Posted: 9 July 2021

The enlightening transition from LP to GP

The enlightening transition from LP to GP

In this short article, Katherine Bond looks at how her previous experience as a Limited Partner has helped inform her role as investor relations director at WestBridge.

Having joined the world of private equity in 1999, I have spent the majority of my career as a Limited Partner in the asset class. A proactive approach to market coverage and manager outreach in my previous roles meant that I have had the opportunity to meet with several private equity GPs in the European arena across the past 20 years.

In September 2020, I joined WestBridge Capital as Investor Relations Director having tracked and held a number of meetings with the firm since its first fundraise. Researching and executing a move across to the GP side saw me draw upon my manager selection toolkit developed and refined as an LP over the years. With responsibility and a keen focus in one of my previous roles on UK market coverage, in particular the compelling lower mid-market opportunity, WestBridge represented a natural fit for my next career move.

The history of my dealings with WestBridge professionals since their maiden fund, combined with their partnership approach, facilitated a straightforward process in convincing me to transition permanently to this GP side role.

From my personal perspective, progressing discussions with a manager - be it in relation to a new position or a proposed commitment - requires a strong cultural fit and this was evident from the outset of my discussions with the team.

I have come into the business at an interesting inflexion point as we are planning and pre-marketing WestBridge III and have completed several platform and add-on investments in which the scalable and repeatable WestBridge value creation model is actively being implemented. Additional attractive liquidity events from both funds are on the horizon which will be welcomed by our investors and further contribute to WestBridge’s position as a pre-eminent GP in the UK small cap space.

As a Limited Partner, an important part of the judgement to proceed with an investment or not was evaluating a manager’s ability to differentiate itself and create angles. Whilst many GPs have developed and refined strong marketing messages to this effect, one of the most interesting elements of my move to WestBridge has been the validation that these are not simply messages but are genuine characteristics of the firm’s modus operandi.

The key attributes I know resonate well with LPs are mining of the regional networks for deal flow, the ability to secure transactions at attractive pricing and the relentless focus on operationally improving our businesses and raising management teams’ horizons. On ESG, which continues to grow in importance, WestBridge not only embraces it but reports on the topic in a transparent manner and continually evaluates how to develop in this area. ESG is not just a nice to have marketing message, it resides at the heart of our organisation and our dealings with all stakeholders.

My desire to work in an entrepreneurial and collaborative culture means I have not been disappointed since my arrival at WestBridge. My objective has been to turn the investor due diligence lens onto our firm and provide insight into what Limited Partners expect from their managers. As a small cap firm, the creation of a dedicated Investor Relations function is testament that we hold LPs in high regard, and it is an honour to be part of a platform that is investing in the role for now and for the future. Whilst my transition to the GP side may be complete, I am confident that the journey will continue to be enlightening.

Typically, WestBridge invests between £10m and £25m in established, profitable and fast-growing UK SMEs with enterprise values of up to £50m.  We are always keen to hear from ambitious management teams that require development capital, acquisition funding or support for a management buyout.  To hear more about our investment criteria or discuss the suitability of a company, do get in touch.


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