Q&A with Jaime Hildreth
Managing Director, Head of PE & LP Market Strategy at Ipreo.
Family Office Insights sits down with Jaime Hildreth, Managing Director and Head of PE and LP Market Strategy, to discuss Ipreo–the private-equity held by Blackstone and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division–and its unique, cross-asset class solutions to equip clients with the information and tools needed for more effective decision-making and efficient workflow.
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Tell us about your background and Ipreo.
I began my career with General Electric’s Financial Management Program and Corporate Audit Staff. While working at one of GE Capital’s subsidiaries, the division was privatized and sold to Blackstone Private Equity; this became my entrée into the inner workings of the private capital markets. During that time, I received my M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, and with the connections I made there, I was given an exciting opportunity to officially join The Blackstone Group to build out a team for portfolio monitoring, valuation procedures, policies, templates, and reporting practices.
Blackstone decided it needed a separate investment arm to further develop the software, which is how iLEVEL was launched. The iLEVEL platform streamlines and consolidates data in the cloud, making it easier to access, update, analyze, verify, and share data with management and investors.
It was incredibly rewarding to play a role in iLEVEL's launch, and to bring it to life as a mission-critical technology at Blackstone. After several years as Head of Portfolio Monitoring and Valuations for the Private Equity and Tactical Opportunity funds, I had the desire to build something new again. Laurence Tosi, the CFO of Blackstone at the time, understood my goals and recommended I join the amazing team at Ipreo, a global leader in providing market intelligence, data, and technology solutions to participants across the global markets, including private capital market firms, sell-side banks, publicly traded companies, and buy-side institutions.
Interestingly, Blackstone acquired Ipreo, and then Ipreo purchased iLEVEL, so this transition felt like the right fit for me, as I knew the product and services inside and out.
Since joining, I have played a key role in the launch of two significant offerings including iVAL, which integrates with iLEVEL and produces audit-ready valuations, and iLEVEL for LPs, a full suite of reporting and analytical tools along with managed data service capabilities.
Why is Family Office an ideal client for Ipreo?
We hear time and time again that Family Offices need to focus on sourcing new deals while still actively managing their growing private portfolio. For a large-scale GP or LP to track everything that goes on in a portfolio company is overwhelming enough, but for Family Offices with more limited resources, it's even more challenging.
Private capital market investments are significantly more challenging to manage due to the illiquid nature of the asset class. Investment information is scarce, non-standard, inconsistent, and often of poor quality. Even after normalizing and centralizing all this disparate information, relative value, benchmarking and portfolio optimization capabilities remain limited.
Ipreo removes the administrative burden of acquiring the underlying data and centralizes this information in a single source of truth. Through managed data services and supporting technologies, Ipreo streamlines data collection and reporting processes while also enabling greater visibility and advanced analytics. For Family Offices with diverse investment portfolios, such as multi-asset classes and direct and indirect investments, the benefits are significant.
In June 2017, we launched an independent joint venture that enhances the flow of data even further. Private Market Connect integrates iLEVEL technology and Hamilton Lane’s premier LP data services to address the data challenges that GPs and LPs face. On the GP side, we have over 300 firms using our software and services to manage their direct investments, and on the LP side, we have over 5,200 funds in our database. The scale of our network and the level of connectivity it establishes between GPs and LPs provides immediate value to Family Offices.
What are some challenges you face in your industry and who are your competitors? How is Ipreo different from others in this space?
We don't face as much competition as some other financial verticals, so our challenges focus mostly on finding solutions to some of the persistent issues our community faces.
In the GP space, our chief competitor is Preqin (aka Baxon), a portfolio monitoring and data company primarily serving clients in Europe and Asia. However, their client base is mainly PE-focused, whereas Ipreo serves all asset classes and investor types.
eFront is another competitor, but they focus on accounting, while Ipreo offers integrated solutions that support a wider range of activities, including portfolio monitoring, analytics, reporting and valuations.
Because our solutions support all asset classes, we have been able to build a valuable network of private capital market participants, which includes seven of the top 10 private equity firms, five of the top 10 venture capital firms, over 450 GP and LP clients worldwide, and relationships with over 1,200 GPs. This network enables us to address one of our industry's key challenges—the lack of connection and data sharing between market participants.
How is Ipreo changing the landscape of your industry?
Ipreo is facilitating the flow of information by connecting the private capital ecosystem through our data, software and analytics. When private companies can submit information to their investors (typically GPs) and fund investors can directly submit information to their investors (typically LPs or Fund of Funds), it's game changing.
On the valuation front, we are changing the way private valuations are performed and shared with auditors, advisors and investors. Soon, Excel-based valuations will no longer be the norm. GPs will come to accept the reality that Excel alone is not enough, because it’s not scalable, and it’s certainly not error-proof.
What is your mission?
For me, being in this strategic role at Ipreo, it’s all about finishing the story we started and turning this vision into a reality in the marketplace. In addition to connecting the ecosystem, it’s my mission to provide our clients with even more value-added tools and analytics so they can make better investment decisions.
With private companies staying private longer and the lines between GPs and LPs continuing to blur, Family Offices are well positioned to continue to increase their significance in private capital markets. Our goal in 2018 is to expand our solutions and data into the Family Office space.
What’s next for you?
I joined Ipreo because I wanted to have a bigger impact on the private capital markets industry. Two years in, I’m realizing that these types of industry changes do not happen overnight, and need to be nurtured. Once the machine is truly humming, it’ll be time to seek my next challenge!
As Managing Director, Head of PE and LP Market Strategy, Jaime is responsible for driving new product initiatives targeted to the PE and LP markets. Jaime brings extensive subject matter expertise on the PE and LP markets, representing those who will be affected by the results of our product development and services efforts– our existing and prospective clients – because she was one.
Jaime joins us from Blackstone, where she was a Senior Vice President, overseeing Valuations and LP reporting for Blackstone’s Private Equity and Tactical Opportunity Program. Over the course of her seven year tenure with Blackstone, Jaime developed and implemented the group’s valuation procedures, policies, templates and reporting practices. Jaime was also instrumental in advancing Blackstone’s comprehensive LP reporting capabilities and analytics, powered by iLEVEL.
Before joining Blackstone, Jaime worked in various finance roles at General Electric, where she participated in its Corporate Audit Staff and Financial Management Programs.
Jaime received a B.S., summa cum laude, from Fairfield University and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
For more information, please reach out to Jaime at: Jaime.Hildreth@ipreo.com.