Global private markets investment manager Partners Group is now evaluating pure technology investments as part of its strategies given that the global pandemic has thrown up a plethora of opportunities with enormous growth potential.
During DealStreetAsia’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2020, Cyrus Driver, managing director for Private Equity Asia at Partners Group, disclosed that the PE firm has done multiple tech investments in the past, including enterprise software and e-learning enablement businesses.
However, Partners Group has not made pure technology bets, which, he said, includes unprofitable consumer internet businesses with presumed explosive growth.
“As technology becomes a larger part of what we do, I think we may cross that bridge as well,” Driver said during the session “How the macro context of private investment has shifted“.
“I’m not sure whether consumer internet is the place we could take those bets to. There might be other parts of technology where we’ll take that bet, but we haven’t done it yet,” Driver added.
He added that Partners Group has increased the proportion of investments going into the broader technology space. It also increased technology focus resources both on the investment and the operating side, although he stressed that the firm has not done unprofitable tech investments.
“Our own internal thought process is evolving to the point that we think being on-trend has such disproportionate rewards these days and being off-trend has such disproportionate risks that we could look past the immediate profitability of business models,” Driver said.
The majority of the PE firm’s investments are in the business and financial services, consumer, energy infrastructure, healthcare, industrials, real estate, renewable power, and utilities sectors.
Its information technology portfolio includes Civica, a global IT-based services partner in digital solutions, software applications, and managed services; and Curvature, a systems maintenance firm.
In Southeast Asia, Partners Group acquired SPi Global, a technology and data science company in the Philippines that provides specialised business process outsourcing (BPO) services to research and education publishers, in 2017.
Partners Group clocked $10.8 billion net growth in its assets under management (AUM) in 2019. The total AUM amounted to $94 billion, the firm said in a statement.
The increase in AUM can be attributed to the new commitments worth $16.5 billion received by the firm last year. About half, or $45 billion, of the total corpus, comprised private equity. Another quarter, or $22 billion, was private debt; while 16 per cent of the funds amounting to $15 billion were private real estate. The remaining $12 billion was in private infrastructure.
In the year gone by, Partners Group invested half of the funds in North America. It invested another 30 per cent in Europe, while 17 per cent was deployed into the Asia Pacific region, as well as the rest of the world – primarily as direct investments.