Tag Archives | CRM for Private Equity

Alternative Asset Managers Heads Up! An ESG Wave is Headed to Your Mid-Market

Navatar Helps Meet Investors' ESG Wants Despite Donald Trump’s climate change skepticism and deregulation promises, one of our major predictions for 2017 is that mid-market private fund managers are going to have to pay much more attention to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues.

Let me explain why. For one, ESG is a trend with a ton of inertia behind it. These types of things tend to start at the top of the market, where resources and specialists are in plentiful supply, and work their way down. KKR for instance publishes a detailed ESG report annually, and has a section on its website dedicated to responsible investment. You would be hard pressed to find anything similar at a firm managing south of $1 billion, but it’s becoming a point of conversation in mid-market circles. In fact, a new PwC study found that more than two-thirds (70 percent) of managers have now made a public commitment to investing responsibly. In 2013, the comparative figure was 57 percent. But elevating responsible investment from a do-good side show into a core element of your firm culture means putting action behind those words.

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Three (Very Basic) Things Private Equity Firms Should Do More to Win Deals in 2017

Financial Services Cloud Helps Win DealsA new Deloitte survey found that three out of four M&A professionals expect deal activity to continue rebounding into 2017. But this optimism comes with a caveat for private equity firms: the pressure is on to strike good deals. 

That’s partly because corporate strategics have the benefit of sitting on the sidelines without having to answer to impatient stakeholders, partly because money continues flowing into the sector at such a rate that we’re calling it private equity’s greatest test yet to come, and partly because investors still expect private equity shops to deliver outsized returns.

In fact, a Coller Capital LP survey found that 77 percent of investors plan to make US mid-market funds their main focus in 2017; and about the same expect private equity bets to deliver 11 percent annual returns in the medium-term. Yet that same survey found 64 percent of investors fear “too much money [is] pursuing too few attractive opportunities”. So investors seem to be aware of their own herd mentality, but trust the private equity sector enough to continue delivering satisfying returns during this anticipated M&A uptick.

Can private equity deliver? That depends on a number of factors, but private equity firms must fully leverage their core strengths of relationship building and due diligence if they want to win the best deals. Not every firm accomplishes this. Or at least isn’t accomplishing this to a sufficient enough degree. Below, we list three of those under-leveraged deal strategies.

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In 2017, Private Equity Faces its Greatest Test Yet

Navatar Helps Private Equity Professionals Win DelasIf you factor in co-investments, separate accounts and direct investments – three channels investors are increasingly using to pump money into the private equity sector – 2017 is shaping up to be a record year for the asset class. The industry is on pace to raise a wallet-busting $691 billion in commitments this year, about 10 percent more than the previous high mark. That’s on top of an estimated $1 trillion in dry powder already waiting to be deployed.

All this capital raising is good news, right? Maybe, because at the same time that cash is flooding into the sector private equity deals are getting smaller. Deals under the $25 million mark accounted for nearly half of activity thus far in 2016, representing the highest proportion since 2009. Observers chalk this up to a number of reasons, including rich stock prices and increased regulatory scrutiny, but our guess is that private equity firms are seeing better opportunity for returns at the smaller end of the market, where greater growth and operational wins are to be had.

Which takes us to a bigger point: it’s getting tougher these days for private equity firms to source the types of deals they want. The problem is that flood of capital chasing smaller deals combined with more competition. During the 15-year period from 2000 to 2014, the number of active private equity firms globally exploded 143 percent to 3,530. Intensifying competition further is a migration of large buyout shops moving down market in search of yield amid today’s low interest rate environment, and other kinds of entities with access to cheap debt, including sovereign wealth funds and pension funds with direct investment capabilities, entering the field.

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For Private Equity Funds, Perfect CRM May Be The Enemy of Good CRM

Salesforce for Private Equity

“The best customer relationship management software for private equity firms is one that works for everyone – from the investor relations team, to the information technology department, to the deal origination group. It has to work across all of a firm’s offices, from the US to Europe to Asia,” says Chelsea Stevenson, in her article “Need for CRM Speed” within PEI’s Fund Administration and Technology Special Supplement 2014.

We agree. The ideal scenario for CRM is when everyone in the firm uses it.

However, the ideal scenario isn’t always achievable.  Private equity folks are often too busy to worry about getting trained on a CRM system.  Larger firms have teams across continents, making it challenging to get everyone to be enthusiastic about a certain technology.  In situations like these, the CRM decision inevitably gets postponed.

It shouldn’t be an all or nothing approach.  Firms are competing for investors or for investments, and the cost of a single lost opportunity, due to inefficient processes, can be high.  There should be more than one way to skin the cat, if everyone in the firm isn’t enthusiastic about a CRM.

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How Salesforce CRM Helps Private Equity Funds Improve Deal Sourcing & Portfolio Performance

The private equity business requires a lot of focus – focus on fundraising, on finding the right deals, on company performance – before it can deliver successful returns for its limited partners.

