Building Cross-Functional Agility for Operational Resilience

Private Equity

Jeff Bartel

Chairman and Managing Director

The array of challenges organizations faced during and after the pandemic made it clear that operational resilience is crucial to business success. For example, studies now show that 60% of companies temporarily shut their doors during the pandemic are permanently closed. The inability of these organizations to adjust to challenges, such as remote work, quarantines, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages, left them unable to recover.

Successful businesses understand that remaining operationally resilient requires building cross-functional agility throughout the organization. This blog closely examines cross-functional agility and how to assemble a team that maintains business resilience.

Building Operational Resilience

Businesses across the globe are looking for new and innovative ways to overcome many new and ongoing challenges, such as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. Organizations must prepare for current and future challenges by building an operational resilience framework. For example:

Optimizing Global Supply Chains and Assets

Overcoming today’s global supply chain disruptions will take more than building new networks. It requires new work models that utilize real-time data insights and automated workflow processes—knowing what and where inventory and supplies are needed allows your organization to put your goods or services into consumers’ hands as quickly as possible.

The supply chain is a complex process that encompasses multiple departments, including sales, warehousing, and transportation. Therefore, to optimize the supply chain process for operational resilience, you need cross-functional cooperation that covers every stage of the process, including:

  • Inbound: Today’s supply chain disruptions often start at the border, with bottlenecks occurring at ports worldwide. Some companies are utilizing regional suppliers to avoid these issues, but for many other organizations, international suppliers are a critical source of raw materials.
  • Middle Mile: Between the labor shortage causing late deliveries and capacity restraints and increased fuel costs driving up delivery fees, moving materials from the supplier to the warehouse or factory has become more costly and cumbersome. Businesses must know what supplies they need and where these supplies go.
  • Warehousing: To deal with supply shortages, some companies increase their storage of goods and raw materials. Since finding available storage space can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly, organizations must know what’s in stock and accurately predict future demand to minimize storage needs with accuracy.
  • Last Mile: Traditionally, the final mile involved transporting finished goods to various retailers. Due to increased e-commerce demand, companies are looking to bypass retailers and deliver directly to consumers. Organizations must be able to manage a complex logistics process to accomplish this.

Digitizing for Operational Resilience

Companies hoping to remain competitive in the years to come must invest in innovative technology and digital tools for operational resilience. Adequate tools allow companies to use real-time data to build, analyze and adjust business processes and improve efficiency. You should take several steps to transform digital operations for operational resilience.

Set goals and objectives: As with all business processes, the first step is to set clear goals and objectives. Determine what real-time data you want to collect, what insights you want to obtain, and what the project’s end goal is.

Determine scope: While you do not need to digitize all company files and documents at once, you need to determine the scope of this transformation. Identify precisely what types of information your company wants to digitize first.

Complete frequent audits: The needs of your company shift from year to year, month to month, and even week to week. Therefore, it is crucial to frequently audit your digital processes to ensure they meet the company’s needs.

File storage: You also need to think about how you want to store files. For instance, do you want everything to be in digital form, or do you want to maintain physical documents as well?

Cloud storage: Cyber resilience is vital in improving cross-collaboration. Consider using cloud storage to maintain your records.

Building Cross-Functional Agility in Operations

Two business advisors building cross-functional processes for operations.

Building cross-functional processes allow for seamless communication and collaboration between departments that help build operational resilience. When these teams are no longer limited to the scope of their respective tasks, that improves agility in operations and the company’s ability to remain resilient despite ongoing challenges. This agility comes from the company’s ability to maintain resilience management and allows the organization to:

  • Anticipate the company’s future needs.
  • Develop business plans to meet both current and future challenges.
  • Quickly respond and communicate with all key players within the company.
  • Adapt to shifts in the markets and workplace.
  • Learn from mistakes made to ensure improved future outcomes.

Cross-Functional, Agile Teams Effectiveness

Even with the effects of COVID-19 starting to subside, businesses are still facing multiple issues, including rising costs, supply chain challenges, shifts in customer expectations, and frequent changes in consumer demands. As a result, every business must work as a team and not as independent departments to overcome current and future challenges.

