Downhill from here

Cloudy outlooks at SuperReturn


Happy Friday. Here’s what we’ve got today…

  • A look at investor sentiment coming out of SuperReturn

  • Plus, Bain Capital’s latest platform deal


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Times are tough:

As investors gathered at this week’s SuperReturn International conference in Berlin, the key takeaway was an ominous message: the heady days of outsized returns are over, or at least on hold. Executives from firms including KKR, Apollo, and Goldman Sachs delivered various warnings—all of which included a prediction of diminished industry performance.

Worries center on the come-down from a period of historically low rates, elevated valuations, and easy fundraising. This goldilocks scenario drove a dealmaking frenzy in 2021 and 2022—great for exits, but less great for firms that paid top dollar for new assets.

"These are going to be tough vintages ... they're probably going to underperform," said Pete Stavros, KKR’s co-head of global private equity.

Apollo co-president Scott Kleinman agreed, adding his own analogy for the current glut of unsold private assets: “The types of returns enjoyed for many years, you know, up to 2022, you’re not going to see that until the pig moves through the python. And that is just the reality of where we are.”

The general consensus was that strategies built on cheap debt and multiple expansion would cede ground to firms employing more value-add approaches, including carve-outs, meaningful operational improvements, transformational add-ons, and differentiated sourcing of founder-owned targets.

Perhaps the most common value creation effort now underway is the roll-out of portfolio-wide data and AI-based playbooks. Implementation options include internal cost reductions or the more ambitious path of new product creation—something that may be particularly attractive for more traditional businesses with access to valuable proprietary data that they’ve yet to monetize.

Whichever tack investors choose, the bar has been set high:

“For the past 10 it was too easy, almost, to generate returns,” Marc Nachmann, Goldman Sachs’ global head of asset and wealth management, told conference attendees.


Bain Capital agreed to acquire PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC), a provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education whose ownership includes stakes held by Vista Equity Partners and Onex, for $5.6 billion.

Blackstone agreed to acquire the 45 percent stake it doesn't already own in climate control manufacturer Copeland from Emerson Electric (NYSE: EMR) for $3.5 billion.

Authentic Brands Group agreed to acquire Champion, a sportswear and lifestyle brand, from HanesBrands (NYSE: HBI) for up to $1.5 billion, including a $300 million contingent consideration.

Platinum Equity agreed to acquire Sunrise Medical, a manufacturer of assistive mobility products, including wheelchairs, from Nordic Capital, which had earlier planned to launch an IPO for the business.

• After creditors rejected a sale to Advent International, Strategic Value Partners is now in talks with Oman's state energy company over a cash injection for its OQ Chemicals business, which would see SVP take control of the asset.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management acquired CarltonOne Engagement, an employee engagement SaaS platform, from H.I.G. Growth Partners.

Tenex Capital Management acquired Behavioral Innovations, a provider of center-based ABA therapy for children with autism, from Shore Capital Partners.

TDR Capital increased its ownership stake in Asda, a British supermarket chain, to 67.5 percent after acquiring Zuber Issa's 22.5 percent stake.

Turnspire Capital Partners acquired Swanson Industries, a provider of manufacturing and repair services for mining equipment and hydraulic cylinders.

Growth & Minority Stakes

Permira invested in PharmaCord, a patient services provider focused on medication adherence and access.

Charlesbank Capital Partners invested in Quorum Cyber, an Edinburgh-based cybersecurity and incident response firm.

Invictus Growth Partners invested in ThreatModeler Software, a threat modeling platform provider.

Portfolio Company Add-Ons

Sylvan, a portfolio company of Blue Point Capital Partners, acquired Anchor Conveyor Products, an industrial conveyor systems contractor.

JSI, a portfolio company of Stone-Goff Partners, acquired Inteserra, an Atlanta-based telecommunications regulatory compliance advisory firm.

OnPoint Industrial Services, a portfolio company of MML Capital Partners, acquired Amerisafe Group, a provider of industrial safety consulting and occupational health services.

Alliant Insurance Services, a portfolio company of Stone Point Capital and PSP Investments, acquired Assured Health Group, a West Palm Beach-based broker of ACA individual plans.

