Why have GPs, LPs and companies rented IR, due diligence, finance and marketing resources from AccelNorth Partners?

AccelNorth Partners
9 min readNov 29, 2023


Nayantara Sreeram and Kashish Makkar. 29 November 2023.

NS — Taz, it’s a pleasure to be interviewing you, and thank you for taking the time. The first question is — why did you decide to build AccelNorth Partners as a platform which rents out Investor Relations (IR/marketing) and Due Diligence (DD) staff and data?

TK — On the IR/marketing front, the answer is twofold:

§ Firstly, IR/marketing resources are not needed equally across the fundraising life-cycle. In the months leading up to fundraise and during the fundraise period itself, there is an increased need for:

o intellectual capacity — in order to provide an outside-in view on product development, strategic positioning, any evolutions required to the business model or the marketing, etc., and

o purely the number of resources required to build top-class marketing materials and deal with investor queries, help build AGM and LPAC materials, etc., to take pressure off the internal IR and deals teams at GPs, and executive teams at companies.

§ Historically GPs were left with two choices:

o either make full-time hires — for large GPs usually expensive (especially by the time you include base, bonus, carry, national insurance, pension, healthcare, Christmas parties, etc.), while for smaller GPs usually by compromising on plug-and-play IR quality, or

o use placement agents, who traditionally have been brokers doing LP outreach, but have generally not been good at product development, strategic evolutions, positioning, marketing, and project management.

We have created a third, and significantly cheaper model, which is to ‘rent’ strategic and project management resource from us, and supplementing this resource with data, e.g. mapping which LPs might invest into the funds of GPs we work with. In essence, we provide a much more integrated solution vs what was broadly available in the market before we began our business.

On the due diligence side, the gap in the market that we saw was particularly for mid-sized family offices, who were essentially too small to get proper time and attention from the established gatekeepers and fund-of-funds to build them a separate account under the family office’s own branding, and supplementing and training the family office’s in-house team. At the size range we operate, we typically saw the large fund-of-funds asking family offices to join their FoFs, which works for some, but not all family offices, and also comes with notable associated fee/carry drags.

*Includes all the mandates i.e. IR/DD resource and/or data mandates.

KM — You touched upon this already to an extent, but are we saying that GPs and companies should use our IR resource, rather than hiring in-house? Likewise should smaller LPs use our resource rather than building their own teams in-house?

TK — No, I am not saying that. In both of those cases, the clients we have worked with so far have had in-house resource to an extent, and have used our resources to supplement theirs. On the IR side, we have worked with GPs who have had anything between Managing Partners doing their own IR and us supplementing them, to cases where there are 1–2 in-house IR resources and we have supplemented them pre- and during fundraise, to GPs with larger IR teams, where we have come in to help on specific projects, such as product development, as the GPs have continued to grow.

Likewise, on the family office side. It’s usual for family offices to have some level of in-house investment resource. We provide an extra professional view on aspects ranging from strategy development, asset allocation, cash flow modelling to sourcing and due diligence. The ultimate investment decision-making always lies with the insiders — which is the beauty of our model.

KM — That’s clear. For our GP clients, do they typically have to choose between us and a placement agent?

TK — Of the 25 GPs that we have had, only on two occasions, did the GPs run soft or hard processes against placement agents, to the best of our knowledge. We won both those — once against 8 placement agents and once against 12.

The reason for that is the kinds of clients we work with on the GP side. Our clientele broadly splits into two:

§ GPs who are top quartile, top decile and/or for other reasons have a very strong and loyal LP base, or have a number of great LPs tracking them — those GPs typically need project management support, along with a sparring partner for all the strategic and tactical decisions — this is where we excel, and it’s not what placement agents are set up to do — they make their big bucks from LP introductions.

§ GPs with complexity. Placement agents who have developed a strong brand because of their successes work with the funds who are easiest to place — for obvious reasons — quickest way of earning their success fees. They don’t need to deal with complexity. Some placement agents take on complexity because they don’t have access to the best mandates, but arguably are even worse suited to deliver on these. We, on the other hand, love complexity.

What do I mean by complexity? Here are examples of actual GPs we have worked with:

§ a GP whose track record had fallen into second/third quartile and was unable to raise capital through their usual placement agent. We helped identify the areas of strengths and weaknesses of that GP and helped re-set their areas of core investment focus — something that their placement agent didn’t have the skillset/appetite to do. Once the product was re-set with our support, they went back to their usual placement agent who helped them successfully raise their fund.