In many cases, organizational silos, where each department takes care of its tasks, can hinder rather than build resilience. Rather than teams working individually, which can interfere with communication and coordination, organizations need the agility only cross-functional collaboration can provide.

The good news is that cross-functional, agile teams can deliver various benefits, including

  • Enhanced organizational communication.
  • Improved efficiency of business processes and workplace practices.
  • Faster implementation of new technologies, processes, and policies.
  • Ability to scale business production up and down, as necessary.

Strategic Advisors to Build Operational Resilience

Organizations must maintain operational resilience because of today’s fast-paced market, shifting consumer demands, supply chain disruptions, and numerous other challenges. The good news is that developing cross-functional collaboration throughout the workplace can help your company build this resilience and remain competitive for years to come.

Does your organization lack operational resilience? If so, this lack of agility could hinder your ability to stay competitive in the years to come.

To learn more about how to build operational resilience, schedule a time to talk to one of Hamptons Group’s strategic advisors today. 

Private Equity Property Investors and High-Level Strategies

Private Equity

Jeff Bartel

Chairman and Managing Director

Private equity real estate investments allow private property investors to pool resources together to purchase, develop, upgrade, manage and sell properties. Typically, a private equity real estate (PERE) firm manages the property and may also handle negotiations to sell and acquire real estate. These firms allow property investors to add real estate to their investment portfolio without the hassle of managing the property.

This blog explains more about private equity property investing to help you determine the most suitable options for you.

Private Equity Real Estate Investment Strategies

Suppose you are considering investing in private equity real estate development. In that case, exploring your options and developing an investment strategy that aligns with your long-term financial goals is essential. Here is a look at the most common private equity investment strategies.

Real Estate Investments by Sector

Some real estate development investors select properties based on sector. For example, a REPE firm might only invest in office buildings, cell towers, commercial properties, multi-family residential buildings, or hotels. Larger firms may take a broader approach by only focusing on commercial or residential properties.

Real Estate Investments by Strategy

You may also choose to invest in real estate based on investment strategy. For instance, you might take a long-term approach by investing solely in income-producing real estate. On the other hand, you can make short-term investments, such as fix-and-flip investments.

Real Estate Investment by Geography

You can also base your real estate investment strategies on location. For example, you might choose investments in only the Southeast or Midwest regions of the country or only consider international investment options.

Real Estate Investment by Capital Structure

It is important to note that there are fewer regulations associated with REPE investments than RIETs. This factor allows REPE firms to take on numerous types of assets, such as debt. Therefore, be sure you know the firm’s holdings before investing.

Real Estate Investment by Deal Flow

You also want to know what role the REPE firm plays in making real estate investment deals. For example, do they actively make investment decisions or hold a more limited position?

Benefits Gained by Private Equity Property Investors

Business team leaders discuss financial investment portfolio.

Private equity real estate funds are an excellent way for property investors to expand their investment portfolios without the added stress of managing the property. However, this is just one benefit of private equity property development investing. Here is a look at several other benefits of developing private equity strategies.

  • Hedged risk: Private equity investment options provide long-term results that can lead to higher returns. Since these investments can take a decade or more to develop, investment managers can take their time to build a strategy that delivers higher results.
  • Well-structured deals: In most cases, these real estate investments result in well-structured deals. This is because the private equity investment firm also has a vested interest in the success of these deals.
  • Property ownership: Real estate investing is always a popular option for investors. It provides a tangible asset that holds at least a portion of its value, no matter the state of the market.
  • Depreciation write-offs: Fortunately, the IRS allows you to maximize the return on your investment by writing off any depreciation amount for the building and any capital improvements made to the property.
  • Dividends through profit: Depending on the structure of your investment, you may receive dividends on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. These dividends are based on profits made from business operations at the property.
  • Less regulation: As mentioned above, there are fewer regulations regarding REPE investment, which allows these firms to develop more diverse real estate investment portfolios.

