GrowthCap is pleased to announce The Top 25 Private Equity Firms for Growth Companies of 2021. This year’s awardees represent some of the most successful firms of the modern era in building businesses. They were selected based on their consistent ability to employ proprietary resources beyond financial capital to help their portfolio companies scale and create lasting value. Many of the firms listed have been well established and well known for decades while others have proven their merit in more recent years. Over 900 firms were considered at the start of the process.
Nominations were closely evaluated and most consideration was placed on the uniqueness of a firm’s capabilities across market intelligence, strategic analysis, operational improvements, executive networks, mergers and acquisitions, sales organization effectiveness, and other key areas. Portfolio company examples of a firm’s success aiding management teams in implementing business improvements were instrumental to the ranking. We also factored in third-party feedback received directly from CEOs, executives, and other professionals.
Additionally, we examined each firm’s culture, organizational growth over time and its commitment to ESG. Not surprisingly, these three factors were heavily correlated. The best firms had a strong culture which set the foundation for expansive organizational growth in the ensuing years. A thoughtful and integrated ESG approach has helped to ensure more cohesive interrelationships among all key stakeholders including portfolio companies, limited partners and the firm’s own employees, therefore leading to an exceptional culture.
Please join us in recognizing The Top 25 Private Equity Firms for Growth Companies of 2021.
Founded in 1968, TA Associates is one of the leading global growth private equity firms. Over more than 50 years, TA has helped hundreds of profitable, growing companies in five target industries – technology, healthcare, financial services, consumer and business services – reach their full potential. TA’s international team of more than 100 investment professionals seeks to invest in companies with high-quality business models and opportunities for sustainable growth across North America, Europe and Asia. The firm has offices in Boston, Menlo Park, London, Mumbai and Hong Kong.
TA has grown remarkably over the years supported by a meritocratic culture, which helps drive high sustained retention among its investment professionals and many examples of junior professionals rising to the most senior levels. To date, TA has raised $47.5 billion in capital and is committing to new investments at the pace of over $3 billion per year. As an active investor, TA partners with owners and management teams of its portfolio companies, leveraging its experience, broad network of global resources and value-add capabilities to help drive growth and build lasting value. Moreover, it seeks to integrate ESG principles into its activities and has been committed to expanding opportunities in investment banking and private equity for traditionally underrepresented minorities.
Founded in 1984, Summit Partners is a global alternative investment firm that is currently managing more than $28 billion in capital dedicated to growth equity, fixed income and public equity opportunities. Summit has invested in more than 500 companies across growth sectors of the economy, including technology, healthcare, e-commerce, consumer, financial services and other industries. These companies have completed more than 160 public offerings and more than 200 have been acquired through strategic mergers and sales. Summit maintains offices in North America and Europe and invests in companies around the world.
Summit seeks to provide on-demand, growth-oriented support to portfolio companies through dedicated, purpose-built teams: the Peak Performance Group focuses on revenue enhancement, operations optimization and infrastructure scaling; the Capital Markets Team assists in structuring and financing transactions; the Talent and Recruiting Team offers human capital resources to grow and develop teams; and the Technology & Data Science Team provides technical expertise and perspective on product organization design and data science. Summit believes in creating sustainable growth in parallel with meaningful societal impact; it invests responsibly and is committed to creating diverse, equitable and inclusive environments at the firm level and at its portfolio companies.
General Atlantic is a global growth equity firm focused on partnering with companies that are shaped by and driving technological innovation across its five core investing sectors: consumer, financial services, healthcare, life sciences and technology. Throughout its 40+ year history, General Atlantic has completed over 400 growth equity investments and currently has over 145 portfolio companies around the world. The firm currently has over $65 billion in assets under management, with more than 190 investment professionals based in New York, Amsterdam, Beijing, Stamford, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Munich, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore.
