The pandemic era has not been an easy time for any industry, including private equity. In today’s volatile market, funds are facing increased competition while continuing to adapt to the challenges of remote deal-making.
Now imagine being an emerging manager in the lower-to-middle-market investing space — and building your firm in the middle of the pandemic. That’s the situation Suzanne Yoon found herself in, having started Kinzie Capital Partners just three years before the pandemic began.
“It was essentially crisis management, every day, the first three months of COVID,” Suzanne said. “But that is the life of a fund manager [...] You have to be on all the time.”
But crises like COVID-19 also show the importance of having a good team prepared for anything — one that has been established based on your company’s culture and values rather than just on impressive resumes. Knowing this, Suzanne was able to double Kinzie’s team during the pandemic.
In this episode of Fund Flow, Suzanne joins host Jon Finger to share her secrets to success as an emerging manager in the lower-to-middle-market investing environment, from team-building to establishing long-term investor relationships. She also shares a wealth of resources for women interested in a career in private equity investing.
Name: Suzanne Yoon
What she does: Suzanne Yoon is the Founder and Managing Partner of Kinzie Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm investing in middle-market companies in the consumer, manufacturing, and service industries. Suzanne has over 25 years of experience advising and investing in middle-market companies. For the past three years, she has been recognized by Mergers & Acquisitions as one of the most influential women in the mid-market M&A space.
Organization: Kinzie Capital Partners
Top takeaways from this episode
★ Use tech to unlock value. Leveraging technology within your firm can be a challenge for lower- and middle-market firms that don’t have the same level of access to companies like Deloitte or McKinsey. But learning how to implement tech will help you solve problems in the long run.
★ Do your research and think ahead. Two of the biggest challenges that emerging lower- and middle-market managers will face are competition with other firms and skepticism from LPs hesitant to take a risk with your firm. That’s why it’s so important to understand the market and identify key long-term partners who can help you build a reputation.
★ Hire the right team. You’ll thank yourself in the long run by hiring a team diverse in both identity and experience that best reflects your company’s established culture and values, rather than just the candidates that have the most impressive resume.