Private Equity Commercial Real Estate Strategies

Private equity commercial real estate investments allow property investors to pull their money together to invest in commercial real estate properties. This type of investment can offer excellent returns, but it has risks. Therefore, finding investment opportunities that match your financial goals and risk level is vital.

Here is a look at some of the most common commercial real estate investment options.

Investing in Shopping Centers

Despite shutdowns and supply chain disruptions during the global pandemic, shopping centers, including strip malls and shopping malls, are still performing well in many locations. In fact, investing in shopping centers can provide both capital appreciation and rental income. It is essential to do your research to make sure you select the right investment option. For example, look for commercial properties with solid performance histories located in a high-traffic area.

Investing in Industrial Real Estate

Industrial real estate, such as warehouses, storage facilities, and manufacturing plants, can be an ideal investment opportunity. Industrial properties often serve multiple purposes. First, a large industrial building can serve as a storage facility or manufacturing plant, making renting easier. Secondly, industrial real estate tends to provide higher rental yields, which can transition into higher returns.

Investing in Raw Land

Raw, undeveloped land is another commercial real estate investment option that property investors often overlook. One of the top benefits of investing in raw land is that it can be highly affordable due to a lack of competition. However, purchasing this land is not without risks. For example, you could have trouble finding a suitable buyer if this land cannot be developed. Therefore, it is vital to research the land’s history and location before investing.

Investing in Self-Storage

Self-storage investments have become one of the most popular commercial real estate development investment opportunities due to the industry’s strong performance during and after the pandemic. This type of investment often requires lower upfront investment and offers high returns in rental incomes alone. While this can be a good investment opportunity, it is still essential to do your due diligence and research any property before investing.

The Impact of Social Venture Capital on Society

Risk Management

Jeff Bartel

Chairman and Managing Director

Venture Capital as a Force for Societal Change

While traditional venture capital investment continues to provide investors with opportunities for financial reward, impact investing and social venture capital are beginning to take center stage in the investment arena. Venture capital projects with a potentially positive impact on society provide investors with an opportunity to return profits while supporting the most critical, necessary societal changes. Often supported by both the public and the public sector, there are many advantages to social venture capital. 

Trends in Social Venture Capital in 2022

Venture capital grew throughout 2021 and into 2022 after exiting the disruptions of 2020. It was up $332 billion in the first three quarters of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, and early-stage funding was up by more than 100%. Despite that growth, venture capital did not see the types of growth in ESG considerations that other investment areas did. That creates a significant opportunity for growth in social venture capital in 2022 and beyond.

Over the past year, movement in social venture capital indicates many firms and sectors are poised for that growth. Venture capital collaborations are moving to improve practices across the industry to support diversity and other critical missions, and many firms are hiring directors of sustainability and other professionals meant to steer investments and initiatives in ESG directions.

What Are the Main Advantages of Social Venture Capital?

Social venture capital offers many benefits for firms, businesses, entrepreneurs, and the community or society. Some of the benefits of social impact investing and social ventures include:

  • Better access to funding sources. Governments and other agencies offer incentives for social impact investment, making investors of all types more likely to enter the pool. In addition, channels such as crowdfunding and angel investments are typically easier to access when a mission backs the venture.
  • Increased service to the community. Services developed in social impact finance tend to be more relevant to community needs and more likely to solve known social or environmental problems.
  • Easier buy-in. ESG venture capital firms act on agreed-upon environmental, social, and governance missions. Because of that, it is easier to get buy-in from all stakeholders because the mission is clear, and most people can stand behind it.
  • Greater diversity. Consumers increasingly buy from brands they believe support important missions and social responsibility. Social venture capital tends to lead to increased diversity naturally.

Does Social Venture Capital Have Any Disadvantages?

Social venture capital is not without disadvantages. For example, social entrepreneurs relying on social venture capital may give up control to get funding. In addition, a lack of historical case studies may make it difficult for social entrepreneurs to convince potential investors. This may be challenging until social venture capital becomes a long-term trend.