General Atlantic was founded in 1980 by Chuck Feeney, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who co-founded Duty Free Shoppers, as a family office to support visionary founders like himself and fund the global charitable pursuits of the Atlantic Philanthropies, to which he has donated virtually all of his wealth over the course of his lifetime, totaling nearly $10 billion. True to the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of its founder, the firm advises business founders and leaders on how to scale their companies with the support of the firm’s patient capital, operational expertise and global network. General Atlantic establishes long-term partnerships with high-quality companies that have proven business models and strong revenue growth.
Thoma Bravo is one of the largest private equity firms in the world, with more than $83 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2021. The firm invests in growth-oriented, innovative companies operating in the software and technology sectors. Leveraging the firm’s deep sector expertise and proven strategic and operational capabilities, Thoma Bravo collaborates with its portfolio companies to implement operating best practices, drive growth initiatives and make accretive acquisitions intended to accelerate revenue and earnings. Over the past 20 years, the firm has acquired more than 325 companies representing over $100 billion in enterprise value.
The firm has shown a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. In recruitment, Thoma Bravo is taking active steps to attract and hire candidates from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. They embrace individual differences and strive to foster a culture of inclusion that allows all employees to reach for their highest potential. Moreover, the firm has partnered with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) to launch a first-ever tech internship program to provide diverse college students with access to paid internships at its portfolio companies. The firm has offices in Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.
Vista’s Endeavor fund was established in 2017 to focus solely on investing in earlier stage, high potential software companies through both minority and majority investments. Leveraging Vista’s leading global investment platform – with more than $77 billion in assets under management (as of March 31, 2021) – Endeavor brings unmatched resources and operating expertise designed to accelerate growth. Vista’s deep industry knowledge, experience and partnership-based leadership has fostered success across a diverse portfolio of companies with a focus on driving impact, while expanding and extending employee experience and customer satisfaction. Recent investments in the Endeavor fund include Schoox, iN2L and Fusion Risk Management.
Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Through the Vista Consulting Group (VCG), Vista’s dedicated team of more than 100 enterprise software experts, the firm supports founders and their organizations as they aim to solve specific business challenges or goals across functional areas from go-to-market to product development to talent. With unmatched investing and operating experience in enterprise software, and a global ecosystem of peers and practice experts, Vista offers founders and CEOs the support, partnership and expertise to unlock value and grow their companies.
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice is a private investment firm with a strategy predicated on building stronger businesses. The firm, which manages $43 billion in assets with offices in New York and London, is well-known for its ability to improve company operations and in turn profitability. The large majority of the firm’s historical returns are in fact linked to EBITDA growth. CD&R applies its operationally-driven investment model across its core industries: consumer/retail, healthcare, industrials and technology/business services. Its success in driving company growth is tied in large part to its deep bench of operating partners and advisors who on average have more than 40 years of corporate leadership experience across nearly 100 industry sub-sectors.
The firm’s investments are often in partnership with entrepreneurs, families, and corporations, who value CD&R’s business-building expertise and work closely with the CD&R team to spur strategic and operational improvements that create long-term value. Additionally, CD&R has implemented a thorough ESG policy and protocol to ensure each of its portfolio companies is continuously monitored and measured along ESG dimensions throughout the investment holding period. Notably, the firm is also highly focused on improving diversity and the hiring of women and underrepresented minorities at the firm level as well as at its portfolio companies.
Trilantic North America is a leading, growth-focused middle market private equity firm investing in entrepreneurial companies in the consumer, business services, energy and energy transition sectors. Since 2004, the firm has committed $6.8 billion of capital to 47 founder- and family-owned and operated businesses in the middle and upper-middle market and has raised $9.7 billion across six private equity fund families. Trilantic North America’s proven ability to identify standout business leaders in emerging industries and help position businesses for long-term, sustainable growth, has generated strategic partnerships with companies including 24-7 Intouch, Sunrise Strategic Partners, Traeger Pellet Grills, SemaConnect and more.
This past year, the firm launched its Founders Council, which connects a group of predominantly female entrepreneurs and founders with leaders of founder-and family-owned businesses. This initiative has empowered business owners to drive forward the growth of their businesses, unlock future potential and problem solve at each critical step of their evolution. Moreover, Trilantic North America is dedicated to working alongside its investors, portfolio companies and the broader private equity industry to face forces of climate change, social and economic disparities and technological disruption head-on by interconnecting ESG factors and business performance.
