Come by and see us at VC in the OC event on May 22, 2013 in Irvine, CA

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

We will be attending and contributing to OCTANe's VC in the OC event on May 22, 2013 in Irvine, CA (http://www.vcintheoc2013.com/main.html).  Come by and say hello and Chicago Growth Partners will be participating on a panel at 2pm PT.

VC in the OC is the largest venture capital, high growth, and innovation conference in Southern California.  The event is expecting over 700 attendees, comprising 100's of companies and dozens of investors.  The session CGP is contributing to will examine when private equity investors might consider early stage investments and what early stage companies need to know when considering private equity investments.  CGP will be joined by individuals ...Read More

Toolkit Series: iOS, Android or HTML5?

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Like everyone else, we have seen phenomenal interest in mobile applications within our portfolio over the past several years.    Mobile applications have evolved from niche efforts into full-scale members of the technology ecosystem even for mid-sized technology and service companies.   Yet  our companies still struggle with three major questions:

  • What kind of of a mobile application should we develop?
  • On which platform should develop?
  • Should we develop the application internally, or outsource?

If you do not have any experience building mobile applications, we always advise our companies to start small and to focus on an internal application — something that your own staff can use.  Pundits often say that you only have one chance to “delight” your customers, so it is very risky to deploy your first mobile application to ...Read More

Toolkit Series: NoSQL or SQL? That is the (Database) Question

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Most of our portfolio companies develop applications both for internal use and as customer-facing platforms.  There is always a lively debate within the development teams over the appropriate language and tech platform.   Yet there was almost always agreement that the database would be a relational database, either Microsoft SQL Server or mySQL, both good choices for mid-market companies.

Fast-forward to 2012 and many of our companies are taking a hard look at using a NoSQL database for new applications.   It can be a difficult decision as NoSQL databases come in a variety of flavors, each of which offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages.   Some NoSQL databases are designed as document style databases (MongoDB), which work well for large-scale applications where much of the data is not shared. ...Read More

Toolkit Series: Agile for Small Growth Companies

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Agile development principles aren't just for startups.  Learn it, live it, love it.

Over the past several years we've made significant inroads moving most of our portfolio companies to use agile principles in software development.  Agile is an alternative way of developing software, but it can be used for decidedly non-technical projects as well.  Agile is a way to develop in a collaborative, iterative and incremental way versus traditional software projects that tend to follow a serial or waterfall process.   In traditional development environments, project managers interview users and develop lots of written specifications.  Programmers take those specifications and build software, ostensibly to meet the needs of the users.  Invariably, the ...Read More

Toolkit Series: To Cloud or Not to Cloud?

Friday, June 1st, 2012

As a small growth company, you have to ask “Is the cloud right for us?”  Our answer: “It depends.”

While almost every CGP portfolio company runs something in the cloud, we are constantly answering questions and strategizing about how we can smartly choose between cloud-based applications and more traditional licensed software.

If you remove all of the rhetoric that surrounds cloud computing, you can boil “the cloud” down to a very simple definition that isn’t really all that new.  The cloud is nothing more (or less) than software applications running on a shared set of computing platforms across the Internet.  So, we’re back to time-share computing!  Most companies of any size have their computers and storage ...Read More

How we find great executives and how they find us

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Our approach to investing has always been to let management run their company while we help to fill in the gaps where and when necessary.  The relationship starts after we meet a team that shares our approach to building growth companies and work out a reasonable transaction for both sides. In the market segment in which we invest — small growth companies — management teams are rarely full from top to bottom. They might be ready for a CFO, or senior executives might be wearing multiple hats so there is an acute need for more focused talent as the business scales.  We see this time and time again — rapidly growing companies with great products but missing key pieces of the team.

We constantly find ourselves in the market searching for experienced ...Read More

What we look for in new investments

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Our investment process starts with two basic criteria — industry and growth.

We execute an industry-driven investment approach focused on growth companies in four dynamic sectors where we have extensive investment experience – Education, Healthcare, Tech-Enabled Service and Industrial Growth. We have a long track record of partnering with management teams to build leading companies for which strategic and financial acquirers will often pay attractive multiples upon exit.

Across these sectors, we look for common characteristics to find companies that best suit our style.

  • Differentiated product or service.
  • Stable, highly visible, or recurring revenue.
  • Low or no customer concentration.
  • Dynamic market where above average growth can be sustained during and after our ownership period.
  • Valuation where ...Read More

One small step for private equity, one giant leap for Chicago Growth Partners

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Why should a private equity fund blog? And why should you care?

While we don’t yet have the answers to these questions, we do hope that over time the audience who finds these posts will appreciate our attempt. With this blog – let’s call it a conversation – we hope to broaden our influences beyond our own walls and to share with you a little bit about how we approach the business of investing and helping companies grow.

At Chicago Growth Partners, we have built our reputation by partnering with entrepreneurs and by being steady hands in managing our limited partners’ capital. Maintaining these relationships requires transparency, trust and a healthy dose of humility. And while we don't always get it right, we certainly try to learn from our mistakes.