Looking Back at 2022
Gordon Pan, President of Baird Capital
2022 was a big year for Baird Capital. Our Global Private Equity and Venture teams made progress on many fronts, despite the economic and market challenges. Our team has managed through multiple investment cycles together and these collective experiences helped to position us well in this challenging environment. Lessons learned from past cycles led us to be prudent in how we deployed capital over the past few years. I believe our decision to focus on economically resilient business models while applying conservative capital structures has served us well in the current environment.
It has been 10 years since I took over the leadership of Baird Capital and I am thrilled with what we have accomplished. Most importantly, we have built a strong, diverse, and highly motivated team that is ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities in front of us. Our goal for 2023 is to be active on our deployment and take advantage of the market dislocation. The best fund vintages tend to be deployed during periods of economic and market turmoil as founders and management teams look to raise capital. In this environment, the old adage comes to mind: “Don’t let a good crisis go to waste!”
I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite moments from 2022:
- During the year, our Global Fund Platform made two new investments and completed two exits
- We started 2022 with the acquisition of Subsea Technology & Rentals (STR). This was a thesis-driven investment by our UK team into the offshore wind market and backing a seasoned executive.
- In May, we completed another thesis driven investment in the resource efficiency space with an investment in UGSI, a leading provider of Water Quality Management Solutions and Chemical Feed Systems. The investment will enable the company to fuel continued growth due to the increasing prevalence of municipal water quality issues driven by climate change, increasing population density, aging infrastructure, and resource scarcity.
- In June, we sold portfolio company Crisp Thinking Group, a business helping corporations protect their brand/image online. Crisp’s revenue rose by 250% during our investment period, driven by global growth.
- We supported ecube in entering the North American market by opening its third global facility in Arizona; demonstrating the power of our global resources.
- The Venture team completed three new investments, 12 follow-on investments and three exits.
- In April, we led the Series C investment in Bozeman, Mont.-based Quiq, a leading business communications provider for leading commerce and care teams utilizing SMS/text and other messaging platforms.
- In October, we led the Series B funding of Reston, Va. based Tellius, a differentiated technology platform providing AI-driven decision intelligence and business analytics.
- In November, we led the Series C investment in Indianapolis, Ind. based Zylo, an enterprise leader in SaaS Spend Management and Optimization services.
- We completed a recapitalization of Onco Health, retaining a minority stake as a private equity firm purchased majority ownership.
- We recently announced three team promotions: Katie Schoen’s promotion to Principal and Director of Investor Relations; Becca Schlagenhauf’s promotion to Principal; and Jubril Ayanbunmi’s promotion to Investment Manager. This follows the mid-year promotions of Matt Gura on the Venture team and Andrew Szyman on the Global Private Equity team, each to Senior Associate.
- We added key talent to our platforms as Mark Donnelly joined Baird Capital as our newest Partner on the Venture team and Louise Kingston joined our Global Private Equity team as a Director of Portfolio Operations. We also added Melissa Kandinata and John Reim to our Venture team earlier in the year.
- In August we announced the opening of our new office in Singapore, completing Baird Capital’s migration from Shanghai. This was coupled with the addition of Anjan Krishna to our Asia-based Global Private Equity team.
- Joanna Arras was named one of the “39 Most Important VCs in the Midwest”.
On a more personal note, I was humbled to be named a Notable Executive of Color in Finance by Crain’s Chicago Business this summer. My work as Executive Sponsor of Prism, Baird’s associate resource group focused on multicultural diversity, has been one of my favorite roles held at the firm. I care deeply about mentoring young professionals and ensuring that everyone can be successful in our industry with hard work and perseverance.
2023 is going to be an interesting and challenging year full of opportunities. I’m confident that we have the right strategy and team to tackle what comes our way. Thank you for your ongoing support and faith in us and be rest assured that we come to the office every morning with our investor’s best interest in mind.