Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Private Investment Funds in 2020

Private Investment Funds in 2020: Focus on Optimizing & Streamlining Existing Portfolio Company Investments to Grow amid Volatility

The whirlwind of 2020 has rattled businesses across the country, and it has been no different for the private investment/fund industries. Even prior to this year, trends were moving toward funds (private equity, venture capital, family office, etc.) establishing platforms that focused on a suite of key business functions, such as business development, marketing, finance, PR, etc. to assist their portfolio companies with scaling their operations. Some funds have stood up internally1, while others have engaged external strategic partnerships.

In the first half of the year, a slowdown in new deals was caused partly by valuation discrepancies between buyers and sellers, resulting in a 63% decrease in activity in the Americas region2 after the onset of COVID-19. According to a PitchBook report, U.S. private equity exits dropped by 70% (1st 6 months of 2020 compared to year-ago period) because private equity firms marked down portfolio companies; they chose to hold investments rather than sell them3. Although this may sound alarming, a study by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson showed that despite a drop in exit transactions in the first half of 2020, there is little evidence of forced exits at least3. Furthermore, private equity firms raised $348 billion in the same time frame, which is only 10% shy of what they raised during the first half of 20192.

If funds have the capital raised but are not deploying it because of the risk of an unfavorable valuation or investment, the question must be raised: what have they been doing in the meantime?

In addition to simply boosting investments for current portfolio companies, funds are increasing aid in the strategic side of these businesses as well. “Increasing returns during ongoing fiscal and geopolitical uncertainty pushed top executives from PE firms to maintain focus on value and digitalization, and a commitment to developing the organizational and business models of their portfolio companies.”4 Many Funds have turned to delegating these duties to outside firms.

Outsourcing operations, sales, marketing, and other core functions provides a new perspective for funds. With another set of eyes on current investments, funds can squeeze every penny of revenue out of their portfolio companies to boost chances of success. Outsourcing allows current portfolio companies access to the same professional team as their fund, which consolidates consultants, agencies, people, and expenses for a more efficient operation filtered through a single entity.

Furthermore, with investment funds specializing to extreme degrees these days1, funds can focus on what they have specialized in, while letting the collaborative agency facilitate other aspects of the business. This allows them to keep the main thing the main thing so they can keep investors happy and informed, as well as assist their portfolio companies with more high value activities.

Not only does outsourcing provide more expertise with experienced professionals, but it tends to cost less than hiring someone within the fund or directly at the portfolio companies to manage these responsibilities. VC start-ups are staying private for an average of eight years longer than they would have back in 2000. It only makes sense to provide them with an experienced team for business development, marketing, and more. Without a team, the firm must manage all of this themselves or, for example, hire a business development manager. The average venture capital business development manager salary is nearly $80,000, not to mention additional benefits and expenses. Eight additional years of paying this salary (not including escalators and other contractual advancements) raises that investment to $640,000 allocated towards one person, when a team of experts can be hired to do an even better job.

Over the last decade, the appeal of going public has decreased as companies do not want to deal with inevitable scrutiny after releasing financials and other information. There has actually even been a shift of public companies switching back to private, with 8 out of 10 of the largest buyouts being Public 2 Private (P2P)4. Many companies would rather stay private, or be bought out through M&A, than to receive heat from the public. If a start-up does not go public, having that business development manager can continue as a growing yearly expense (regardless of value), even if the business isn’t in a growth or blitzscaling stage. Similar to the recession from a decade ago, companies are thinning out and hiring more contractors because it is a more manageable and flexible commitment.

Further along this line, “We are starting to see some changes that may signal a strategy shift by private equity to help struggling portfolio companies amid the crisis. Additional stake purchases by private equity investors are up by count and volume compared to same period last year and second- and third-round funding’s are also up from last year. Both are ways to inject cash into companies that need it most now.”5

In volatile times, more of the focus should be on what can be controlled. “Leaders should identify digital innovations such as business intelligence, big data analytics, machine learning, and business processes automation to help companies evolve and gain the skills needed for better performance and outpacing the competitors.”4

While not every business model is 100% perfect, and there are pros and cons to each, there are certainly many advantages both financially and operationally to leveraging a consulting firm to assist funds and their portfolio companies with scaling. Regardless of whether the macro environment is volatile and capital is tougher to come by, or when conditions are great and capital is flowing freely, running a tight ship focused on streamlining, growth, and ROI will always be in style and appreciated.

