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Contacts Or Relationships, What’s In Your Database?

At MCM Capital Partners my primary responsibilities include direct sourcing of investment opportunities and managing intermediary relationships within the investment banking and buy-side intermediary community. As a result, I am thrust into the realm of networking: cocktail parties, dinners, golf, conferences, etc. Nowadays, it even entails online networking – blogging, LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter. My job is to “establish relationships”…

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At MCM Capital Partners my primary responsibilities include direct sourcing of investment opportunities and managing intermediary relationships within the investment banking and buy-side intermediary community. As a result, I am thrust into the realm of networking: cocktail parties, dinners, golf, conferences, etc. Nowadays, it even entails online networking – blogging, LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter. My job is to “establish relationships” in the conversations I have at these events and/or within online groups, and that – in and of itself – counts close to nothing. By the end of the day I am left with a stack of business cards thick enough to choke a horse and have heard so many 30-second commercials I think it’s Super Bowl Sunday, although not nearly as entertaining. If the process ended here so would my career at MCM.

In today’s market, success lies in learning how to maximize the return on your networking investment. The key to your networking ROI could be in the composition of your database. As you are sitting at your desk reading this it is likely you have some form of CRM open at the moment. Take a few minutes and scroll through your database and ask yourself is it composed of contacts (aka business cards you have received at past events or accepted requests on LinkedIn) or is it full of relationships (people you communicate with on a regular basis)? Contacts are people you know in specific contexts; they are your connections to organizations. For example, ‘my contact at ABC Co is Tom Smith the VP of Sales’. You need to know Tom because he’s the VP of Sales, not because he’s Tom. Relationships are connections to people. If you have a good relationship with the VP at ABC Co, it’s because you have a good relationship with Tom, not the VP position.

As you click through the names, odds are the number of contacts significantly outweighs the number of relationships, which is understandable. Great relationships take time and you can’t be all things to all people. However, the gap between the number of contacts and relationships can certainly become smaller. Below is a quick guide to help change the composition of your database and earn a top return on your networking investment.

Prioritize Your Contacts

  • Develop a clear vision or definition of what these contacts mean or can do for you and your business (At MCM we use a rating system – A. Valuable contact. B. Professional contact. C. Develop further.).
  • Create a value based game plan to connect to your contact in order to establish a relationship. (i.e. offer information, advice, referrals, introductions, names of great books you’ve read, a kind word, articles of interest, etc.) I would suggest beginning only with the “A’s” in your database.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!

  • Meeting people is only the first step in networking. True business development comes from the relationships and trust you build through subsequent interactions.
  • After meeting someone new, always follow up with an email or phone call. Little actions like these reinforce your first meeting and help make a stronger impression.

Cultivate Relationships

  • In order for the business relationship to bear fruit, you need to make the effort to cultivate and grow the relationship.
  • Do what you say you are going to do. Offer value and do it when you do not want anything in return. With time and effort, you may be able to develop the relationship with your new contact, and turn the contact into a long-term partner or client.

Keep In Touch

  • No matter how well you know your partner or client, you should maintain regular contact with him or her to sustain and strengthen the relationship.
  • Short, regular meetings and phone calls are actually more effective than long but infrequent sessions.
  • By staying in touch regularly with your partners or clients, you are showing that they matter to you and ensure top of mind awareness.

Successful networking depends on the diversity and the quality of the relationships you create. Yet most of us don’t invest enough time building, nurturing and quantifying the key personal, functional, and strategic relationships we need to achieve success. Successful businesspeople understand networking and relationship building is more about “farming” than it is about “hunting.” It’s about building long-lasting connections with other professionals strongly rooted in a bond or connection developed over time. Take off the camouflage and put on your overalls, it’s time to start “cultivating” your database.

MCM Capital Partners is a Cleveland based MicroCap private equity fund investing in niche manufacturers, value added distributors and specialty service businesses. For more information on our private equity firm and investment principles, contact us today.

Source: https://www.mcmcapital.com/2018/08/leveraging-your-contact-database/

Private Equity

Alternative Investments: Accelerate’s Alt ETFs Now On RBC Dominion Securities A+ Platform

Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc announced this week that its alternative ETFs have been added to the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform. RBC Dominion Securities describes the A+ as the next level of wealth management.

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Alternative Investments: Accelerate’s Alt ETFs Now On RBC Dominion Securities A+ Platform

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The A+ is for you if “you require serious investment management for your serious money.”

Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc announced this week that its alternative ETFs have been added to the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform.

RBC Dominion Securities describes the A+ as the next level of wealth management.

For select clients with serious money, the platform provides greater convenience, customization, RBC’s Unified Managed Account technology, access to elite money managers worldwide, and tax efficiency.

Accelerate’s Alt ETFs on RBC A+

The range of alternative ETFs from Accelerate allows investors to diversify beyond stocks and bonds by including alternative asset classes in their portfolios.

The firm is known as a pioneer in institutional caliber alternative ETFs including hedge fund and private equity ETFs. It claims it is “disrupting the asset management industry by offering performance-oriented alternative investment strategies previously reserved for wealthy investors at a fee significantly lower than competitors.”

