Source Talks ep. 27

Source Talks is a series where we discuss deal origination with expert PE and M&A pros.

In this interview, David Toll of PrivateEquityCareer.com speaks with Ryan Grand, Principal, Deal Generation at HKW on their high-touch communications strategy and use of technology to stay on top of key deal sourcing KPIs.

Tell me, Ryan, about HKW and the kind investing that you do.

At HKW, we are mostly based out of Indianapolis and we also have a New York team. We have two big sectors we’re focused on – one being health and wellness, which encompasses companies that touch any part of the healthcare ecosystem as well food and beverage, and consumer products that have some kind of healthy lifestyle or “better for you” angle. And then we have a team in New York dedicated to enterprise software and technology, more highly recurring revenue business – think SAAS-type applications across vertical and horizontal sectors.

Tell us about the deal sourcing operation that you have there and how you find transactions.

Our model here is very focused on travel, high touch, lots of in-person interactions. We believe there’s no substitute for going into someone’s hometown and shaking hands or sharing a meal with them. For us, a lot of it is in introductions through our investment banking network. It’s a full communication plan we have in place, so it’s really just a continual building effort to make sure we’re staying on top of the newest intermediaries, as well as staying connected with folks that we know really well.

Tell us about the role that technology plays in your deal sourcing operations there.

Technology is an integral part of what I do every day. When I’m on the road or in the office, constantly on my CRM. We’ve got dashboards that are custom-built to track even minor interactions with intermediaries, with companies that we’re tracking directly. One of the ways we do that through technology is through SPS, which helps us really nail down where we want to go in terms of the industries that we are now focusing on, and help direct us as we are going to different cities of week.

Ryan, tell us how one of these strategies recently led to an actual transaction for you.

A recent transaction was actually with one of our larger friends at one of the bigger investment banks. I think it ended up going our way, partly because we have had such great and consistent contact with them. We did this deal in, uh, April of 21. It fits squarely into our tech-enabled business services themes.

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