Blackwood’s client is one of the largest first time European private equity funds. We were asked by the two initial founders to help supplement their team at all levels, including identifying a third founding partner.
It was obviously pivotal that a third founding partner was someone that would work well with a team that already knew each other and that the chemistry and shared investment philosophy would be such that investors would find the appointment additive to the fund raising sell. A key requirement was to identify someone with a proven investment track record across a complimentary deal landscape. Around this first hire, we were also asked to build a team for the mid and junior level. The team was to be in place pre final close of the fund so identifying individuals with the right entrepreneurial spirit and appetite, as well as the technical skills and behavioural characteristics to work in an unhierarchical and start-up environment was paramount.
In terms of the senior role, we mapped the universe of potential candidates, many of whom were known at least by reputation to the client. We agreed the optimum point of approach in each case. The successful candidate was not previously known to the client other than by positive reputation. Building the fit was important throughout the process so we ensured the client had extremely broad references on the candidate. It was also important to do this in the reverse as the candidate was taking a major career step. Repeated meetings and interviews exploring all aspects of each other’s approach, investment and fund raising strategy, philosophy around how to build and lead a team were essential in reaching high conviction that the union would work. Simultaneously, we needed to provide a roster of high quality individuals for the broader team. Alongside this, we provided advice on compensation and team structure in order to help shape the business going forward.
Blackwood appointed a third founding and Managing Partner to the fund and three six additional team members. The founding partner was from a blue chip European large cap fund. Since then we have appointed a further three individuals at Associate through to Partner level.