Founded in 2000 as one of the first technology-focused private equity firms, Accel-KKR has since invested in 300+ mid-market software and technology-enabled services businesses around the world. Today, Accel-KKR manages over $10 billion in capital commitments. The firm stands out amongst its peers for its keen insight into turning emerging companies into dominant players in expanding verticals. In numerous cases, it has proven successful in rapidly scaling its portfolio companies through a series of highly targeted acquisitions. Its remarkable value creation capabilities stem from deep operating experience, dedicated sourcing and M&A, strong peer and talent communities, skilled governance and patient capital.
Accel-KKR focuses on middle-market companies and provides a broad range of capital solutions including buyout capital, minority growth investments and credit alternatives. It also invests across a wide range of transaction types including private company recapitalizations, divisional carve-outs and going-private transactions. Notably, the firm supports its portfolio companies in raising diversity and inclusivity across their organizations. Accel-KKR is headquartered in Menlo Park with additional offices in Atlanta and London.
Great Hill Partners invests in high-growth, disruptive companies across its five core sectors – software, digital commerce, financial technology, healthcare, and digital infrastructure. Over the past two decades, Great Hill has raised over $8 billion of commitments across seven funds and invested in more than 85 companies, establishing an extensive track record of building long-term partnerships with founders and entrepreneurs to help middle-market industry pioneers achieve their full potential. With an individualized approach to each of its investments, Great Hill is a long-term growth-oriented investor and a true partner to its portfolio companies’ management teams.
The firm has the unique skill of honing in on the most effective value creating path forward for each of its portfolio companies, in some cases, this involves incorporating new key management team members and expanding into multiple adjacent markets. It is not unusual for the firm to draw repeatedly on executives who have helped it build companies in the past. Great Hill Partners prides itself on integrity and doing the right thing by all stakeholders. It pays close attention to talent development within the firm, is committed to board member diversity, and has a corporate philanthropy program to assist the broader community.
Bain Capital Tech Opportunities (BCTO) partners with exceptional entrepreneurs and management teams to help growing technology companies reach their full potential. The firm provides flexible capital, strategic and operational resources, and deep industry expertise backed by the global reach of the Bain Capital platform, where they have collectively invested in well over 200 technology companies. BCTO brings significant vertical depth, with a core focus on enterprise software, and decades of technology investment experience from top-tier private, public and growth equity firms.
Since inception in 2019, BCTO has partnered with a number of innovative and disruptive technology companies to support their growth. The firm leverages its platform and operating resources to support its companies as they scale in critical areas including talent, go-to-market, product strategy, and M&A. The majority of its investments have been in founder-led companies, and many have included transformative acquisitions as a part of the investment, leveraging expertise to add scale and reshape competitive dynamics in their respective markets.
Kayne Partners is the dedicated growth private equity group of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. The group leverages its large firm resources to partner and invest in lower middle market, privately held, high growth, enterprise software and tech-enabled service businesses across North America. Over the last two decades, the team has developed a durable and repeatable investment strategy and process for applying its stage expertise through sourcing and investing in companies at an early inflection point, adding value and scaling through organic growth and M&A, and exiting these must-have assets to strategics and financial sponsors.
Kayne Partners has succeeded in large part because of the level of resources it brings to its portfolio companies through its deep executive network that can help provide unique industry intel on competitive positioning, prospective key hires, and prospective enterprise customers. In addition, through its collaborative culture based on mentorship and diversity, the group has retained much of its talent with several instances of junior professionals rising to the most senior ranks over the years. Kayne Partners has a distinct investment focus on key verticals including media and telecommunications, supply chain and logistics, financial technology, healthcare IT, security and compliance, and business process outsourcing and automation.