Written By: Mike Simmons and Evan Shirreffs

References:

1) https://tomtunguz.com/is-venture-capital-worth-the-risk/

2) https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1mqkqqx3g0k5v/Private-Equity-s-Answer-to-a-Frozen-Deal-Market

3) https://www.pionline.com/private-equity/private-equity-deals-tumble-20-2020s-first-half-pitchbook

4) https://bspeclub.com/2020/04/17/private-equity-2020-outlook-the-start-of-a-new-decade/

5) https://news.bloomberglaw.com/bloomberg-law-analysis/analysis-how-is-private-equity-optimizing-the-downturn

The primary mission of WIMS Consulting is to help your fund and its portfolio companies generate a higher ROI not only internally, but on behalf of your investors as well. We can assist with scaling your investments to help increase valuations in advance of additional funding rounds, liquidity events, exits, or IPOs. We can provide a lot of different services, create and implement a robust strategy, and execute each tactic, but everything that we do truly boils down to that one single objective of adding more value to your firm.
WIMS Consulting for Funds and Investors

Introducing WIMS Consulting for Funds & Investors: Private Equity, Family Office, Venture Capital & Their Portfolio Companies

Your Fund and it’s Portfolio Companies’ Future Partner for

Marketing, Sales, Finance, Operations, Investor Relations, Development, & More.

Your Private Equity, Venture Capital, or Family Office fund is undoubtedly already great at its core functions. Between raising funds, selecting the right portfolio companies to deploy capital to, and managing the day to day operations we suspect that you’ve got those things covered, or at least you have a solid handle on them.

Where we come in is supporting your fund and its portfolio companies with everything else.

The primary mission of WIMS Consulting is to help your fund and its portfolio companies generate a higher ROI not only internally, but on behalf of your investors as well. We can assist with scaling your investments to help increase valuations in advance of additional funding rounds, liquidity events, exits, or IPOs. We can provide a lot of different services, create and implement a robust strategy, and execute each tactic, but everything that we do truly boils down to that one single objective of adding more value to your firm.

Our approach and work product is all meant to be measurable, KPI (Key Performance Indicator) focused, metrics-based, results-oriented, and top and bottom line enhancing. We are dedicated to staying ahead of the curve by always learning the latest and most innovative best practices along with the most efficient way to implement them.

The role we can play will vary based on your fund/company’s existing and/or desired structure. WIMS Consulting can function as various fully outsourced departments, or as your external CMO, Head of Sales, CFO, support team, etc. Or we can simply act as a consultant/solutions provider on a specific project.

It is our aim to provide concierge level service and be the “easy button” you press when you just need and want to focus on your core functions yet need to get everything else done too.

 

Our Value Proposition the reason we will make a great partner to your fund and its portfolio companies’:

  • Deploy us to help manage and scale your portfolio companies’ in any of the areas we highlight throughout our practice areas.

  • Consolidate various consultants, departments, service providers, and bring under one firm to help streamline operations, maximize areas of expertise, and achieve economies of scale.

  • We help aggregate data across a variety of sources, filter it, and convert these metrics into a compelling story to ensure your investors, board members, management, and stakeholders remain informed and happy with progress across the entire fund and its portfolio companies.

    • Further, when the desired results aren’t achieved and adjustments do need to be made, we ensure that story is told as well, along with preemptively bringing potential solutions to the table.

  • We are entrepreneurs ourselves, yet also worked in the corporate world too. We’ve operated and grown businesses and we’ve led funding rounds. We’ve worked with and for funds directly too. Our team has acquired quite a bit of experience across a variety of stages in the growth cycle of companies and across many industries as well.

Our Services Include:

  • Marketing Strategy & Implementation

    • Fractional CMO

    • Website Development​

    • Marketing Automation

    • Creative – Content Creation & Distribution

    • Data Analytics

  • Sales – Bus Dev/CRM Strategy & Implementation

    • Salesforce.com, Zoho CRM, HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics, and more.​

    • Lead Generation

    • Sales Strategy and Deployment

  • Finance & Accounting

    • ​Fractional CFO​​

    • Financial Modeling & Forecasting

    • Financial Reporting

    • Accounting & Bookkeeping

  • Operations & Support

    • Investor Relations​

    • Project Management

    • Administrative Support

  • Software & Platform Development

    • Full Stack Software & Platform Development​

    • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Platform & Application Development

    • AI & Machine Learning

Visit our website for more information or to set up a call.

 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.11 Cali Trip and More

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.11 – Cali Trip & More

The WIMS Guide Video Edition is Back! I’m in Cali for the next two weeks. We came out here to close out my wife’s maternity leave with a little business and a little pleasure spending time with family and friends.