The Dual Nature of Social Impact Investing

One of the challenges leading to investor hesitance for social impact investing is its dual nature. Investors and venture capitalists historically were concerned with the return on their investments. The bottom line can not be ignored, as investors that pour money into ventures that do not perform go out of business quickly. But social investors are also concerned with how the venture performs with regard to social or environmental factors, including diversity, sustainability, reduced emissions, or policies that provide for the community.

 A business woman investor examines solar panels while holding her notebook with social venture capital impacts listed.

Social Impact Investing To Cool the Planet

One growing area of social impact ventures has to do with the environment. Social entrepreneurs are leveraging innovation, sustainability, and other processes to create products or provide services in a way that safeguards the planet. Climate impact investors are putting money behind those efforts, funding businesses and efforts that keep the planet central to all missions.

Venture Capital to Reduce Poverty

In the same way, for-profit and nonprofit venture capital investors seek to improve the quality of life of people across all borders. For example, many are looking at ways venture capital can reach the poor in developing countries. Funds from private and public sources are being used to educate and train people in these nations to help them develop businesses, local economies, and even entire infrastructures that might lead to longer-term profits or prosperity. Again, the efforts come up against significant challenges, including currency risk, cultural barriers, and long-term poverty that can be difficult to change.

Removing Barriers for Minority Entrepreneurs

Women, Black, LGBTQ, and other minority entrepreneurs have historically found it challenging to get funding for several reasons. First, historically, not many partners in venture capital and investment firms match these demographics. People often invest in ventures that make them feel comfortable, which can mean a trend of investors funding ventures for and about people that look and act as they do.

Cultural and societal barriers, including systemic racism, also play a role in reduced funding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. However, as more investors seek social impact ventures and awareness about diversity needs continues to rise, those trends are changing. As a result, venture funding to minority businesses has been up in recent years, though there is still a lot of ground to cover, as it remains small compared to the entire funding pie.

How Do You Measure the Impact of Social Venture Capital?

The first step in measuring the impact of social venture capital is to define why it matters and what success looks like for all involved. The second step is finding a numeric measurement that can help indicate performance.

If someone is trying to create more diversity, a good metric of success might be how many of their venture investments are run by or related to minorities. Investors interested in climate impact investing might want to measure the emissions associated with their portfolios.

Going beyond measurement, social venture capitalists might rely on case studies to demonstrate success in a more narrative format. Case studies can raise additional awareness and funds and illustrate the impact on investors and other stakeholders.

Examples of the Effects of Social Virtual Capital on Society

Social virtual capital has plenty of positive effects on society. For example, a venture capital fund that seeds startups helps businesses get off the ground. But a social venture capital fund that specifically seeds startups with a community mission does more than that: It helps a business help others. Likewise, a social impact investor that puts money behind ideas that introduce sustainability into sectors that do not tend toward eco-friendly processes helps those businesses grow and protect the environment.

Ultimately, social venture capital can change the world. Investors must do so, however, with one eye focused on change while the other eye remains trained on the bottom line. It can be a problematic duality to walk, but it is critical to the future success of communities, nations, and even the planet.

Private Equity Trends: What to Expect for 2022

Private Equity

Jeff Bartel

Chairman and Managing Director

The Past as Prologue

If you are looking for a word to describe financial states and markets in 2020, a good option might be “disrupted.” In investment arenas where trends are typically developed over years or even decades, the COVID-19 pandemic created chaotic carousels that saw dynamic changes unfolding over mere months or even weeks. But what came out of that environment was not all bad, and private equity trends are something investors can get excited about now and in the near future.

The Current State of Private Equity Trends

In late 2021, private equity trends point to strong markets, belief in recovery, and a robust middle market. The market started to pick up momentum in late 2020 as businesses adapted to new normals, interest rates continued to drop or remain low, and government stimulus money flowed. The momentum carried into 2021 and is expected to bolster private equity through 2022.