Distractions can be plenty.  Martin Stein, Managing Director of Blackford Capital, who is one of the most tech-savvy private equity professionals, discusses some of these issues in a new video. He outlines why focus is so critical in the private equity world.

Martin has been one of the early adopters of cloud technologies and social media, deploying Navatar Private Equity CRM, which is built on the Salesforce platform, at Blackford Capital 3-4 years ago. Blackford Capital is a private investment firm that acquires, manages, and grows middle-market manufacturing, distribution, and service companies. Blackford also uses Navatar Deal Connect for deal sourcing and building intermediary relationships.

According to Martin, the cloud has helped Blackford Capital focus their time and efforts a lot less on deal sourcing, so they can allocate more time towards their portfolio companies. He adds:

In the end, it is finding a good deal and managing that deal effectively that allows us to drive higher returns for our LPs.” 

In addition to the video, do not miss the recorded webinar, The New Rules of Private Equity, with Martin Stein, to learn about the detailed metrics that Blackford uses to improve operating performance. When it comes to focus, Martin is one of the pros in the business.

Alok Misra

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Navatar Bringing Cloud Computing for Investment Banking & Asset Management to Latin America

Alternative Latin Investor highlights Navatar’s role in bringing the cloud to the capital markets and investment banking world in Latin America, in a recent article.

“Foreign market leaders such as Fidessa, Direct Edge and Navatar are challenging local providers in the race to meet the booming region’s needs,” says the article.

Read the full article here. It goes on to say:

One subsector of the industry in particular is pioneering a new paradigm of easy distribution: cloud computing. One of the leaders in cloud computing for global investment is Navatar, a New York based firm. Their first product line came out 3 years ago, and in the last year sales have more than doubled, giving the company a name recognition that has attracted major international financial firms. The hardware and software with which they serve their clients is hosted by the cloud computing host Salesforce.com.

The major financial firms they are referring to, are names such as PNC and Jefferies. In Latin America, we have customers such as Banco Lafise, a prominent bank. One big reason they like our products is that they never have to go to their IT departments or hire consultants. As the article quotes me:

“Our products are very tailored to the type of asset class,” Alok Misra explains, “But they are also out-of-the-box, so companies don’t have to spend so much on IT and maintenance – it’s all included at no additional cost.”

Another key reason for our success globally is Navatar Deal Connect, the free marketplace for middle market deals – if you’re a dealmaker in Latin America, there is no better way to build relationships in America and Europe – without spending a penny.

Stay tuned for more developments in this exciting region.

Alok Misra.

 

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Navatar Private Equity CRM and Hedge Fund CRM for Salesforce Cloud Featured in Hedgeweek

Hedgeweek and Private Equity Wire mention the work Navatar is doing in bringing cloud computing to the alternative asset world, in their latest article that they interviewed me for.

“US-based Navatar Group is a leading provider of cloud computing for Wall Street firms, but increasingly that client base is widening out to alternative investment managers as they start to fully appreciate the benefits of cloud systems and how they can streamline their operations.”

We see this as a sector that will be gaining a lot of prominence in the US, given the regulatory changes that are anticipated. However, we have also received significant attention from European firms recently and our customer base across the pond has been growing rapidly. We are working on recruiting resellers in each country so we can provide local support. More on that soon …

But I’m truly happy that only 1 out of 50 prospects now mention data security as a concern (our partner salesforce.com has done an excellent job of alleviating those concerns). I’m excited because it takes us to the next step – opening the door for some game changing innovation, as Greg Johnsen points out in his Wired magazine article, The future belongs to cloud-networked companies.

“We’re only in the second inning of cloud computing. Its most profound impact will not be on reducing total cost of ownership, but rather for enabling powerful, game-changing systems — that were not possible before.

Today’s systems were designed for a world without an internet. They assumed little to no connectivity between or across companies. They were designed for companies, in isolation — not communities or “networks” of companies collaborating together.

To survive, companies must transform themselves from silo-based, inward-facing corporate operators to interconnected, highly agile business network orchestrators. They must leverage newer cloud-based B2B platforms designed specifically for inter-company process orchestration and collaboration on a global scale.

I will be communicating more about the cloud platforms of the future, that we and some of the others have been building (it will take more than just Navatar to bring about this change). So back to Hedgeweek, and as I am quoted in their article:

“As with everything, change only happens when clients realise it’s possible and force the vendors.”

Alok Misra

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Financial Firms, Salesforce.com and Thumb Drives in Iran

The New York Times today talks about America’s cyber attack on Iran and about duping someone into inserting malicious code. A hard trick because the computers running Iranian centrifuges were physically isolated from the Internet.

“It turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn’t think much about the thumb drive in their hand,” said a plan architect.

The term “idiot” is probably unfair. The people working at a nuclear plant probably are smart but thinking about other things than security. That’s why the ruse was so clever. Who hasn’t received a thumb drive as a promotion and stuck it into a computer without thinking.

The people we work with in private equity are all smart with great educations. Regardless, I expect that some are still keeping your strategic buying targets, your notes and investor lists in Excel. Probably still saving your spreadsheets onto virus vulnerable hard drives and backing up and moving data with thumb drives. Right?

