2020 Rising Stars of Private Equity: Coronavirus, racial inequality demand new standards for excellence
Mergers & Acquisitions is recognizing nine dealmakers as the 2020 Rising Stars of Private Equity:
- David Farsai, Principal, Mainsail Partners, who is the first at the firm to rise from associate to principal
- Andrea McGuirt, Senior Associate, Palladium Equity Partners, who established a strategy for sourcing and executing opportunities in the current deal environment
- Molly Fitzpatrick, Vice President, Rallyday Partners, who led three investments and a divestment for the new PE firm
- Jenny Zhang, Vice President, Investments, Grain Management, who helps portfolio companies in the telecom infrastructure sector find organic growth opportunities
- Ross Stern, Principal, Summit Partners, who played a role in nearly $1.3 billion worth of healthcare company investments
- Arjun Mehta, Vice President, Bregal Sagemount, who has made eight platform investments and seven add-on acquisitions
- Miguel Tejeda, Vice President, Motive Partners, who stands out for his investment acumen and ability to distill complicated concepts and processes
- Clara Jackson, Principal, TA Associates, who has become a trusted supporter during the pandemic to help portfolio companies remain sustainable
- KJ McConnell, Principal, GTCR, who played a leading role in about 10 of the group’s last dozen deals
These outstanding up-and-coming investment professionals have been excelling during a period of profound change in the U.S. and in the world. The publication of this list comes at a pivotal moment in time. The country is beginning to open up after three months of quarantine from the coronavirus, while a second wave picks up steam in the Sun Belt from South Carolina to California and including Texas. Dealmaking under quarantine while working from home has proved challenging, to say the least.
Social justice issues have taken on fresh urgency. There is heightened awareness of systemic racial injustice and police brutality against Blacks after the deaths of George Floyd and many others. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled recently that, “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.” On immigration policy, the Court recently put the brakes on dismantling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Meanwhile, the President is asking the Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
In the realm of private equity, all of these issues are relevant, as they affect firms and the companies they invest in. The bar has been raised in multiple arenas in 2020, and new standards for excellence are emerging.
As we look to the Rising Stars for insights about the future of private equity, this year, we asked three questions:
1. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a dealmaker in 2020, and how have you met it?
2. How are you helping your portfolio companies pivot in the face of the pandemic?
3. How are you helping to change the private equity industry when it comes to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism?
Read their answers and our profiles of Rising Stars.
Demitri Diakantonis and Keith Button contributed to this report.