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Challenges and Opportunities: Covid-19 Effects on Private Equity

Challenges and Opportunities: Covid-19 Effects on Private Equity

An interview with Robert Crapsey, director of Business Development for Trivest Partners

In-person meetings have long been a staple of the private equity business. Deals that start in person are more likely to close successfully. It’s simply about building relationships and letting your clients know you care about them.

But the Covid-19 pandemic turned this reality upside down, forcing private equity firms and many other businesses to find a way forward with remote working. For Trivest Partners, a 40-year-old private equity firm in Miami, Florida, 2020 didn’t turn out as bad as anticipated.

Despite the challenges of working remotely, Trivest Partners managed to close 38 deals during the pandemic lockdown.

“Last year ended up being one of Trivest’s best years ever,” said Robert Crapsey, director of Business Development for Trivest Partners. “We closed 11 new platform transactions and had a couple of really fantastic exits out of the portfolios.”

The situation was doubly challenging for Crapsey because he joined the company in early April 2020, when the pandemic hit, forcing companies such as Trivest Partners to embrace remote work. Before that, he worked as a relationship manager for nearly seven years on Wells Fargo’s middle market banking team. Crapsey holds a master’s degree in finance from Florida State University.

“The big challenge [was that] I just didn’t know anybody on the team,” said Crapsey about joining Trivest Partner during the pandemic.  “It added a level of uncertainty where you didn’t have that face-to-face interpersonal relationship how to interact with somebody or how to get feedback from someone.”

But Covid-19 also presented an opportunity for Crapsey to build a new network, whose role had transformed from dealing directly with companies to “focusing on intermediary relationships and investment banking and brokers.”

Crapsey explained that holding virtual meetings instead of in-person ones allowed him to speak to more people and develop relationships with more intermediaries.

“I think it actually worked out for the better,” said Crapsey, “because I was able to build some strong relationships and get a lot of information or a lot of new contacts that might have taken a little longer if it had been in person.”

Crapsey credited Opus Connect’s virtual events for the network of connections he built in his new job. Opus Connect brings together company executives, investors, and industry experts for webinars on topics related to merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions and private equity deals.

“The events that Opus Connect hosted were definitely a big part of getting that network,” he said.

Despite being successful working remotely, Trivest Partners is not planning to maintain the status quo. The company plans to resume working in the office as Covid lockdown measures are lifted, thanks mainly to a fast rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

“We are starting to get back out into in-person networking events. The desire has been there for us to meet in person for networking events for a while now, but the opportunities have not necessarily been there yet,” he said.

“The plan really is now to pound the pavement and get out there in person and make up for a lot of lost time,” he added.

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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
August 2021

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