Premier Biotech, a portfolio company of Align Capital Partners, acquired Desert Tox, a provider of SAMHSA-certified laboratory testing services.

New Era Cap, a portfolio company of ACON Investments, agreed to acquire '47, a sports apparel and lifestyle brand.


Tech, Vertical SaaS, & Misc. Enterprise

Pika, an AI video platform, raised $80 million in Series B funding led by Spark Capital, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Greycroft, Nat Friedman, Daniel Gross, and Elad Gil.

HYPR, a New York-based identity assurance startup, raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Silver Lake Waterman.

Cube, a universal semantic layer for data apps, raised $25 million in new funding led by Databricks Ventures, with participation from Decibel, Bain Capital Ventures, Eniac Ventures, and 645 Ventures.

Spiideo, a Swedish AI-powered sports video production and analysis company, raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Cipio Partners.

Qargo, a London-based green logistics startup, raised £11 million in Series A funding led by Balderton Capital.

Tektonic AI, a Seattle-based startup developing enterprise GenAI agents, raised $10 million in seed funding led by Madrona and Point72 Ventures.

Dive, a particle-based computational fluid dynamics software company, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by D.E. Shaw Group, with participation from First Momentum Ventures, Segenia Capital and Senovo Capital.

Rising Team, a team performance platform provider, raised $8 million in new funding led by Zeal Capital Partners, with participation from Peterson Ventures, Roble Ventures, Female Founders Fund, Burst Capital, and Supernode Ventures.


Fibe, an Indian digital lending platform, raised $90 million in Series E funding co-led by TR Capital, Trifecta Capital, and Amara Partners, with participation from TPG Rise Fund, Norwest Venture Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, and Chiratae Ventures.

Kanastra, a São Paulo-based back office platform for private credit funds, raised $21 million in Series A funding led by Kaszek, with participation from Atlantico, Valor Capital, Quona Capital, QED Investors, and Actyus.

Continuity, a Paris-based P&C risk assessment insurtech, raised €10 million in Series A funding led by 115K, with participation from Elaia and Bpifrance.

Torpago, a commercial credit card and spend management provider, raised $10 million in Series B funding co-led by Priority Tech Ventures and EJF Ventures, with participation from BankTech Ventures and other existing investors.

Consumer & Media

The Sandbox, a user-generated content metaverse platform and subsidiary of Animoca Brands, raised $20 million in convertible promissory notes with a $1 billion valuation cap, led by Kingsway Capital and Animoca Brands, with participation from LG Tech Ventures and True Global Ventures.

Cartwheel, a 3D text-to-animation platform, raised $5.6 million in seed funding led by Accel, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Human Ventures, Heretic VC, MVP Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and Pelion VC.


ITM Isotope Technologies Munich, a radiopharmaceutical biotech, raised €188 million in new funding led by Temasek, with participation from BlackRock, Qatar Investment Authority, ATHOS, and Carbyne.

Prolific Machines, an optogenetics startup, raised $55 million in Series B funding led by Fronterra Co-operative Group, with participation from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Mayfield, SOSV, Shorewind Capital, Darco Capital, Conti Ventures, and In-Q-Tel.

Sware, a provider of life sciences software validation, raised $6 million in Series B funding led by First Analysis, with participation from LRVHealth, New Stack Ventures, and Insight Partners.

Eyebot, a Boston-based developer of rapid point-of-sale eye prescription tech, raised $6 million in seed funding led by AlleyCorp and Ubiquity Ventures, with participation from Susa Ventures, Village Global, Baukunst, Ravelin, Spacecadet, and Humba Ventures.


Aquiline Capital Partners raised $2.3 billion for its fifth financial services-focused buyout fund and $1.1 billion for a multi-asset continuation fund led by HarbourVest.

Gideon Yu, former CFO of YouTube and Facebook, is raising $500 million for a new fund affiliated with Alphabet's moonshot lab X, per Bloomberg.

Sound Growth Partners, a Seattle-based buyout firm, raised $275 million for its debut lower middle market fund.


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