Today’s video I mainly focus on where I’m at her in Cali with a call to action for any potential meetups, introductions, connections, etc. I’ll be in Southern California until Sunday, February 23rd so please feel free to reach out!

The other topic is the Charlotte event I’m hosting on Thursday March 12th. I’m putting on an event for Charlotte’s best and brightest while also celebrating 6 years in business for WIMS Consulting. The event is open so please feel free to bring a friend!

After some extended time grinding in Charlotte for about 5 weeks, I head back down to Miami for the eMerge Americas conference. If you do any business in Miami of Latin America you’ve got to make it down here for this. It’s one of my favorites and I make it down every year specifically for it. Some friends and I are also going to plan a mastermind/meet up for those in town, we’ll share the details on that soon.

Also, I’m still putting together the content plan and doing outreach for additional posts and videos, etc. so if you’re interested in spreading the word about a specific business topic, your personal/business brand, etc. let me know!

Lastly, we’re going back to some of the CRM and business development topics we’ve been working through but I’m going to start adding a lot more structure and even a curriculum as well.

Thank you for your time, attention and support as always!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.10 Restarting the Streak

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.10 Restarting the Streak

Whelp I broke the streak! After literally 14 hours straight with a client firm there was a moment when I got back to the apartment around 10pm where I could’ve made the right decision and be Superman…but didn’t. Ugh!

Nothing like that bitter taste of blowing it to motivate you get back on track. Often it can derail someone and they spiral but I’m just going to shrug it off and get back at it. Especially considering that overall, yesterday was overwhelmingly positive and a major win. Spent the day with a law firm client talking business development and marketing strategy, doing some training, looking at the numbers, planning for the year ahead and really drilling down into the specific. Despite the unrelenting grind, the day absolutely flew by.

Now we just have to focus on making sure everyone follows up and is held accountable to the plan. Today, back to hustling in Miami. Carving out some time this am for billable work. Then have several meetings lined up and a networking event this evening as well. Onward!

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 9 Miami Monday

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 9 – Miami Monday

It’s Miami Monday!! Just arrived in the Magic City and I have an action packed week on deck.

Meetings with investors, clients, prospects, referral sources, friends, etc. Planning to hit a few networking events as well with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Miami Finance Forum among others as well. Not too mention have to keep up this routine and the gym streak. It’s going to be absolute chaos in the best way.

Industries I’m working with and targeting: Legal, Commercial Real Estate, Accounting, Finance, Tech, Health Care, and professional services are the primary on this trip.

My company is also launching a major campaign surrounding private equity, venture capital, family office, investment banking, and financial institutions who maintain equity stakes in a variety of portfolio companies. In conjunction with some key partners we’re putting together an awesome value proposition to not only help increase revenue via sales and marketing, but also streamline the accounting and finance functions as well all in a consolidated fashion. Much more to come, but this week really kicks off some of the necessary meetings needed before launch.

If you’re in town and want to try and get together definitely reach out!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 Call to Action Friday

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 – Call to Action Friday

Getting this in a little last minute today but keeping the streak alive nonetheless! Still in the mountains of Banner Elk, NC and wrapping up Day 14 of the fitness streak (only 90 more to go yet to meet my goal).

Again taking a bit of a detour with something that I make more of a thing going forward: Call to Action Friday. Wanted to shout out that I’ll be back down in Miami all next week. The schedule is already packed with client meetings, prospect meetings, networking events, and much more. I’ve said many times I’m ALL IN on growing the business more and more down there and this is another major step in the right direction. I still have some availability left but even if we’re not able to meet in person this trip please reach out and let’s at least set up a call and make a plan for the next time as I’ll certainly be back often!

Also, I’m still continuing to seek more and more content from entrepreneurs and professionals who are looking to create more whether written or video. If that’s a part of your strategy for the year please reach out and we’ll get something going.

Thanks for the attention while I keep getting these reps in and have a great weekend!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 7 CRM

The WIMS Guide Ep. 7 – CRM: Gone Mobile

Today we’ve gone mobile, shooting from the mountains of Banner Elk, NC! It’s appropriate for today’s theme (we’re still drilling deeper into CRMs) about the mobile side of CRM.

Ideally, whatever platform you decide (or chose) will have a great mobile application as well. It can truly make a major difference with not only efficiency, but also with maximizing the program’s value. My go-to’s have great mobile apps of course (Zoho, Salesforce.com, HubSpot) but plenty of others do too.

