Kelly Harris, Founder and CEO of CEO Discovery answers the top 10 most commonly asked questions by senior operating executives who want to work in private equity:
Q: What exactly is CEO Discovery?
A: CEO Discovery is a Professional Relationship Platform that connects CEO talent (“Executives”) who want to work in private equity with Financial Sponsors. Our online platform removes gatekeepers and allows direct communication between Executives and Financial Sponsors via a new app that is currently in development.
Q: Who qualifies as “CEO talent”?
A: Our platform is intended to be used by senior executives such as CEOs, COOs, presidents, division heads and other business leaders. Most Executives on our platform are interested in leadership positions at portfolio companies owned by Financial Sponsors, either in operating roles or board positions.
Some Financial Sponsors also hire Executives to work with them directly as operating partners. Operating partners work alongside the investment partners to find, diligence and manage their investments in portfolio companies.
Q: Should I apply now if I currently have a position?
A: Yes. If you want to work in private equity at some point in your career, you should join CEO Discovery now. Financial Sponsors like to get to know Executives over time, before hiring them for a specific role. Our platform enables you to find and meet relevant Sponsors while you still have a job. In fact, about 75% of our approved Executives are in a current role.
Importantly, no one (including your current employer) will be able to see your profile without your explicit approval (which you will provide once the app goes live).
Q: Why should I sign up before the app goes live?
A: The CEO Discovery app will go live in Spring 2022. Before then, we are working hard to build our “two-sided marketplace” of Executives and Financial Sponsors. We need your help in building this marketplace by applying now and spreading the word about this unique business model.
We already have 20+ Financial Sponsors signed up and continue to add more. Early adopters on the platform include such world-class investment firms such as The Carlyle Group, American Securities and Investcorp.
Similarly, we are onboarding Executives on a daily basis and targeting to have 1,000 Executives approved by our launch date. By completing an application and obtaining pre-approval, you are positioning yourself for opportunities with Financial Sponsors as soon as we go live.
Once approved, we will notify you when the app goes live. At that time, you will be able to review and update your profile. Your profile will not go live until you press the “Go Live” button.
Q: What type of Executives are signing up?
A: Our current Executives have typically held senior roles and are very knowledgeable about private equity. Of the Executives already approved:
• 80% have been CEO at least once
• 90% have worked in private equity previously
• 75% are currently employed
We also endeavor to “mint new CEOs” and are actively looking for Executives who have held senior leadership roles, but may not have been CEO yet. Having worked previously in private equity is NOT a requirement to join.
Q: Privacy is important to me. Who can see my information?
A: No one can see your information before the app goes live.
Once the app goes live, you will be notified to update your profile and to stipulate who can and who cannot see your profile. No one will see your profile until you press the “Go Live” button on the app.
Q: How will I know when the app goes live?
A: If you have already applied and been approved, we will send you an email notifying you that our app is live. We are currently targeting Q2 2022 for our launch.
Q: Is there a cost to join the platform now?
A: There is currently no fee for Executives to apply or to be a member. Financial Sponsors will be charged a subscription fee.
Q: How can I update my profile?
A: Once you complete your application and it has been approved, we will hold your profile information in confidence. Once the app is launched, you will be able to update your profile at any time by logging into your account. If you have questions about your profile before the launch, you can email us at email@example.com.
Q: How does CEO Discovery compare to LinkedIn?
A: CEO Discovery is a Professional Relationship Platform that is like a highly curated version of LinkedIn solely for CEO talent and Financial Sponsors. Like LinkedIn, you can create and maintain a profile while you are currently employed in order to avail yourself to opportunities in private equity.