To what extent do you believe PE folk genuinely intend to partner with businesses and grow them vs. using partnership and growth purely as a marketing gimmick to get in bed with successful businesses and just ride on their success?
Now I get that PE is a business, that like all others, requires returns and that successfully identifying strong businesses are to a PE's credit. However, it is extremely uninspiring to see some in the industry do a 180 flip from their initial pitch of collaboration, succeeding together, yada yada, when things go south.
Came across this article (link below) that I found rather chilling. Some background preceding this:
- This interview relates to a company in India invested into by a few PE firms
- Company growth didn't pan out as expected and PE(s) pressured founder to the point of suicide
Now this is tragic on all accounts, but the way the interviewee has attempted to distance himself / the industry from any accountability / involvement is shocking. 2 lines stood out:
1. "To complain of negotiated terms post facto is like an inefficient carpenter blaming his tools. No one forced company to seek PE funding."
2. "Why should PE firms be blamed for the unintended consequences of his entrepreneurship?"
While it is true that negotiated terms are negotiated terms, and it appears possible / likely that the PE(s) were acting within their contractual rights, the interviewee's choice of words and blatant attempt to remove any involvement / responsibility on the PE firm's part to support company growth and try to work out a solution together is just outright uninspiring. Might as well have said "hah! we duped this entrepreneur into accepting our money and now he should bear the consequence of his mistake". Second line just spewed entitlement and pure blame shifting to the seller. I find it hard pressed to believe they had went into the deal with this attitude - rather, they would have portrayed a 180 different front going in: all smiles, promises of working together, sharing resources, introducing network etc.. and here we are now post-investment.
The hair on the back of my neck is still standing from the eery feeling I got reading this article, and I hope any future successful entrepreneur here picks the right source of capital or PE partner.