It helps to be able to add notes/updates immediately after a coffee or lunch meeting, or after discussing an actual deal. I haven’t always been great at it either, but getting all the pertinent and timely data in the system ASAP really helps to ensure you don’t forget any of the crucial, and sometimes subtle details and information gleaned from those meetings. Further, being able to pull out your phone (when appropriate) to recall a key piece of intel can be valuable as well.

Why rely on your memory when you have a supercomputer in your pocket?

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 6 CRM

The WIMS Guide Ep. 6 – CRM: The A-Team

If you’re following along (if not that’s ok too) today we’re talking about what you do as the next step in launching or redeploying your CRM. You’re going to focus solely on the A players for now. The main thing that is going to create momentum and keep you using the system is achieving ROI as quickly as possible. That’s the main benefit you want out of this and thus its the primary goal.

The quickest way to get there is prioritizing the A players first, aka your best clients and prospects. So after you’ve got the data, context, and all the other appropriate information about them in there you’re then going to focus on doing something about it.

You’re going to pick these people and go through them and schedule/pre-plan your out reach and follow up strategy. You’re going to leverage the task list, the calendar, reminders, etc. to layout the timing and content with which you’re going to conduct your outreach. And you’re going to leverage the CRM to systematize/automate it and take out the human element (somewhat, but not entirely).

By now you should have some sort of script that articulates your value proposition well along with a deck or brochure. Pre-schedule your follow up, and do between 3-7 touch points to make sure you see it through. Once you close the deal you can eliminate the subsequent steps as they’re convert. Put the email script in there, add some customized talking points, context, recall a funny joke or something they care about and set the entire campaign up in one shot.

The feeling you’ll get knowing this has been accomplished is going to propel you forward and create an invaluable supplement to your day to day activities. Give it a shot and let me know if you need any assistance.

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 5 CRM

The WIMS Guide Ep. 5 (CRM ABC’s) – For Entrepreneurs and Professionals Focused on the Journey

Wow! You’d be surprised how fast you can get a solid streak going. Seems like just yesterday I started on this (ok so it wasn’t THAT long ago but still) and already we’re on the 5th video. I also completed day 11 of my fitness streak today too. There’s definitely something to be said for just starting where you are, and taking massive action. Before you know it you’ll have some serious momentum to continue building off of.

Today we talk about the CRM ABC’s. This is the next step you want to take whether you’re just starting out or have an existing database. It can be overwhelming trying to clean up a massive database of thousands of contact records. So we’re going to start with your A players. As they say 80% of your business is generated from 20% of your clients (I’m paraphrasing to make a point). Rather than trying to maintain the whole database right off the bat we’re going to focus on your top clients and prospects and making sure that their records are dialed in, up to date, accurate, and that all appropriate context is in the system.

The number of A’s is going to vary based on your situation. It could be 10, 25, 50, 100, etc. It’s mostly arbitrary but you want it to be the people who really matter. Whether they’re existing clients, or companies on your “wish/hit list” that’s up to you to decide.

After you make that decision, get to work making sure the necessary and relevant data is in the system. This will include contact information for the specific people/decision makers you want to track, prior communications (if applicable), potential referral sources or champions who can help, insight into their problems/needs that you can help solve, etc. Anything that might be helpful with continuing to serve them well, or to help you close the deal should be included.

Once you get these done you’ll have some serious momentum to continue charging through the rest. But no matter what, these should always remain your priority.

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 4 CRM

The WIMS Guide Ep. 4 (Intro to CRM) – For Entrepreneurs and Professionals Focused on the Journey

Today we’re going to cover a brief intro to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) for those who don’t know what it is, and for those that do, I just go into some quick initial steps to consider taking if you’ve been apprehensive thus far. I know it can be tedious to set up and maintain but the ROI is incredible if deployed correctly.

It’s really mind blowing to me how much resistance there still is out there. Frankly, it’s like turning down a superpower. If you want a little help or guidance please reach out! Whether you’re starting from scratch, converting an Excel File/Google Sheet, or you’ve been using a CRM for a while but are stuck in a rut, WIMS Consulting can help you take it to the next level.

In summary, my favorite/recommended platforms are:

Track your leads and prospects from website/marketing, intros from referral sources, lead generation, sales cycle, your existing customers and deal flow, etc.

  • Sync email, whether Outlook/Gmail
  • Sync Email Marketing: MailChimp/Constant Contact
  • Sync Social Media Accounts
  • Card Scanner app to streamline uploading business cards and converting them directly into contacts.

I’ll make sure to keep adding more and more value on how to continue leveling up your CRM and sales game throughout the year. Much more to come!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here.