Private Equity / Venture Capital

This sector covers all venture capital and private equity jobs, with opportunities for roles ranging from analysts and associates to directors.

Private equity funds are funds that invest in the equity (i.e. shares) of companies that are not listed on stock exchanges. There are two broad categories for private equity recruitment: venture capital funds and buyout funds. Venture capital funds typically invest in one of three industry sectors: IT, telecommunications and life sciences. Unlike buyout funds, which usually invest in a company only once, venture capitalist funds will typically participate in different rounds of financing. For example, ‘seed investors’ invest at the start of a company’s life, whereas ‘late stage’ investors invest shortly before a company floats on the stock market.

While venture capital investors typically focus on young companies or start-ups, buyout funds almost always put their money into established business. They also use debt to finance some of the transaction, invest more money than venture capitalists, and usually have control of the company they’re investing in – whereas a venture capitalist will only own a part share.

There are several types of buyout transaction. These include:

MBOs – Management Buyouts. This is when the team of executives who are already managing a particular company decide to buy it from the current owners.

MBIs – Management buy-ins. This is when a team of managers from another company buys a rival from the same sector.

LBO – Leveraged buyouts. All buyouts are leveraged (i.e. they involve debt). Leveraged buyouts are simply distinguished by the fact that they are initiated by buyout firms themselves – or by companies who are trying to sell a division – rather than by teams of managers.

Buyout funds typically use a company’s assets as collateral for loans to finance the deal. This means that companies that already have high levels of debt are usually unattractive to private equity investors and won’t usually be buyout targets.

Once a buyout fund has acquired a company, it may then borrow additional large sums secured against the company’s assets and use some of that money to pay itself a dividend before it sells the company to a trade buyer or floats it on a stock exchange.

Private equity and venture capital jobs and careers fall into several categories, including analysts at the junior end, who build financial models and crunch numbers to help establish whether an investment is viable; principals who play a key role in appraising whether to do a deal and managing the process if it goes ahead, and partners who lead the fund, seek new investments and liaise with investors. Funds also employ investor relations and operations professionals.