LLR Partners is a lower middle market private equity firm investing in technology and healthcare businesses, with a long-time focus on education, fintech, healthcare technology and services, human capital management, industrial technology, security, and enterprise software. Since inception, the firm has collaborated with more than 100 companies to define high-impact growth initiatives, turn them into action and help create long-term value. Founded in 1999 and with more than $5 billion raised across six funds, LLR is a flexible provider of equity capital for growth, recapitalizations and buyouts.
LLR believes in creating value through partnership. Its dedicated Value Creation Team partners closely with its Investment Team and Market Development Teams, as well as an extensive third-party network, to deliver integrated resources and guidance that help portfolio companies achieve their growth objectives. Together, they leverage deep functional expertise in areas such as strategic planning, human capital, sales, marketing, strategic finance, M&A, product and technology. The firm’s culture is based on mutual respect and shared trust which is further supported by a firm-wide mentorship program as well as a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Founded in 1988, Pamlico Capital seeks control-oriented growth equity investments of up to $200 million alongside founders and proven leaders across four target industries: communications, healthcare, services and software. Working from one office in Charlotte, North Carolina, its team of investment professionals has sourced and led hundreds of successful transactions over its 30+ year history. Pamlico closed its most recent fund in 2020 at the hard cap of $1.4 billion. Since inception, the firm has invested approximately $4 billion.
Pamlico takes a comprehensive approach and active involvement in each of its portfolio companies. It employs strategic planning, portfolio best practice sharing, go-to market strategy, acquisition planning, and human capital networks to optimize all business operations and capitalize on value creation opportunities. The firm’s culture is upheld by a people first mentality where colleagues support each other in and out of the office. Moreover, ESG has been a focal point in decision making, hiring and many other aspects of the firm.
FTV Capital is a growth equity firm that has raised nearly $4 billion to invest in innovative, high-growth companies in enterprise technology and services, financial services, and payments and transaction processing. FTV’s experienced team leverages its domain expertise and proven track record in each sector to help motivated management teams accelerate growth. FTV also provides companies with access to its Global Partner Network®, a group of the world’s leading enterprises and executives who have helped FTV portfolio companies for two decades. FTV closed its largest fund to-date, FTV VI, in 2020 at its hard cap of $1.2 billion.
Over the last 18 months, FTV’s exciting momentum has continued to accelerate with more than a dozen new investments in high-growth companies like: 6Degrees Health, Agiloft, Centaur Fund Services, Derivative Path, Docupace, Embroker, Lean Solutions Group, LoanPro, Many Pets (Bought by Many), Paddle, PeopleCert and Sysnet. Additionally, FTV has successfully exited companies like InvestCloud, Strata Fund Solutions and VPay. Founded in 1998 with offices in San Francisco and New York, FTV Capital has invested in 125 portfolio companies.
Monomoy Capital Partners is a private investment firm with $2.7 billion in committed capital across a family of five investment funds with offices in New York, Greenwich, CT and Lexington, KY. Monomoy invests in the debt and equity of middle market businesses at an inflection point that can benefit from operational and financial improvement with a focus on manufacturing, distribution and consumer product businesses in North America and Europe. The firm has proven adept at company value creation through a disciplined institutionalized process.
Monomoy’s process begins with foundational analysis which includes an in-depth operating diagnostic on the company including its executive team, sales organization, vendors, finance functions and other important business areas. From this analysis, the firm develops and implements a line by line value creation plan to optimize all areas of the business. In addition to operating improvements, Monomoy has been particularly effective at improving environmental, social and governance practices at its portfolio companies.
Mainsail Partners is a growth equity firm with offices in San Francisco and Austin that invests exclusively in fast-growing, bootstrapped software companies. The firm has raised over $1.3 billion and has invested in more than 50 growing companies since 2003. Mainsail prioritizes investments in B2B software companies with compelling business models in growing markets.
Mainsail’s strategy and team is specifically designed to help software companies in their next phase of growth, which includes a purpose-built Operations Team that is dedicated to helping management teams scale their businesses and accelerate growth. These women and men include former software company operators who leverage real-world experience, well-established best practices, and a true partnership ethos to support management teams.
