Think Gartner meets Angie’s List, and there lies BluWave. The idea for BluWave grew over a 20-year span, while Sean Mooney was working as a partner in a private equity firm and saw a void in the market as the industry became increasingly competitive. “When I started in the industry, we would buy low, do one or two things, and sell high. Now PE firms have to buy high and do 10 to 20 things to create enough value to sell higher.” Mooney founded BluWave to help private equity firms and their portfolio companies to more confidently and effectively utilize service providers for diligence and value creation.
“Private equity funds have no choice today but to leverage third parties as force multipliers. They no longer have the time or room to full-time hire their way out of problems,” he says. “However, at the same time it’s really hard to know who’s good and even harder to hold service providers accountable. That’s where we come in. We’re the expert of experts.” In the past, private equity firms may have tried to forego the expense of outside help, but today, the industry has matured, and virtually all PE firms are bringing in assistance.
BluWave helps connect private equity firms and their portfolio companies with everything from finding niche due-diligence experts and executives to value-creation initiatives, with the idea that being able to quickly pinpoint the right help will ultimately save companies time and money while producing better results. It then gathers objective data on outcomes from its more than 250 private equity fund clients to help hold service providers accountable for their results.
“The challenge is that the needs of private equity funds are so varied it’s hard for them to know all the resources before they need it,” Mooney says. “And as soon as a PE fund has a project, the requirements are different enough each time that really expensive PE professionals then have to start Googling and boil the ocean. Instead of doing these craft searches, PE deal and operations teams call us because we already know the best-fit resource for the job and free them to focus on more strategic priorities. Given our background, we intimately understand the unique standards of PE and help make things easier for them.”
Private equity firms such as Pritzker Group, Hidden Harbor Capital, Cressey & Company, Inverness Graham, Genstar, Pamlico and Blue Mountain Capital have used BluWave’s services.
“One of the biggest things that can bog down a sales process is when interested parties discover aspects of the business that are different than those represented in offering materials,” says Mooney. “To avoid this, it is well worth the time and money to do diligence on yourself. Hiring quality of earnings advisors, tax advisors, and even market sizing, competitive landscaping, and IT consultants to do pre-diligence will give you much more confidence going into a process that you won’t encounter a surprise that could impact time and value.”