In private equity, compensation lags for women in senior positions

June 16, 2021, 2:24 PM UTC

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In general, 2020 proved to be a good year for private equity dealmakers.

Even as deal value and volume slipped slightly compared to the year prior, 57% of respondents to Heidrick & Struggles 2021 North America Private Equity Investment Professional Compensation Survey saw an increase in their base pay, while 67% said their bonus also increased.

But for some, the increases were not yet enough to level the playing field. While the study, released Wednesday, found that pay was roughly the same when accounting for gender and race in more junior positions, the trend broke down when it came to senior leadership. 

Men in managing partner, partner, and managing director positions made an average of about $1.4 million. Women made about $845,000 in those same roles—about 40% less.

“Our feeling is that this is more of a reflection of the fact that there are relatively few females at senior levels at private equity firms. That pulls the average down,” the report’s authors stated.

In short, compensation for women in more junior positions seems to be headed in the right direction (though the industry is still very male-dominated, with a Preqin report showing that women made up 32% of those roles). The challenge now is getting women higher up in the business.

Another interesting point to note in the survey: At three of the five levels of seniority, those without an MBA appeared to out-earn their peers who had a business degree. Those without an MBA earned slightly less in the realms of associate/senior associate ($254,000 with an MBA vs. $247,000 without) and principal ($646,000 with an MBA vs. $624,000 without). But vice presidents, partners/managing directors, and managing partners all fared better when they skipped the hallowed halls of such a master’s program.

While the difference for vice presidents ($393,000 with an MBA vs. $420,000 without), as with the associates and principals, is minor in percentage terms, it grows at the two more senior levels of partner/managing director ($1.1 million with an MBA vs. nearly $1.3 million without), and managing partner (nearly $2.2 million with vs $2.6 million without).

WHAT WILL PLAID BE? That’s the big question surrounding the fintech startup whose agreement to be acquired by Visa in 2020 for $5.3 billion was scuttled, in part, by a Department of Justice lawsuit. The lawsuit, as it so happens, became a blessing in disguise: The company’s valuation more than doubled, to $13.4 billion, after the deal broke down.

The DoJ had laid out what may well have been the most bullish case for Plaid—that it could one day go directly up against giants like Visa. But the company itself has denied plans to build a massive payments network of its own. To quote my colleague Rey Mashayekhi’s  story on the company

Outside observers harbor their own doubts over whether the startup would have the ability or desire to establish such a platform, given the extensive back-end capabilities required. “At the end of the day, Plaid doesn’t have any connectivity to merchants,’ notes Bank of America analyst, Jason Kupferberg.

Instead, and somewhat ironically given its early history of angering incumbent banks, the company says its focus for now remains on helping consumers as they use a proliferation of financial services. Read more

SORRY, REDDIT! Yesterday I wrote about how few social media unicorns there have been despite a surge in investor interest, noting that Clubhouse and Nextdoor were the only U.S.-based social media company to become unicorns since Snap in 2014, based on Pitchbook data. Unfortunately I missed Reddit! That company became a unicorn in 2017. Thank you to the reader who pointed that out.

Lucinda Shen


- BrowserStack, a Dublin- and San Francisco-based software testing platform maker, raised $200 million in Series B funding at a $4 billion valuation. BOND led the round and was joined by investors including Insight Partners and Accel.

- Iterable, a San Francisco-based platform for customer experiences, raised $200 million in Series E funding, valuing it at $2 billion. Investors include Silver Lake, Adams Street, Glynn Capital, and Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners.

- Addepar, a Mountain View, Calif.-based wealth management platform, raised $150 million from D1 Capital Partners, valuing it at about $2.2 billion.

- Uberall, a Berlin-based company with a location-based marketing solution, raised $115 million. Investors include Bregal Milestone, Level Equity, and United Internet.

- Bringg, a Chicago-based delivery and fulfillment platform provider, raised $100 million in Series E funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Cambridge Capital, GLP, Harlap, Next 47, Pereg Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and Viola Growth.

- Introhive, a Canada-based revenue analysis platform, raised $100 million in Series C funding. PSG led the round and was joined by investors including Bank of America Securities, The Business Development Bank of Canada, Aegis Group Partners, Evergreen Coast Capital, and Mavan Capital Partners

- Fractyl Health, a Lexington, Mass.-based life sciences focused on metabolic diseases, raised $100 million in Series F funding. Maverick Capital, M28 Capital, and Population Health Partners led the round.

- Mnemo Therapeutics, a Paris-based biotech focused on T-cells, raised €75 million ($90 million) in Series A funding. Investors included Casdin Capital, Sofinnova Partners, Redmile, Emerson Collective, and Alexandria Venture Investments

- Apna, an India-based professional networking and jobs platform, raised $70 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners and Tiger Global led the round and were joined by investors including Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, Greenoaks Capital, and Rocketship VC.

- Templafy, a New York City-based platform for businesses to create content, raised $60 million.  Blue Cloud Ventures with participation from all previous investors such as Insight Partners, Seed Capital, Dawn Capital, and Damgaard Company.

- Duda, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based platform to build websites for businesses, raised $50 million in Series D funding. Claridge IL led the round and was joined by investors including Susquehanna Growth Equity and Vintage Investment Partners.

- Novo, a New York City-based small business banking platform, raised $40.7 million in Series A funding. Valar Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Crosslink Capital, Rainfall Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, and BoxGroup.

- Lingokids, a Wilmington, Del.-based early learning platform, raised $40 million in Series C funding. Investors included GP Bullhound, HV Capital, and Ravensburger.

