ACG used many new approaches to engage our members at InterGrowth® 2014. In doing so, it really got us thinking about he topic of innovation. So we’re dedicating this entire issue
of Middle Market Growth to innovation and what it means for private
equity firms focused on mid-sized companies.
This issue includes a wrapup of the highly successful InterGrowth
event. Throughout the three-day conference, we were surrounded
by great examples of innovation. From the fancy drape-and-light
technology used in our rooms at the ARIA to the new networking app
to 3-D printing demonstrations from GE Capital, we were constantly
reminded of new ways to do things better.
Innovation is the key differentiator between market leaders and their
rivals. Successful businesses respond well to current needs; exceptional
businesses dominate their markets by innovating to effectively create
products or services to meet future demand.
Innovation is marked by a small improvement or a major overhaul.
A 3-D printer making joints from soft tissue is a major innovation, but minor innovations can be just as
important. As you read these articles, I encourage you to think about your business and how you can make
innovation a part of your growth story.
Our cover story profiles Plex Systems, a software company that helps old-line manufacturers run their
operations remotely using cloud computing, giving customers more flexibility and efficiency by eliminating
servers at manufacturing plants and headquarters. West Coast-based Francisco Partners is the majority
private equity owner behind the company.
Our story on the “Internet of Things” examines another hot trend for private equity firms: connecting
everyday objects to the Internet, whether accessing your home thermostat from your mobile phone or using
your car’s mapping technology to make use of real-time GPS traffic data.
We also hear from TriVista SVP and Managing Director Brenda Reichelderfer on how private equity
firms can facilitate innovation at their portfolio companies, track investment dollars and measure results.
ACG board member Randy Schwimmer, author of the popular middle-market lending newsletter The
Lead Left, shares his thoughts on innovation and market demand.
In a Q&A, Pritzker Group Private Capital investment partner Michael Nelson offers insight into how his
firm drives innovation at its middle-market portfolio companies. Finally, we summarize Plante Moran’s
annual innovation survey, which paints an optimistic picture of things to come.
These are exciting stories, and I hope they inspire you to think about the topic of innovation in
innovative ways! //
From InterGrowth to Innovation