“We are pleased to be chosen by RBC Dominion Securities, a global leader in wealth management, as one of the select group of high-quality investment managers on the exclusive A+ platform for RBC Dominion Securities advisors and their clients,” said Accelerate CEO Julian Klymochko. “In an era of rock-bottom interest rates and record-high stock market volatility, we are pleased to provide investors with diversification, alternative yield, and alpha generation solutions through alternative investment strategies including absolute return, arbitrage, enhanced equity, and private equity replication.”

Selected ETFs

The alternative ETFs on the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform include:

  • Accelerate Absolute Return Hedge Fund (TSX: HDGE) – a diversified, liquid, and performance-oriented long-short equity hedge fund
  • Accelerate Arbitrage Fund (TSX: ARB) – provides exposure to SPAC arbitrage and merger arbitrage investment strategies
  • Accelerate Enhanced Canadian Benchmark Alternative Fund (TSX: ATSX) – combines exposure to the S&P/TSX 60 plus a long-short Canadian equity overlay
  • Accelerate Private Equity Alpha Fund (TSX: ALFA) – designed to provide investors with private equity-like investment returns

Related Story:  Liquid Alt ETF Provider Accelerate Offers Ready-Made Alternative Investment Strategy                                                

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/accelerates-alt-etfs-now-on-rbc-dominion-securities-a-platform/

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Private Equity

Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures). It uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

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Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

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Benson Hill uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

The company said other strategic and ESG focused investors also participated. These included Argonautic Ventures, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Emart, GS Group, Louis Dreyfus Company, iSelect Fund, Fall Line Capital, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, Prolog Ventures, S2G Ventures, and additional strategic and family office investors.  (FOOD navigator-USA.com)

Benson Hill technology

Benson Hill uses biotechnology, data science, and AI to enhance the nutritional qualities, flavor, and sustainability of crops and vegetables.

The firm’s “Cloud Biology” is the fusion of data, machine learning, and AI techniques with biology. Its “CropOS” is a proprietary platform that facilitates the accessibility and actionability of Cloud Biology.

The CropOs platform uses plant phenotyping, predictive breeding, and environmental modeling algorithms to better control the plant breeding process and realize these advantages:

  • Produces plants that are highly productive, highly nutritious, and better tasting
  • Better texture
  • Reduce the number of processing steps
  • Reduce the need for additives
  • Grow plants that “do more with less,” thus boosting sustainability

The company’s work so far has been concentrated around soybeans.

Its new, ultra-high-protein (UHP) soy products spiked the interest of investors. They come from a highly productive non-GMO soybean that is rich in oleic oil content.

Use of funds

Benson Hill plans the commercial launch of the first Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties in 2021, among other product launches.

It also plans to expand its team by adding top talent and continue the development of Cloud Biology and CropOS.

“As a society, we’re at a crossroads made more evident as the pandemic has revealed strengths and vulnerabilities in our food system,” said Matt Crisp, Benson Hill CEO. “Food choices that create enjoyment, make us stronger, and help preserve our environment need to be accessible to everyone, and the power of plant diversity and technology innovation can help fuel that evolution.

Related Story:   Smart Farm Technology To Take The Drudge Out of Plant Breeding

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/agtech-startup-benson-hill-lands-150m/

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Private Equity

FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock. The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) products.

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FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

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Alliance Data will pay in cash and stock for the acquisition.

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock.

The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including BNPL products. BNPL is a major trend now that consumers have embraced the interest-free, zero-fee facility to pay in installments. Alliance is a provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty, and payment solutions. (Alliance)

Digital BNPL is particularly popular with millennials and the younger set. They prefer not to run up credit card debt and like the speed and convenience. The technology and products acquired from Bread will address this segment of the population.

Bread already has tie-ups with merchants such as online jewelry seller Noémie, the luxury watch seller Hublot and Newton Baby, the crib mattress provider.

BNPL customer experience

“Bread’s flexible, easily-integrated payment solutions, coupled with Alliance Data’s Enhanced Digital Suite, will improve the digital customer experience and support increased acquisition and checkout rates, offering the best payment product to the right consumer at pivotal moments in the customer’s online shopping journey,” Alliance said in a statement.

Alliance intends to leverage Bread’s solutions along with its own existing private label, general-purpose and commercial products.

COVID-19

Its brand partners will therefore get another advantage in the eCommerce channel, with online businesses already getting a boost from COVID-19.

“With the timing of the holiday season upon us, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, and perhaps nowhere as significantly as in financial services and payments,” said Val Greer, chief commercial officer, Alliance Data.

BNPL is now crowded with cash-rich players

Payments giant PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) announced in August that it would begin offering BNPL services, recognizing that COVID-19 had triggered a dramatic increase in their popularity.

Other players in the BNPL field include Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, and Quadpay.

In a recent study, Tech Crunch found that PayPal had the highest retailer coverage with a presence of 65% retailers. Afterpay was a distant second at 10%, then Affirm 6%, Klarna 5%, and QuadPay 2%.

The study concluded that PayPal was primed to dominate the BNPL wars.

Related Story:   PayPal Challenges Klarna In U.K. BNPL Tussle                                                

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alliance-data-buys-bnpl-fintech-bread-for-450m/

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