The value of the private equity operating partner has been hotly contested in recent years. Generalist or specialist? Executive or coach? Listen for a unique story of how to be an effective operating partner.
Today’s guest is Jim Milbery. Jim is a Partner with ParkerGale Capital, a middle market private equity fund focused on buyouts of profitable software and technology-enabled services companies. Prior to forming ParkerGale, Jim held roles with William Blair Capital Partners and Chicago Growth Partners (as a private equity operating partner).
Despite his current role, Jim spent the first 15 years of his career in operating roles with technology companies such as Digital Equipment Corporation, Uniface and Oracle. His roles spanned from pre-sales engineer to product manager, which gave him a deep understanding of software and technology.
A Two-Part Private Equity Series
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this with you because it is kind of a two-part mini series. I was fortunate enough to have conversations with both Jim and one of his partners, Devin Mathews, on the same day. I kept them separate because I wanted you to hear the differences in their opinions, backgrounds and how they got to where they are now. They are both great guys, but I think you’ll be interested in comparing and contrasting their answers.
Of course, if you are interested in private equity, you’ll find these two interviews fascinating. But you might also be interested to know that Jim and Devin host their own show, Private Equity Funcast.
In this episode:
- Jim’s journey from pre-sales engineer to private equity investor
- The benefits of being helpful to other people
- How to take operating experience and apply it to the private equity world
- Being able to explain the same concept to varying levels of people
- The value of having great contacts within an industry
- Why being a specialist is OK (and sometimes more effective) – you don’t always have to have CEO-like capabilities to be a highly valued private equity operating partner
- How ParkerGale is organized as a team and how it looks to build value for its portfolio companies
- Weighing the opportunity and the business risks, deal by deal
- The amount of work required when you are investing at the lower end of the middle market
- How the role and value of the private equity operating partner has changed over the years
- The need to be face-to-face to build relationships
- Jim’s opinion on how to get into private equity with an operating background
- The value of learning operations across several different businesses
- Jim Milbery’s LinkedIn Profile
- The Most Important Thing, by Howard Marks
- The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb
- Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts
- Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore
- Inside the Tornado, by Geoffrey Moore
- The Gorilla Game, by Geoffrey Moore
Music by Elijah from NOMADS