- nate, a New York-based shopping app, raised $38 million in Series A funding. Renegade Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Forerunner Ventures, Canaan Partners and Coatue Management.

- Stork Club, a San Francisco-based family benefits company, raised $30 million in Series A funding. General Catalyst led the round and was joined by investors including Bowery Capital and Slow Ventures.

- Dusty Robotics, a San Francisco Bay area-based construction robotics company,  raised $16.5 million in Series A funding. Canaan Partners led the round and was joined by investors including NextGen Venture Partners, Baseline Ventures, Root Ventures, and Cantos Ventures.

- Arrived Homes, a Seattle-based real estate investing platform, raised $10 million in seed funding. Core Innovation Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Bezos

Expeditions, Good Friends, Time Ventures, Spencer Rascoff (former CEO of Zillow), and Dara Khosrowshahi (CEO of Uber).

- Wristcam, a San Mateo, Calif.-based maker of a camera system for the Apple Watch, raised $25 million in funding. Marker led the round.

- BookClub, Salt Lake City-based author-led virtual book club platform, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Signal Peak Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including GSV Ventures, Maveron, Backstage Capital, and Pelion Venture Partners.

- Sense, a San Francisco-based recruiting platform, raised $16 million in Series C funding. Avataar Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Accel and GV.

- Sempre Health, a San Francisco-based maker of a behavior-based healthcare pricing system, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Blue Venture Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Sandbox, UPMC Enterprises, Rethink Impact, LifeForce Capital, and Industry Ventures.

- Scythe Robotics, a Boulder-based autonomous robotic company, raised $13.8 million in Series A funding. Inspired Capital led the round and was joined by investors including True Ventures, Zigg Capital, and Lemnos.

- Jingling, a Chinese startup making tablets and laptops, raised $10 million, per TechCrunch. Sinovation Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Trustbridge Partners.

- Ochre Bio, a U.K.-based developer of RNA medicines for chronic liver diseases, raised $9.6 million in seed funding. Khosla Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Backed VC, Apollo Health Ventures, Selvedge, Hoxton, and Hermes-Epitek. 

- Kindra, a Los Angeles-based modern wellness brand for menopause essentials, raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Investors included Female Founders Fund. Primetime Partners, Anne and Susan Wojcicki, Katie Couric Media, The Community Fund, and H Ventures.

- Yellowpop, a New York-based maker of neon signs, raised $4 million. Investors included Eutopia.

- PsyTech, a Canadian psychedelics awareness company, raied $3.8 million in Series A funding. Ambria Capital led the round.

- Waeve, a Somerville, Mass-based maker of ready-to-wear wigs, raised $2 million. Pillar VC led the round and was joined by investors including Maveron, Henry Davis (former COO of Glossier), Bryan Mahoney (former CTO of Glossier), Ali Weiss (Chief Marketing Officer of Glossier), TJ Parker (Co-founder & CEO of PillPack), and Elliot Cohen (Co-founder of PillPack)


- Advent International invested $400 million in EBANX, a Latin American payments company. 

- Platinum Equity agreed to acquire McGraw Hill, the textbook company, from Apollo Global Management in a deal valued at $4.5 billion. 

- 3D Corporate Solutions, backed by Olympus Partners, acquired All American Pet Proteins, Colorado-based specialty protein manufacturer. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- JMI Equity invested in Greenlight Guru, an Indianapolis-based software maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Redwood Services, backed by Union Main Group, agreed to invest in John C. Flood of Virginia, an offerer of plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical services to homeowners in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- asTech, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, acquired Mobile Tech RX, an Austin-based auto repair app maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Apax Funds agreed to acquire CyberGrants, an Andover, Mass.-based provider of corporate social responsibility software, from Waud Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Hopin acquired Boomset, a New York City-based maker of an event management platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm, launched Future, the firm’s media site. 


- Bright Health Group, a Minneapolis-based health insurtech, plans to raise as much as $1.4 billion in a raise of 60 million shares priced at $20 to $23 apiece. NEA and Bessemer Venture Partners back the firm.

- Full Truck Alliance, a New York-based freight platform, plans to raise $1.6 billion in an IPO of 82.5 million ADSs priced between $17 and $19 apiece. SoftBank and Sequoia back the firm.

- Doximity, a San Francisco-based maker of telehealth and scheduling tools, now plans to raise as much as $536 million in an offering of 23.3 million shares (18% insider) priced between $20 and $23 apiece. Investors include Emergence Capital Partners and InterWest Partners.


- Solid Power, a Louisville, Colo.-based maker of electric-vehicle batteries, will go public via merger with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III, a SPAC. A deal will value the business at about $1.2 billion. Ford and BMW back Solid Power.


- 8VC, an Austin-based venture fund, plans to raise $640 million for a fourth fund and $880 million for its second opportunity fund.

- 20VC, a London-based investment firm run by Harry Stebbings, raised $140 million with $33 million for an early-stage vehicle and $107 million for growth-stage investments.

- Fox Corp., the New York City-based organization behind Fox News, launched a fund with $100 million focused on nonfungible tokens, per Bloomberg.


- QED Investors, an Alexandria, Va.-based venture capital firm, named Chuckie Reddy as a partner focused on growth-stage investments. He is joining from J.P. Morgan, where he was managing director and head of the asset-backed securities special opportunities business and head of Global Max Recovery. 

- Ben Narasin, formerly of NEA, launched Tenacity Venture Capital, a Atherton, Calif.-based pre-seed and seed-stage investor.

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