Bespoke Partners Receives Strategic Investment from AEA Growth

AEA Growth is the latest entrant into the executive search professional services segment. They join a growing number of private equity firms pairing up with executive recruiters who see high growth rates, new layers of incremental revenue streams, and data-driven talent intelligence tools that are creating a perfect storm for investors. Hunt Scanlon Ventures takes you inside our latest deal.

July 22, 2022 – Bespoke Partners, a leading provider of executive search and leadership advisory services for enterprise software companies, has received a strategic investment from AEA Growth. “We are excited to collaborate with the team at AEA Growth to enhance our services and deliver even greater value to our clients,” said Bespoke founder Kristie Nova. “The investment team brings deep expertise in technology-enabled professional services and retained search that will help us continue to grow and scale while continuing to deliver unparalleled client satisfaction.”

“Bespoke Partners is a best-in-class retained executive search firm due to its high-performance team culture and committed focus on the enterprise software market for over a decade,” said Ravi Sarin, co-head and partner of AEA Growth. “We see tremendous growth potential for Bespoke as it scales its team and further leverages technology to drive high quality placements and human capital advisory services for its clients.”

Eric Walczykowski has assumed the CEO role after serving as president of Bespoke Partners over the last 18 months. During his tenure as president, he formalized the firm’s executive leadership, senior leadership and partner teams who have taken on significant management responsibilities.

Among them: In January, the firm appointed Prakash Patel as chief financial officer. Mr. Patel’s background includes an extensive track record in driving strategic initiatives and growth for a wide range of organizations. In April, the firm named Julie Catalano as its first-ever chief people officer. Her mandate has been to help scale out a world-class team at Bespoke, deepen the firm’s high-performance culture and do so in a way that creates an inclusive, driven, and highly collaborative work environment. Her background includes expertise in organizational design and change management, succession and workforce planning, DEI&B, and M&A integration.

Related: Executive Search Firms Shatter Growth Records

“I could not be more excited about Eric’s appointment as CEO, as well as this tremendous milestone which is a direct reflection of the world-class team of search, leadership advisory, operations and support professionals at Bespoke Partners,” said Ms. Nova. “I can truly say that I am better by virtue of this team, and we are thrilled to be partnering with AEA Growth. The fund’s culture and philosophy align to our values, and we have a shared view that being the best at people will allow us to achieve any goal we set forth for the company.”

Bespoke Partners Launches 3 Dedicated Executive Search Practices
Bespoke Partners has launched three new dedicated executive search practices to accelerate recruiting high-impact leaders for private equity-backed software companies. The new practices provide in-depth, role-specific focus on sales and marketing leaders, technology leaders, and human resources leaders. Bespoke Partners said this approach enables the firm to rapidly find and recruit leaders with the greatest potential to execute on portfolio company value creation plans to achieve an investment thesis.

The new practices join several existing role-focused recruiting teams in Bespoke. The teams include:

 “The talent market is tight, especially for seasoned leaders with successful private equity track records,” said Bespoke president Eric Walczykowski. “At the same time, it has never been more critical to quickly find leaders who can immediately start to execute on value creation plans. Our alignment of search and advisory teams around functional roles delivers faster results with more thorough assessment and unmatched access to the best candidates.”

Ms. Nova will remain founding partner of Bespoke Partners. In this position, she will continue to develop key relationships with the firm’s growing client base as well as mentor the Bespoke team.

“This is a very exciting moment for Bespoke,” said Mr. Walczykowski. “I am looking forward to working closely with our outstanding team and to partnering with AEA as we head into the next chapter for Bespoke Partners.”

BrightTower, a New York-based investment bank, served as exclusive advisor to Bespoke Partners. Hunt Scanlon Ventures, a Connecticut-based executive search advisory firm, facilitated the introduction and served as an advisor to AEA Growth.

Related: How Behavioral Assessments Can Accelerate Leadership Transformation

The strategic investment caps a period of unprecedented growth and service expansion for Bespoke, which is a leading firm focused solely on executive search and leadership advisory for private equity backed software companies. After celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, Bespoke has grown to nearly 100 employees and recently placed its 800th executive.

More than 90 percent of the most active private equity software investors in the U.S. have relied on Bespoke for leadership recruiting and advisory, according to the firm. The firm transformed leadership at portfolio companies achieving buyout transactions totaling more than $25 billion in 2021 alone. Its unique, data-driven services complete searches in typically half the industry average time with a 99 percent placement success rate.

Bespoke has offices in San Diego, Austin and Philadelphia and provides human capital services spanning the deal cycle from due diligence to leadership build-out to exit readiness.

Related: Bespoke Partners Opens East Coast Office

AEA Growth provides technology-enabled, healthcare and software companies with flexible capital and operational resources to accelerate growth. The firm targets investments in category leading, capital efficient businesses with strong customer advocacy.

AEA Growth is part of AEA Investors LP. AEA Investors was founded in 1968 by the Rockefeller, Mellon and Harriman family interests and S.G. Warburg & Co. as a private investment vehicle for a select group of industrial family offices with substantial assets. The firm enjoys a global network which includes leading industrial families, business executives and leaders – many of whom invest with AEA as active individual investors and/or join its portfolio company boards or act in other advisory roles.

Today, AEA’s approximately 100 investment professionals operate globally with offices in New York, Stamford, San Francisco, London, Munich, and Shanghai. The firm manages funds that have approximately $17 billion of invested and committed capital including the leveraged buyouts of middle market companies and small business companies, growth capital and mezzanine and senior debt investments.

Related: Bespoke Partners Recruits Operating Partner for Thoma Bravo

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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