PricewaterhouseCoopers reported 2,346 private equity deals between January 2021 and May 2021. Compare that to the number of deals reached during the same period in 2020, and you will note an impressive 21.9% year-over-year increase.

In its 2021 Global Private Markets Review, McKinsey points out that private equity performed well despite the disruptions of the past year, outperforming public market equivalents. Some reasons for this include:

  • A growing risk appetite among private equity investors, who are charging into the disruption to pick up pieces and potential profits
  • A return to fundraising levels that matched pre-pandemic levels by Q4 2020, due in part to low interest rates and lower costs of debt
  • Dry powder reaching historic highs in recent quarters, demonstrating a desire and willingness to buy as soon as the right deal comes along
Invester looking at a chart of private equity trends in 2022 and 2023.

Expectations for Private Equity Trends in 2022

The expectations going into 2022 are for continued growth. Barring yet another unprecedented (and impossible to predict) event, many of the private equity trends from late 2021 should hold into the new year.

The U.S. economy, including job growth and reduced unemployment, has bounced back in ways many did not expect. Pair a fast recovery with the PE trends above, and you have a market poised to boom in all the right ways. This is why some predict a merger and acquisition activity run that will dominate the next few years starting in 2022.

Private equity is expected to play a huge role in that activity. High dry powder levels and a growing desire to acquire will combine with a large supply stream as businesses that sat tight in holding patterns through the pandemic decide to take action. As a result, it is possible that private equity could make up half of all activity in upcoming years.

Emerging Trends to Watch in 2022

Shifting markets, evolving consumer priorities, and changes that come from unprecedented times continue to create force on the market, leading to emerging trends. Likewise, private equity firms and investors are also evolving, taking on new visions and acting in the markets in ways that were not previously seen. Here are four emerging trends to watch for in 2022.

Private Equity Firms Working as Change Agents

Private equity investors are increasingly taking a long-haul approach to profits. Private equity firms are altering the landscape of acquisitions by investing in their own abilities to implement strategic visions and be active agents of change.

In 2022 and beyond, expect to see PE resources engaged in considering enterprises’ long-term or potential value if specific changes are made. Then, expect to see the buyer pour resources into the asset to make those changes happen. The takeaway for PE investors is that value may be in the eye of the beholder, and those with strategic mindsets and skills may be able to score big profits by polishing seemingly rough diamonds.

Brand Mission/Vision a Factor in Valuation Considerations

According to PwC, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are increasingly important to private equity investors. In fact, according to PwC’s Global Private Equity Responsible Investment Survey 2021, more than 70% of PE investors screen opportunities for ESG issues before making an offer, and more than half have turned down partnership or investment opportunities because of ESG issues.

The takeaway here is that brand reputation matters, and how a business cares for its employees, manages its environmental footprint, and attends to social matters does not just make or break current success. Instead, it is a flag that continues to fly over the asset — for better or worse — even as ownership changes hands.

Longer Holding Periods

Private equity has always been characterized by relatively long holding periods when compared to similar types of investments. But going into 2022, expect to see that disparity increase. This is due in part to PE actors working as change agents; it takes time to work through strategic initiatives that grow value to support future profits.

Another reason for potentially longer holding periods is the increasing regulatory burden on special purpose acquisition companies. This may reduce the opportunities for PE firms to divest investments to SPACs quickly.

Continued Growth of the Middle Market

Private equity news is alight with middle market deals, and you can expect that to continue into 2022 and beyond.

According to PitchBook, investors in the U.S. middle market completed more than 1,700 deals valued at a total of around $265 billion between January 2021 and June 2021. The middle market deal numbers for Q1 and Q2 in 2021 outpaced figures for the same periods in 2019 and 2020, which is not surprising. Those strong quarters followed on the tail of extremely robust middle market deal activity in Q4 2020. No one expects those trends to change soon.

The Bottom Line

Private equity held relatively strong through the chaos of COVID, and it is staging a serious climb now and in the near future. As a result, PE firms and investors can look forward to many opportunities in 2022.