Philadelphia-based LLR Partners was one of the most active private equity firms in the middle market, racking up 28 transactions in 2017, including 4 new platform investments, 18 add-on acquisitions and 6 exits. The firm continued to expand, with more than a dozen new hires, several promotions and the engagement of several senior operating advisors. LLR also pioneered a digital strategy that involved embracing social media and devising new ways of connecting with prospective and existing portfolio companies.
“In such a competitive market, our dedicated industry teams and flexible approach to deal structuring helped us complete new investments in four of our key target areas – fintech, healthcare, security and software,” says managing director Michael Sala. The firm’s 2017 platform investments were: Professional Capital Services (PCS), which develops software that automates the sale, design, valuation and management of retirement plans; Kemberton Healthcare Services LLC, a provider of technology-enabled revenue cycle management (RCM) services to hospitals for complex claims; 3SI Security, a developer of asset protection systems and GPS tracking technology for the financial services and retail markets; and eLocal, a provider of digital performance marketing and new customer acquisition for service businesses.
In addition to being an active year for transactions at LLR, 2017 marked a critical point in the firm’s digital evolution. “The site redesign was carefully thought out from a coding, content and user experience standpoint to serve as the home base for a broader strategy around original content, portfolio events, social media, email marketing and search engine optimization (SEO),” explains Kristy DelMuto, vice president of strategic marketing.
The firm launched GrowthBits, a collection of posts that codify best practices from the LLR portfolio leaders, value creation team and senior operating advisors. The goal is to make the content accessible and actionable for any growth-oriented executive or advisor. LLR also formalized its long-running series of Collaborate Events, which bring together portfolio companies annually for peer networking and best practice sharing in-person. The firm makes extensive use of LinkedIn, Twitter, email and SEO to reach new and existing audiences. During the program’s first year, the effort led to 70 percent growth in the firm’s LinkedIn following.
Talent at LLR is both a critical focus in the portfolio and at the fund level. Within the firm’s value creation team, there are now 3 full-time talent professionals dedicated to supporting portfolio companies’ human capital strategies. In-house, LLR made 13 new hires in 2017 including Steve Chang as managing director, strategy, and Bill Tobia, as managing director, strategic finance. Thirty percent of the 2017 new hires were female, including women added across the investment and origination teams.
“LLR believes its people are its most important asset, and fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity is core to the way it runs the firm,” says COO Todd Morrissey.
Says Sala: “Between LLR’s consistent focus on creating long term value for technology, services and healthcare companies since inception; its strong commitment to growing a team of sharp, collaborative professionals; and now its added digital component, the firm is seeing the power of its 2017 brand evolution igniting new conversations and creating new opportunities.”