TA/GA/Insight Tech Investment

Anyone has any perspectives on how the top Growth Equity firms differentiate in tech investment strategies? How do they stack up against each other?

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Comments (9)

Mar 16, 2021 - 12:10am

Hello I am very new here and I was recruiting at Insight, but ended up not sending my application because I was very underprepared, I would have gotten an interview and did not want to botch it or my relationship with the company. 

I believe their only office is in NY. They basically want you to pitch a startup funding idea that is in a very tight vertical that has a CAGR greater than 25% preferably much higher. I was going to apply the next year, but got involved in something more exiting. Insight definitely is one of the top firms in the industry in my opinion and they have a lot of quality people working for them however I do not know a whole lot about the exit options.  

Insight looks at very specific verticals and invests in high CAGR companies within these verticals. That is most of what I know about its investment process which is probably similar across the board in growth equity. 

  • Analyst 1 in PE - Growth
Mar 16, 2021 - 1:39am

I'll touch on Insight because I recruited for an internship with them last summer (got dinged after the initial Hirevue tho lol) and are the only one I know well. The kid above was right that they look for high-growth companies, but that's true of virtually the entire industry, hence the phrase "growth" equity. Insight's main differentiator is their Insight Onsite team. Onsite is their ~70 person in-house consulting team that provides portcos with basically any operational support they need (M&A, hiring, S&M, etc). It's somewhat similar to Vista's consulting group except Insight doesn't charge their portcos so it's a pretty huge value-add. Other than that, they differentiate by focusing almost exclusively on pure software companies (they only have a few software-enabled portcos) and interestingly are one of the go-to VCs for hot Israeli startups (they have a small Tel Aviv office in addition to their NYC office) which in turn has made them a top cybersecurity player. Most recent fund was massive $9.5B and they seem flexible in their investment approach, as I have seen them do Series A rounds as small as $15M and buyouts as big as $5B.

Quick notes on TA/GA from what I know in comparison to Insight: both are much more global (offices in North America, LatAm, Europe, Asia) and TA seems a bit more strict with their approach as they don't really invest less than $70M and focus on profitable companies.

Would finish by saying that they are all regarded as top-tier firms but unsure how I would rank them

Most Helpful
Mar 16, 2021 - 2:20pm

I'll take a shot at this having worked in growth equity for a few years. I wouldn't rank one above the other, these are all three of the best and if you're lucky enough to be deciding between three offers, it should come down to personal preference. 

Insight: One thing that differentiates them is that the profile of the businesses that they invest in varies widely. You'll see them do a $30m Series A round one day in a hyper-growth, early stage startup that's burning a ton of cash. Then the next day they buy out Veeam, a $1B revenue business, for $5B. Other growth equity firms are more prescriptive in their mandates. I've heard for their larger investments, they are very hands-on operationally. Maybe not quite the Vista/Thoma playbook approach, but something close to that. Huge ops team. 

TA: Global and more focused on "traditional growth equity" than GA or Insight. Founder-run businesses, capital efficient, growing but not growing crazy fast. You're probably not going to see TA investing in a $10m revenue business that's burning $15m and growing 100%+. I'm sure there are exceptions though. They've continued to grow and had a huge win with the ZoomInfo IPO.

GA: Evergreen fund model so they emphasize that they can take a longer-term approach (vs. most growth equity firms who are looking to exit in 5 years). Seem to do more in LatAm/APAC than most US-based growth equity funds. Also seem to do more in consumer than TA or Insight.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 19, 2021 - 8:51am

Spot on. Would like to add that TA also uses the classic lever up model. They drive their returns with recaps and high leverage ratios, which is less the case for GA and Insight as far as I know.

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