Founded in 2007, Long Ridge Equity Partners is a specialist growth equity firm focused on financial and business technology companies. Since its founding, Long Ridge’s principals have sponsored some of the most successful growth companies in these sectors, providing leading management teams with partnership, strategic resources, and capital to drive profitable expansion. Leveraging deep sector knowledge and an extensive network of industry resources, Long Ridge serves as a value-added partner and understands the unique challenges and opportunities that entrepreneurs face in scaling their businesses.
The firm has a demonstrated focus on providing active, board-level, strategic support centered on growth acceleration, inorganic growth levers, and enhancement of executive teams and boards. Long Ridge has been particularly adept in cases where acquisitions can play a key role in rapidly scaling a company, in one case closing in excess of 20 subsidiary acquisitions. Moreover, with its expansive industry network, the firm helps portfolio companies recruit world-class executives and key senior professionals. Since inception, the firm has been committed to ESG-oriented principles and has adopted effective processes to ensure continuous focus on anti-discrimination and diversity both at the firm level as well as at its portfolio companies. Long Ridge manages over $1 billion of committed capital.
Blue Point Capital Partners is a private equity firm managing over $1.5 billion in committed capital. With offices in Cleveland, Charlotte, Seattle and Shanghai, Blue Point’s geographical footprint allows it to establish trusted relationships with local and regional entrepreneurs and advisors in the U.S and Canada, while providing the resources of a global organization. The firm has over a two-decade history of partnering with lower middle-market businesses to cultivate the processes and capabilities needed to achieve transformative growth.
Blue Point brings a highly disciplined and focused approach to its management team partnerships by leveraging its in-house supply chain / Asian resources, proprietary data and digital capabilities, operating and industry resources, human capital strategies and extensive M&A experience. Moreover, it integrates ESG into its investment process and requires third-party ESG due diligence for all new platform investments. Blue Point typically invests in industrial, business services, consumer or value-added distribution companies that generate between $30 million and $300 million in revenue.
Norwest is a leading venture and growth equity investment firm managing more than $9.5 billion in capital. Since its inception, the firm has invested in more than 600 early to late-stage companies and currently partners with over 150 active companies in its portfolio. Norwest takes a long-term and flexible approach to partnering with founders and executives in both minority and control investments. The team offers a deep network of connections, operating experience, and a wide range of impactful services to help CEOs and founders scale their businesses. Norwest’s growth equity team has a long track record of working with the most innovative companies in the following key sectors: technology, business and financial services, consumer, and healthcare.
Notably, the firm’s talent team works closely with CEOs across active searches, including Board, CFO, CRO, engineering, marketing, and many other key positions, interim needs, and compensation guidance for hiring and retention. On the ESG front, Norwest has built a Board Diversity Initiative of over 100 women and people of color across functions and companies spanning the consumer, enterprise, and healthcare sectors. Moreover, it brought on a DEI Senior Advisor to help guide the firm and its portfolio companies on DEI initiatives and best practices.
Established in 2005, VIG Partners is one of Korea’s oldest private equity firms that focuses predominantly on buyout investments in middle-market Korean companies. 21 of the firm’s 23 investments to date have been for controlling stakes. For over 16 years, the firm has acquired industry-leading companies and provided to them industry leading management, necessary expansion capital, and strategic and directional advice and guidance to grow their core businesses and to create value. VIG has raised and managed four private equity funds with aggregate committed capital of $2.3 billion.
VIG Partners primarily invests in domestic consumption industries where it has deep expertise including consumer and retail, lifestyle and healthcare, and financial services. VIG brings together a team with domestic and international experience in investment banking, law, management consulting and operations. The firm believes this deep and diverse collective experience helps the firm make better decisions and have a broader impact on portfolio companies, and serves as the foundation for achieving superior investment results. Today, VIG has 13 investment professionals, all with distinguished and varied academic and professional backgrounds. Three out of the four managing partners of VIG have been together since the firm’s founding.
