially around management fees. 
  2. Identify what differentiates you as a manager and use that to engage LPs; whether it’s sector focus, management team, deals in the pipeline, LPs like to see a clear story. 
  3. First close discounts on management fees have become quite popular. LPs will put in the work to commit to first close for existing managers or those they have strong conviction about.

In summary, the prevailing sentiment at the 2024 Women’s Private Equity Summit was one of optimism. Despite challenges in the fundraising landscape, numerous LPs are embracing opportunistic approaches and seeking out GPs with not only a historical track record of successful returns, but also GPs who are being innovative and showing that they are being resilient through macroeconomic challenges. As you navigate the complexities of today’s market, we hope that these key insights serve as a guide to seize opportunities and navigate uncertainty with confidence and agility.

For more tips to navigate the evolving market dynamics, check out these resources:

The Power of 1,000+ Women: Key Takeaways from the Women’s Private Equity Summit