The digital revolution is coming for private-equity firms, and it'll change the way dealmaking is done

The digital revolution is coming for private-equity firms, and it'll change the way dealmaking is done
Samantha Lee/Insider

Whoa, we're halfway there! Dan DeFrancesco in NYC.


The majority of the cuts at Goldman Sachs are reportedly expected to take place today. I wish I had something insightful to say to those of you nervously awaiting your fate, but I don't. This type of stuff sucks. Best of luck.

On tap we've got stories on all the top celebs who lost money investing in FTX, private equity getting deeper in the healthcare game, and a bunch of business books worth reading.

But first, digital killed the PE dealmaker.

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1. Private equity's digital revolution.

Imagine you've just been tapped to lead a new investment team at a private-equity firm (congrats!). It took years of hard work, countless missed social gatherings, and an overall drain on your mental and physical well-being... but who cares about that now! You've finally reached the pinnacle of your career ambitions.

Sure, you might have blown up some relationships, and you had to skip out on Cousin Greg's wedding because you were in the midst of a live deal, but that doesn't matter anymore. You'll be able to buy Greg a house with the amount of money you're going to mint from some of the investments you're eyeing.

But just as you're about to get going, one of the firm's leaders taps you on the shoulder. The executives would like your group to work with these data scientists they've just hired to help glean some analysis on M&A opportunities.


For many of you reading this, that might sound like a welcome addition. The more firepower the better.

But for others, this situation reads more like a nightmare. You didn't spend all those years grinding it out — from a New England prep school to an Ivy to an analyst program clocking 100-hour work weeks — just to have someone dressed like they shop exclusively from Sears to tell you how to do your job.

This entire situation is hypothetical, but it could become a reality sooner rather than later.

Insider's Bianca Chan spoke to KKR's top tech executive, Emilia Sherifova, about how the PE giant is putting the final touches on its three-year migration to the public cloud.

But the story isn't just about a tech overhaul. It's also about a culture overhaul at the firm, to a degree. Here's how Sherifova explained her wider mandate to Bianca:


"KKR is known as a top private-equity brand. It may not have historically been known as a top engineering brand. Our ambition in the next 10 years is to not only be a world-class private-equity firm, but also a world-class engineering brand," she said.

And KKR's not alone. Blackstone, one of its biggest rivals, developed a data tool for its real-estate business that it eventually expanded to its entire PE portfolio. It's even tapping its own engineers to help scout for tech deals.

To be sure, we've still got a long way to go for PE to leverage data and tech internally the same way we see other firms across the Street do it. But all it takes is a couple firms to find success for the rest to quickly follow. And when that time comes, it'll be interesting to see the two worlds merge.

Maybe I'm wrong, and the dealmakers can't wait for data scientists to join the fun (if you're in that camp, let me know). But something tells me that's not the case.

Just look at how tech has saturated the rest of our lives. Artificial intelligence has gotten so good it's being used for everything from fighting traffic tickets, to replying to Hinge matches, to writing stories about the financial markets...


Wait, what!?

Sooner or later, the tech will come for us all.

Click here to read more about KKR's push into the public cloud and how it's allowing the firm to rethink how deals get done.

In other news:

The digital revolution is coming for private-equity firms, and it'll change the way dealmaking is done
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

2. Here's everybody who's taking a bath on their FTX investment. From Tom Brady to Thoma Bravo, these are some of the top equity holders in the now-bankrupt crypto exchange.

3. The problem with proptech. They were supposed to use tech to revolutionize how homes were bought and sold. But many of the promises made by startups focused on the housing market fell well short of expectations. Why proptech let us down.

4. A drug that could save your life might be backed by PE. In what is surely one of the more terrifying developments in recent years, private-equity firms are increasingly interested in investing in drug development, Reuters reports. More on that here.

5. More cuts at Coinbase. The crypto exchange announced it would reduce its workforce by another 20%, the second time Coinbase has made significant cuts in less than a year. But investors didn't seem to mind, as the stock price jumped at the news.

6. They may take our jobs, but they'll never take our private jets. As Goldman Sachs reviews its spending across the bank in a bid to cut costs, two potential targets are the Gulfstream jets it owns, the Financial Times reports.


7. Jamie Dimon thinks the Fed needs to be more aggressive than some expect with its next rate hike. The JPMorgan CEO is predicting a bigger bump than the market consesus. Here's his thinking.

8. If you're looking to buy a house, these are the cities where you'll get the best deal. In an effort to attract buyers despite sky-high mortgage rates, sellers are willing to offer up some concessions and deal sweeteners. These are the 16 cities where that's most common.

9. Amazon's first year streaming "Thursday Night Football" didn't deliver the audience it promised. The tech giant is now looking to do good by advertisers. Here's what they're planning on doing.

10. Here's some books to help you with that New Year's resolution to read more. From self-help, to leadership, to psychology, these are the 29 best business books to read this year, according to members at Goodreads, the top spot for rating and reviewing books. Check them all out here.

Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.