§ Emerging managers — we add a lot of value to these GPs — they typically consist of strong deal professionals who have less experience of fundraising. The best placement agents don’t need to take such ‘risky’ mandates, and the not-so-good placement agents aren’t worth the hassle (and fees). This is where we come in and support these groups with their approach to fundraising, including helping them with relevant LP mapping.

Emerging markets — much the same as above. In both of the above cases, quite often the GPs simply don’t have access to the calibre of IR resource that we can provide at an affordable price point.

Very occasionally GPs use both us and a placement agent — us as an extension of their Strategy/product development/IR teams, typically for the strategic work and project management resource, while they use the placement agent for pure LP introductions — to play to each of our strengths. I can think of two GPs we supported where placement agents were subsequently considered (in 20-odd cases, we acted solo):

§ the aforementioned GP where we helped reset strategy and develop the product, while the placement agent placed the fund, and

§ one GP whose prior fund of €1bn+ had some of the top US and European LPs, and where all their four prior funds were top quartile/top decile; they mainly needed a sparring partner and extra resources to help project manage the fundraise; we subsequently helped them with a beauty parade and negotiations specifically for Asian and Middle Eastern placement agents to extend their LP reach into those markets.

NS: That’s insightful Taz. Now, looking back at our journey, we got our first client just as COVID was setting in. Subsequently there has been conflict in Europe and the Middle East, which has had its impact on private markets. How has that affected our business, and that of the GPs/LPs that we work with?

TK: On both sides, for us, we have been fortunate that the global macro events have worked in our favour. From a business building perspective:

§ we have been able to work with clients across the globe from Day 1, as the concept of needing to be with colleagues in person all the time is less applicable now.

§ we have been able to deliver the services from across the globe, which has allowed us to work with clients from the US to Europe to Middle East and Asia, using our UK-India nexus. The Indian production powerhouse has allowed us to hire high-quality talent — such as your own backgrounds from Goldman Sachs and Big4 Transaction Services — at a cost which is much more palatable to small and mid cap fund managers than if we had been forced to build the same talent pool fully in London or New York.

From our clients’ perspective, it’s also largely been a successful period, with the 9 GPs who we have worked with, who have at least had first closes, having raised a $1.8bn+ in aggregate since our support, with 8 out of the 9 having raised more than their prior fund sizes, notwithstanding the difficult fundraising environment. Of course, that success has not come to every GP we have worked with — for example, it’s definitely been tougher for some emerging VCs over the past 12 months.

The above chart includes a select list of nine GP clients, who have successfully executed fundraising post our support. *Total amount raised includes at least first closes. For the funds which have only achieved first close, we have highlighted target fund sizes in red dotted bars. **Involved a strategy pivot mandate, hence the lower fund size in comparison to previous fund. ***Includes total amount raised in flagship and opportunity funds.

Moreover, as some placement agents have over-promised and under-delivered, sometimes charging hefty retainers for their LP introduction-driven mandates, a number of GPs have switched to our services as a higher strategic/resource value-add, lower priced solution, delivering what we say on the tin.

Meanwhile, from an LP perspective, it’s a good time to be a family office entering the space or indeed increasing exposure to private markets thoughtfully. We’ve found that even mid cap and large cap GPs are considerably more welcoming of that source of capital vs pre-summer 2022. As the denominator effect continues to put the US pensions funds on pause, GPs have sought to diversify their LP base, allowing family offices to get access to some previously unattainable yet attractive funds. The volatility has also opened up the opportunity to buy some interesting secondaries, reducing the new LPs’ cash J-curve, and giving them the ability to make their portfolios self-sustaining sooner than they would have otherwise become.

KM: One final question Taz — why is it that others are not developing the same model as us?

TK: I think it’s quite a hard model to replicate. There are a few factors which work in our favour. The institutional LP experience. Having built private markets businesses before. Consulting and banking service-oriented culture. Understanding the importance of marketing in business-building. Our penance for data. Our lower cost base and willingness to operate at acceptable margins. The pain we take to train all our resources on strategic and marketing aspects. Experience across booms and busts. Strong market visibility. Our agility and flexibility when dealing with different client types. The combination of all that is extremely hard to replicate, if at all existent.

AccelNorth Partners is an advisor specialising in the private markets industry. Whether you’re a GP or an LP, reach out to us to discuss your strategic, operational, diligence, fundraising and IR challenges. Email us at info@accelnorthpartners.com. And follow us on Medium.



AccelNorth Partners

Advising PE and VC funds, LPs and companies on commercial, organisational, marketing & fundraising success