The interview below is part of an ongoing effort by McGuireWoods to profile women leaders in private equity (PE). To read previous profiles, click here. To recommend a woman for a future interview, email Amber Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lindsay Ting is a principal of Trilantic North America. Trilantic is a PE firm focused on control and minority investments in the business services, consumer and energy sectors with aggregate capital commitments of $9.7 billion. At Trilantic, Ting is involved in all aspects of deal origination and execution. Prior to joining Trilantic, she worked at PE firms Castanea Partners and TA Associates as well as One Kings Lane, an e-commerce platform.
Ting began her career in investment banking at Morgan Stanley. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, a master’s from Stanford Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s in mathematics, magna cum laude, from Williams College.
Q: Why do you actively support providing capital to female entrepreneurs and management teams?
Lindsay Ting: Our job is to deliver strong returns for our limited partners. A key ingredient to those returns is backing exceptional management teams, and many successful, high-growth businesses are led by women. Trilantic has backed multiple female founders and CEOs, and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to back several female founders and executives in prior roles as well. Everyone benefits if these companies continue to grow and succeed: employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers, etc. There is a huge value-creation opportunity.
Women make a lot of the buying decisions in this country and are well-positioned to see product and service opportunities in the market. I have seen businesses started and grown out of a need that was unmet by the current market where a founder, often a woman, saw a white space. Some of these businesses are compelling potential investment opportunities. I am continually amazed by the businesses created by the founders and entrepreneurs with whom we meet — both women and men. It is one of the best parts of my job.
I also think women are strong networkers and sometimes have connectivity into different networks than their male peers. These connections and relationships allow us to potentially provide different types of resources to the founders and entrepreneurs with whom we are working and can help us be a value-added partner.
Q: What advice would you provide to a woman-led company interested in securing PE funding?
LT: My advice would be the same as to a business run by a man. First, find a trusted banker with experience marketing and securing investments for companies in your industry. This adviser has critical insights from across your industry, including how comparable businesses were valued. They should also be able to facilitate impactful introductions in the investment community.
Perhaps most importantly, they can help you with the heavy lifting of preparing for investor meetings by framing the key investment highlights and handling diligence requests. Raising capital can be a time-consuming task. Hiring an investment banker will likely make the process more efficient, leaving you more hours in the day to actually run your business.
Second, figure out what you are looking for from an investor. PE firms come in different flavors — some are incredibly involved with portfolio companies and others are more light-touch. There are several dimensions on which to evaluate potential partners, so figure out what matters to you.
Above all, there should be trust and transparency on both sides. I try to be upfront about where we think we can add value. Have multiple conversations about where your business is headed and the levers for growth. Align your priorities upfront and make sure your partner shares that vision. At Trilantic, we view these relationships as true partnerships — the firm was named to Inc. Magazine's 2019 list of "Top 50 Founder-Friendly Private Equity Firms" — and partnerships, like all relationships, are built on trust.
Finally — and I hope this goes without saying — check references on a firm.
Q: How do you believe women of your generation will be able to influence the PE industry?
LT: We need to continue to make successful investments and generate consistent returns for our investors, though that is not unique to female dealmakers.
Women can and should celebrate each other's successes so we can elevate more women in the PE community. We should also continue to be sounding boards for one another as we navigate challenges. There is a tremendous community of women in and around the PE world and it has grown significantly over the last decade. For example, the growth in the number of events focused on women in PE each year is impressive — including and especially in a pandemic year.
As women advance within organizations, we need to pay it forward to the next generation of women and continue to invest in up-and-coming talent, in recruiting but also in retaining women. A lot of progress has been made on these fronts, but there is more we can do. It is much easier to envision a career if you see that there is a path forward and have strong examples in front of you.
Q: What is a lesson that you have learned concerning what is required for success in PE?
LT: Play the long game. While deal flow and execution can be incredibly fast-paced, cultivating relationships and planting seeds for future deals take time and patience. You continually need to invest in relationships and enjoy that aspect of the job. Deals come and go; that is the nature of the job. We are always looking for new opportunities and will evaluate a lot of deals in our sectors to find the standout companies and management teams with whom we want to partner.
To contact Lindsay Ting, email LTing@trilantic.com.