Perhaps one of the partners is at this moment using a thumb drive he/she received as a promotional gift.

As head of sales here, it would be irresponsible not to say that you would be safer with Navatar and by having your data stored securely, mirrored and backed up in the salesforce.com Cloud. That way, only you have the logins and the ability to access your data.

So, think twice about that thumb drive. Talk to us about upgrading to Navatar.

Allan Siegert

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Are Free Salesforce Implementations for Real?

Is there such a thing as a free lunch??

After Navatar made the announcement for free services for Salesforce, here are a just a few of several questions I received:

How will you make money?”

Free – Ha Ha...”

Very interesting … still digesting what it means..”

The questions were genuine and?their underlying theme was clear – everyone seemed very?surprised since they didn’t think it was possible to provide any services free of cost. They were trying to figure out what the catch was.

There really is no catch. This is the way it is supposed to be in the cloud computing model. Cloud products are not physically installed for each customer the way on premise products are. True cloud products are multitenant and share databases, infrastructure and labor. Which means that the costs of implementing, maintaining, supporting and innovating can be shared too. That’s why, when you buy a cloud product you are supposed to get most services related to product implementation and support free of cost. It’s as simple as that.

All said and done, this is still a concept that will take some time to stomach – particularly, for folks that are like myself and have spent almost a couple of decades in the technology world, have long made a living implementing and maintaining software and have seen several fads come and go (I too spent years helping Deloitte and PwC make money on systems integration work). So their skepticism is understandable.

But there’s another category of doubters – those that have bought into the idea that implementing Salesforce for your business is simple enough to be accomplished with a few button clicks while playing poker. It’s often hard for them to see the value of what we offer (at least initially) since they are driven by the notion that it’s an easy DIY job. However, they typically realize after 6-12 months that the task of getting Salesforce to support their business, though not as daunting as plugging an oil well leak, can be extremely cumbersome and distracting.

So the answer is: No, we are not offering free lunches. Cost is one of the important advantages that Cloud Computing delivers – services costs are a big part of the TCO of software that the cloud promises to reduce. Real Cloud Product Companies will offer low cost subscriptions to useful, out-of-the-box (or, shall we say, out-of-the-cloud) products without charging customers for services – which is what we at Navatar are doing. The idea is that every Hedge Fund (or every Broker/Dealer or every Mutual Fund) doesn’t have to spend time and money doing the same thing just to implement and support software. Once customers see that value, they will be the real winners.

Alok Misra

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Private Equity CRM Capital Calls Functionality Will Improve Productivity

You asked we delivered. You don’t have to work long hours to manually calculate, create, print and deliver capital call notices any more. Navatar Private Equity now also automates capital call and distribution processes, eliminating all the time consuming manual work on your part.

Your Investor Relations team will not have to spend time preparing spreadsheets and performing complicated calculations. The pre-defined logic in the system computes the capital drawdown/distribution and fee allocations to various limited partners. The system also allows flexibility for exceptions – for example, the allocation for a limited partner can be overridden if their side letter states they don’t invest in certain countries or industries. The system also performs automatic rolls ups for each LP and fund, on various metrics, to help users manage the process efficiently.

The IR team will not have to manually create and mail capital call letters either. The Capital Calls functionality will, in a few easy steps, allow them to:

  • Set up custom capital call/distribution email templates using the fund’s logo and branding
  • Dynamically populate the capital call notice with relevant contacts, limited partner’s commitment and capital call/distribution information
  • Identify the contacts across limited partners to whom the capital call/distribution notices need to be sent based on the limited partner’s preferences
  • With a single click, email notices to all the relevant contacts across limited partners

We will continue to add more functionality to increase the productivity of your investor relations, fundraising and deal flow teams. If you weren’t aware, Navatar Private Equity CRM is built on salesforce.com’s cloud computing platform. Follow the link for a demo:

Demo of Navatar Private Equity

Shweta Kumar

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Private Equity CRM – we hit the ball out of the park!

Sometimes we get criticized in the salesforce.com world about not highlighting all the good things that Navatar does. Yes, we are shy at times. So this time, let us draw your attention to some good things being said about us – a recent one related to one of our most popular products, the Private Equity CRM for salesforce.com, which continues to ride high. It was great to receive a glowing review from Glenn Oken, one of the most seasoned Private Equity pros and Managing Director at Mangrove Equity Partners, LLC, a Tampa-Florida based lower middle market private equity fund. Here is what Glenn had to say:

“Navatar has clearly hit the ball out of the park with their private equity product for salesforce.com. The product’s functionality in support of the various aspects of private equity investing is outstanding. Its ease of customization and remote-use capabilities are far superior to anything we have seen or used.”

Thank you Glenn. It is great to have you as a customer.

Oh yes, and to learn more about Navatar Private Equity for salesforce.com, or to see a demo please visit:

http://navatargroup.com/industry_solutions_private_equity.html

Alok Misra.

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