Mergermarket Private Equity Forum Austin 2023

Mergermarket's brand-new event for the American private equity community!

Four Seasons Hotel, Austin

08.00 - 09.00


09.45 - 10.30

Regional private equity outlook: navigating headwinds

According to Mergermarket data, the US buyout market generated 837 deals worth US$86bn in Q1 of 2023, down 11% and 2.8% from Q4 2022 respectively, amidst a backdrop of continued inflationary pressures, a higher interest rate environment and market volatility. A lack of exits has also made fundraising more challenging. Despite this, private equity firms are still looking to deploy US$2tn of dry powder, and historically, economic downturns have shown to offer some of the best PE vintages and best returns. How can GPs tap into these bright spots? Our panel of seasoned GPs and advisors will unpack the coming months ahead and discuss fundraising, valuations, investing trends, exits and more.

  • Macroeconomic outlook: Amidst ongoing public market and geopolitical volatility, where are the pockets of opportunity in private equity, and what is driving deal flow locally and regionally?  
  • Buyouts- large cap vs middle-market – is the latter picking up speed?
  • Will take privates and increased consolidation continue, and what other trends have been emerging?
  • Will exit challenges remain in 2024, and what is the outlook for the year ahead?
10.30 - 11.00

Networking break

11.30 - 12.15

Venture capital: capturing opportunities

Venture capital investment continues to be muted regionally, with economic uncertainty and recent bank failures adding to a tougher dealmaking and fundraising environment. Whilst VCs continue to deploy capital, they will likely be more selective and prioritize their existing portfolio companies. Bright spots, however, continue to emerge, with slowdowns in dealmaking levelling off from 2022, and notable sectors such as AI, FinTech, and cleantech gaining investment appetite. Our panel of regional and local investors take stock of the market and discuss the trajectory of venture capital in Austin and the rest of the US.

  • How have VC markets have been evolving regionally, and what can VC investors do to ensure their portfolio companies are resilient?
  • What is the outlook for early vs late-stage investments in the region?
  • Valuations: do they remain strong or are corrections expected?
  • What are the top VC investment opportunities on the horizon?
12.45 - 13.45

Networking lunch

13.45 - 14.45

Driving value creation capabilities through uncertain times: rewriting the playbook

Higher cost of capital, longer holding periods for PE portfolio companies and increasing interest rates are just a few issues that have led fund managers to place an increased emphasis on value creation and operational improvements in a bid to boost returns. This session will take a behind the scenes look at a GP’s value creation playbook and discuss best practices, how GPs can best position companies to ride out a downturn, and the importance of sector specialization.  

  • Given the uncertain outlook, how are GPs approaching supporting portfolio companies differently, and what should they prioritize?
  • Revisiting the playbook: what are some new approaches GPs have adopted to drive value creation?
  • How do you ensure that the value creation discussion gets buy-in from fund management teams and   portfolio companies?
  • Digital transformation in value creation: how are PE firms incorporating data and AI tools to enhance operations?
14.45 - 15.15

Networking break

15.15 - 16.00

Sector spotlight: Deep dive into TMT and the AI investment opportunity

Current economic conditions will continue to affect technology investments and valuations after the mid-2021 boom, although opportunities in this downturn remain present, most notably in areas such as cybersecurity, data analytics, and automation. Indeed, valuations of generative AI companies have been on the rise, although the potential of AI to disrupt the private markets remains a potential cause for concern. Our group of experts and investors will discuss the latest dealmaking trends in the sector and how they are continuing to capture opportunities for long-term strategic growth.

  • What have been the main drivers of TMT deal flow, from cybersecurity to software?
  • Will the sector see an increase in bolt-on acquisitions and further consolidation in the industry?
  • How are GPs using AI internally to maximize operational efficiencies such as through investment diligence and predictive analytics? How can fund managers tap into the AI opportunity set?
  • What are the potential dangers of AI disruption on the private markets?
16.00 - 16.45

LP allocations to private equity: staying committed

Please Note: This session will not be available to watch on-demand.

Despite continued economic upheaval, LPs remain committed to private equity as an asset class, although investors are favoring different strategies, sectors and specializations beyond large fund buyouts, with a particular focus on the middle market and co-investments. What does the outlook hold for LP allocations in 2024? A panel of top regional institutional investors will share their views on capital allocation and portfolio construction and discuss the unique complexities that they are facing, as well as their top priorities for the year ahead. 

  • What are the top opportunities and concerns affecting LP allocation decisions as we head towards 2024?
  • What strategies and sectors are investors prioritizing as they navigate the current market- are LPs favoring smaller funds as opposed to buyouts?
  • Will co-investments continue to play an increasingly large role in LP’s portfolios, and how does this impact LP-GP relationships?
  • Will LPs remain overallocated to the private markets, and where are LPs looking for emerging market asset allocation?
17.00 - 18.00

End of conference and networking drinks