WestView Capital Partners is a Boston-based private equity firm focused on growth-oriented companies. The firm currently manages $1.7 billion in capital and has a successful track record of partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs in minority and majority recapitalizations, growth capital and buyout transactions. WestView invests across several core focus sectors – software and IT services, business services, healthcare technology and outsourcing, consumer, and growth industrial. The firm prides itself on being complementary partners to passionate entrepreneurs with domain expertise so deep, it’s effectively “in their blood”.
WestView focuses on helping entrepreneurs grow and evolve their organizations as they navigate the many opportunities and challenges that come with growth. The cornerstone of its investment philosophy is the collaborative relationship it establishes with portfolio company management. Experience has shown them that motivated and talented management teams are the key to building successful businesses, and their actions reflect this very important aspect of private equity investing.
Parthenon Capital Partners is a leading mid-market private equity firm with offices in Boston, San Francisco and Austin. Parthenon utilizes niche industry expertise and a deep execution team to invest in growth companies in service and technology industries. Parthenon seeks to be an active and aligned partner to management, either through recapitalization transactions or by backing new executives. Parthenon has particular expertise in financial and insurance services, healthcare and business services.
The firm has invested in over 50 platform companies and 200 add-on acquisitions since its founding. Parthenon has full-time, senior level professionals with expertise in strategy and operations, capital markets, human capital, sales and marketing, financial reporting, information technology, acquisitions and integration. These resources enable its portfolio companies to be more ambitious in their growth strategies. For example, 70% of its portfolio companies are build-ups and on average they complete eight acquisitions during Parthenon’s investment period.
The Riverside Company is a global investment firm focused on being one of the leading private capital options for investors, business owners and employees at the smaller end of the middle market by seeking to fuel transformative growth and creating lasting value. Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has made more than 750 investments. The firm’s international private equity and structured capital portfolios include more than 120 companies.
The firm seeks to grow companies organically via new products, expanding markets by adding channels, enhancing international operations and improving processes. Its operating resources include former CEOs and other seasoned experts. Riverside has a generalist investing approach with extra emphasis given to companies in the following industries: business services, consumer brands, education and training, franchisors, healthcare, software and information technology, and specialty manufacturing and distribution.
Flexpoint Ford is a US-based private equity investment firm that has raised more than $5 billion in capital and specializes in privately negotiated investments in the financial services and healthcare industries. Since the firm’s formation in 2005, Flexpoint Ford has completed investments in more than 40 companies across a broad range of investment sizes, structures, and asset classes. Its investment professionals are among the most experienced investors in the U.S. in its target industries with a history of investing across the vast majority of financial services and healthcare subsectors.
The firm believes private equity investing in these areas requires industry-specific expertise in order to appropriately evaluate the intricate regulatory frameworks, risk management, and complex accounting practices in these specialized sectors. Flexpoint Ford builds and adds value to its portfolio companies through strategy development, operational guidance, sharing of best practices, and accessing key industry relationships. The firm is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional offices in New York, New York.
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) is a middle-market private equity firm with a 38-year track record of investing across various targeted sectors, including franchising, professional services, education and engineered products. The firm utilizes a differentiated structured private equity investment strategy, combining debt and equity capital investments in portfolio companies. This unique structure provides a less dilutive solution for management teams and entrepreneurs, while delivering growth and income with a significantly lower risk profile.
LLCP’s global team of dedicated investment professionals is led by seven partners who have worked at LLCP for an average of 22 years. Since inception, the firm has managed approximately $12.1 billion of institutional capital across 15 investment funds and has invested in over 90 portfolio companies. Based in Los Angeles, the firm has a global presence with additional offices in New York, Chicago, Charlotte and Miami in the U.S. and London, The Hague and Stockholm in Europe. The team currently consists of 76 employees, including 40 dedicated investment professionals.
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Disclaimer: The data provided in this publication is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, endorsement, nor recommendation. GrowthCap believes the information in this publication to be accurate but does not verify its accuracy independently and does not warrant or guarantee that it is accurate or complete. GrowthCap has no obligation to provide any updates or changes to the information. No investment decisions should be made using this information.
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