Who could have predicted the last year? In 2022 we saw a lettuce race against a prime minister (and win), the nation singing God Save the King for the first time in over 70 years, and the CEO of Twitter arguing with Stephen King about how much he should charge for a blue tick.
Despite the strange times we live in, we have asked the ECI team for their predictions for the new year, and what they are personally looking forward to in 2023:
Tom Wrenn, Managing Partner
“I think after a year of great change in 2022, I’m optimistic that 2023 will bring a bit of governmental and economic stability. The UK is home to a wealth of entrepreneurs and business leaders, and making sure individuals have a stable foundation from which to grow their businesses is an imperative. From ECI’s perspective, we’ve had a fantastic run of successful sales in 2022, so I’m hugely excited to focus on deploying capital in quality growth businesses and to help our management teams achieve their ambitions in 2023. We have an experienced team and leading technology with Amplifind™ to help us to do this, but a buoyant deal market in 2023 wouldn’t go amiss!”
What are you personally most excited about in 2023: A full opening up of travel post-Covid so we can enjoy the real wide world as opposed to living on the world wide web.
Suzanne Pike, Origination Partner
“There are three trends that I think will drive strong growth next year in certain subsectors, and that’s People, Governance and Data. On People, I think that having a strong people strategy and positive workplace culture will continue to be hugely important when investors are assessing businesses. The combination of a war for talent, high inflation, and cost-of-living increases, means now is when we’ll see businesses that have invested in their people and culture really thrive. That will also continue to drive strong demand for adjacent services and tech, such as learning management systems, HCM providers, and businesses that can train and deploy candidates to tackle the talent shortage. Governance, risk, and compliance are also growing in importance given increased cyber threats from the war in Ukraine, the ongoing climate crisis, and public sentiment as well as regulatory changes driving more focus on ESG. I would expect to see a step change in the support businesses will need around cyber and compliance going forward in 2023. Lastly, I’d expect to see businesses that have been on a journey with their data to really make strides forward next year, looking to sophisticated data service providers, data analysis and Ai-as-a-service tools to drive value from the wealth of data they’ve collected.”
What are you personally most excited about in 2023: Baby number three joining the Pike family in spring 2023!
Jeremy Lytle, Investor Relations Partner
“My expectation for 2023 is that it is likely to continue to be a tough fundraising market for GPs. Private equity will continue to be impacted by the denominator effect, whereby a decline in the value of public markets means that existing PE holdings now represent a larger share of total portfolios . It also means the DPI metric, which became increasingly relevant in 2022, will become even more of a focus for LPs. A knock-on effect of that will be to ensure GPs don’t come back to the market too early. LPs will look to prioritise funds that can demonstrate a long track record of performance and distinctive value-add. I am excited for a busy 2023 at ECI and look forward to starting the investment period of our new fund, ECI 12.”
What are you personally most excited about in 2023: Visiting Vienna next Summer. It has long been on my list and Vienna has recently made a comeback as the world’s most liveable city, according to an annual report from the Economist.
Mark Keeley, Chair of ESG Committee
“Progress around ESG has significantly moved forwards in our industry in 2022, but in 2023 I predict that will really start to translate to tangible progress backed up with data. There is now a much greater focus on data from LPs which will drive this, but also many initiatives which have been put in place over recent years will start to bear fruit. ESG will become a core part of an investment strategy for the businesses we back, and GPs will need to be able to demonstrate their commitment to long-term, scalable, and sustainable growth to be able to thrive. At ECI we see this as a fantastic opportunity, and we are excited to continue to support our management teams make progress across key ESG initiatives.
What are you personally most excited about in 2023: Having started our B-Corp accreditation in 2022, we’re looking forwards to progressing and hopefully becoming B-Corp certified next year!
Lewis Bantin, Commercial Team Partner
“I predict that leadership teams will be looking for more support around two key areas in 2023, analytics and people. The application of AI and Advanced Analytics will be key, especially to improve the effectiveness of sales teams and lead conversion more generally. Tying together sales performance and data is an area we have a lot of experience helping management teams with – CPOMS was a great example of that. Given expectations of a more challenging sales environment in 2023, getting your data to do as much of the heavy lifting as possible for you will be key. On People, retaining and motivating people in a world which is a bit less frothy will be important to support scalable growth, while looking to retain a high-performance edge. I’m looking forwards to working with our newly appointed Growth Specialist for People & Culture, Lesley Davies, to help management teams tackle this challenge and use fantastic employee propositions and talent as a key differentiator in 2023.”
What are you personally most excited about in 2023: Ireland hopefully making it out of a rugby World Cup Quarter Final for the first time ever next year!