Working for a private equity-backed company will be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding roles you will ever hold. The purpose of an investor acquiring a company in the first place is to grow it larger and more profitable than its current state, all while maintaining a conscious eye on the time horizon, a three to five-year hold period. Suppose you are lucky and talented enough to have a core role in an investor-backed company. In that case, all operators will tell you it is a unique opportunity to leave your mark on an organization within a cutthroat, execution-focused environment.
Many ultra-talented operators will opt for PE-backed companies to get that fast-paced environment with an end goal in mind, rather than a similar structure within venture capital-backed startups to de-risk their role and boost compensation.
While on the topic of compensation, large financial gain is the automatic thought process from outsiders looking in. While the financial rewards are not untrue in this industry, it is often reflected in a performance-based structure, ensuring there is strong alignment between the company, the operator, and the private equity firm, and hence, their investment. This compensation structure will attract talent that is more confident in their abilities, and those that are equipped to execute on a playbook and move fast, helping rewards to be reaped for all parties.
A downside many operators face is seeing the talent pool of their employer shift, especially if it is a company with many verticals and areas for growth, it is possible to be bought and sold repeatedly, with each acquirer growing in size to compensate the new market and strategies needed. While this is not an uncommon practice, many funds will hold companies under their ownership for at least 2-3 years, which gives considerable time to make an impact and showcase talents, having more autonomy over what areas you consider value-drivers, and which projects should take priority in growing the investment. Yet, with the ability to make a larger impact, it also means there is no hiding when things go wrong - but if you can fail hard and learn fast, all will be forgiven (within reason). This strategy is how many of the most celebrated operating executives have built their careers, rapidly accelerating their personal and professional development by doing in one year what many corporate employees do in 2-3 years.
To sum things up, the deep experience and network gained by operating executives working in an investor-backed role are incomparable, enriching themselves in knowledge, abilities, and financial gain - but only if they are willing to pay for it with hard work during, and the many years of experience in the respective industry leading up to the role that enables. A leadership role in a PE-backed role resembles the pain, struggle, and determination of an entrepreneur with the fast-forward capabilities of taking the company from 1-100 rather than 0-1, which we like to call an ‘intrapreneur’. If you have what it takes to work in this environment or want to continue finding new roles after your current company is sold, get in touch with us below to potentially join our platform.