Wednesday, November 5, 2014

CALPA's First Year: A Look Back with a View Forward

Over eighteen months ago we here at CALPA cooked up the idea of bringing together all of greater Chicago's most influential limited partners investing in private equity to build a more collaborative, engaged, informed and fun community of peers.  It was an experiment at first, because we were not initially sure people would want to collaborate and come together.  Boy were we wrong.  Not only has CALPA brought together all of the largest (and smallest) limited partners across Chicago, with a few friends from Milwaukee, South Bend, Champaign, and St. Louis, but we have also built a network effect across the community that is impossible to ignore.

As a brief reminder, we get together three times a year to have a free luncheon featuring industry thought leaders debating a best practice, big idea, trend, or problem facing all of our portfolios.  We have members from the insurance company, public/private pension plan, family office, asset management, fund-of-funds, endowment and foundation communities.

In the past year, we've had three luncheons.  Our first was on the state of growth equity, or rather what is growth equity.  Pete Mooradian from Cambridge Associates graciously moderated a panel with Danny Rosenberg from Sterling Partners and Mark Kvamme from Drive Capital.  Northern Trust was kind enough to host the trailblazing event which was very well received.  Our second event was on the state of the secondaries market and Jason Gull from Adams Street Partners moderated a panel with folks from the LP, GP and intermediary communities, including Northwestern University, Madison Dearborn Partners and Park Hill Group.  It was a packed house at Adams Street's offices.  This summer, the kind folks at the University of Illinois Foundation and Kirkland & Ellis LLP hosted a luncheon on co-investments and Priya Pradhan from Cambridge Associates moderated a panel with Beau Laskey from SVB Capital, Robb Turner from ArcLight Capital Partners and Kevin Kester from Siguler Guff.  Later this month, Northern Trust will be hosting an incredibly innovative conversation with Andy Schwab from 5AM Ventures and Ryan Drant from NEA with the goal of demystifying healthcare venture investing and spelling out the ABCs of pharma and medical device regulatory, reimbursement, financing and clinical risks.

We plan to continue hosting a luncheon once every four months and will be having an inaugural holiday party on December 11th, thanks to the generous support of UBS' Private Funds Group and Kirkland & Ellis.

One of the most important things we've done in the past year, is really showcase how broad and deep the LP community is in Chicago and how we are not a flyover city if you want to raise capital.  We're too big, too nice, and too collaborative to ignore.

As our LP membership goes continues to burgeon and our luncheons continue to grow in popularity, we hope that our mission of building a more informed, engaged and collaborative LP community in and around Chicago only continues to blossom.

We would welcome any comments, questions or snide remarks on what we've done or where we're going as this is an organization founded by LPs for LPs (only).  We would especially welcome any thoughts on future luncheon ideas in 2015.

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