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Women in Finance Breakfast | Soft Power, Not Superwoman

Women in Finance Breakfast | Soft Power, Not Superwoman

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, we were delighted to hold a Women in Finance breakfast roundtable hosted by Patricia Vicente, Director, and featuring guest speaker Begoña F Alepuz, corporate leadership and women’s coach. 

Trained by the esteemed Dr Joanna Martin of the global women’s leadership organization, One of many®, Begoña led an insightful discussion on the transformative concept of soft power. This approach empowers women to access their inner resilience, fostering authentic connections with themselves and others. Soft power equips us to navigate life’s challenges effectively, while sustaining mental health. 

It was inspiring to see so many women from the finance sector explore how we integrate soft power principles in our workplaces. Discussions revolved around nurturing self-compassion and self-care, enhancing effective communication, and setting boundaries to reduce misunderstanding and stress, promoting collaboration and resilience, and embracing adaptability to cultivate a growth mindset.

Furthermore, the session highlighted the impact on individual’s mental health when operating in, what Geert Hofstede defines as, a masculine paradigm emphasizing assertiveness, heroism and achievement versus a feminine paradigm valuing cooperation, modesty and quality of life, and the need for change. 

Key insights from the breakfast included the importance of mental health at the center of our workplaces and lives and that soft power principles will enable us to be effective women leaders and drive change together.

We would like to thank all the attendees for participating in the event and Begoña for joining us and facilitating the session. 

If you are a woman in finance and would like to attend a future event, please do contact us.

Media & Technology Conference | Key Takeaways

Media & Technology Conference | Key Takeaways

Our 20th Annual Media & Technology Conference was a preeminent, must-attend event for senior executives across the media, marketing, information and technology sectors.  Attendees heard intimate discussions from an array of world class business leaders and executives who shared their experiences managing through today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving landscape as well as their strategies for success in the year ahead. Nearly 600 attendees joined us with a mixture of world-class founders and entrepreneurs, C-level executives and senior investment leaders creating an energized, vibrant and positive atmosphere once more.

Some of our key takeaways from the day include the following:

As we head into the Spring of 2024 the entrepreneurial spirit of the Founders we have worked with over the years has never been more apparent as companies have emerged from the pandemic with reimagined business models and an eye towards a future that brings both promise and uncertainty.

Human capital and board level cohesion has never been more important to a company’s long-term success.

AI is seen as a disruptive and transformative force of nature across the tech enabled services landscape. Early adoption of this technology is not an option; rapid yet responsible deployment of a test and learn approach is widely seen as the optimal path forward. The complexity and variety of use cases for the technology creates opportunities for consultancies and digital transformation strategists who will chart the path forward.

Data is the fuel that drives innovation. First party data in a post cookie and privacy constrained world is essential. A major shift in power is underway between media companies and retailers as purchase data creates leverage with brand marketers and product manufacturers.

Retail Media has emerged as the hottest subsector in digital and opens the door to a more direct customer and retailer relationship. Omnicom’s recent $850M acquisition of Flywheel, a retail services platform, demonstrates this shift as well as the proliferation of Retail Media Networks that have taken market share in the past year. Walmart’s recent bid for Vizio, a CTV manufacturer with a media business is also a sign of retail’s aggressive move into media.

The transformation of B2B is well underway resulting in the integration of customer touchpoints across the discover, learn, and buy continuum. Technology drives mass personalization, content engages and educates, and experiences provide amplification when integrated into the journey.

Google, Facebook, and Amazon dominate the digital media ecosystem, commanding 65% of digital spend in the U.S. The open market now represents about $14B in digital spend. CTV, online video, and YouTube combined represents $63B (now larger than the $60B linear broadcast market) and growing at a 20% CAGR. Building a business outside these walled gardens can be very difficult, but building capabilities inside them can be very rewarding.

M&A transactions can be complex and unpredictable but one important factor to be thinking about is “data readiness”; the idea here is to understand that a significant portion of your company’s value is determined by the strength of your business metrics, which includes: KPI’s, benchmarks, and of course financials.

Understanding how buyers value your business beyond the bottom-line and well in advance will always pay dividends down the road when it comes time to transact.

In the face of global crises, organizations have honed their crisis management skills adeptly but have neglected long-term strategic planning. Employees want inspiration, clarity regarding the company’s direction, transparency in its journey, and recognition of their contributions. These factors are managed differently when dealing with crises such as Covid. It is crucial to think about how to get back to a long-term strategic planning mindset.

In the era of Gen AI, the technology itself is not a barrier; the critical consideration lies in identifying which problems that technology can address effectively. It is important to be deliberate in selecting the appropriate applications for this technology.

The Corporate Transparency Act, which went into effect on January 1st of this year, requires entities formed by filings with Secretaries of State to submit beneficial ownership information to the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Exemptions apply to 23 types of entities. However, many exemptions are far from straightforward in their drafting and application. Some examples of exemptions are employee headcount threshold and revenue threshold. This Act should be on all companies’ radars going forward.

Private Equity investors are hungry for deals based on prolonged holding periods for many portfolios. While JEGI CLARITY has executed over 25 deals in the last 15 months, there has been a dearth of deal flow in many sectors.

M&A activity has been markedly down over the last year, primarily attributed to difficult macro-economic conditions, geopolitical uncertainty, a slowdown in tech investments and valuations and a challenging bid ask spread between buyer and seller. Companies that have managed to maintain revenues and/or grow over the last year are in a fantastic position to stand out in a supply-constrained market.

Private Equity and Strategics have scaled up sourcing efforts in an attempt to identify targets, Founders should anticipate a ton of inbound in advance of an active Spring to Summer M&A market. The time value of money and pressure from LP’s will contribute to some harvesting of portfolio gains this year and perhaps reset valuations for the coming year. Net net, there’s a window of opportunity ahead for sellers and buyers alike.

To learn more about our 2024 conference, please visit here. If you have any other questions about our conference, please contact us.

Women in Finance Dinner

Women in Finance Dinner

We were thrilled to hold our Women in Finance dinner last week in London, hosted by Patricia Vicente, UK Director, and Kathleen Thomas, Managing Director in our New York office.  The event brought together an exceptional group of women from the M&A community, alongside senior executives in the digital media and content, marketing, B2B information and events and technology sectors. 

Return to Growth 

The prevailing sentiment among attendees was of cautious optimism for a return to growth in 2024, following a challenging year in 2023.  Encouraging signs, such as high levels of dry powder and approximately 50% of buyout portfolio companies held for over four years suggesting a need to deploy capital and hinted at increased activity in months ahead. 

This was also supported with the consensus that there would be a decline in interest rates in the UK by year end, although expectations tempered with the understanding that they were unlikely to revert to pre-2022 levels, bringing a level of continued pressure on valuations.  It was noted that premium assets were still trading at good multiples but there was hesitancy from sellers about not achieving expectations.  

The Impact of AI 

Discussions turned to AI and its transformative impact on various business models within the marketing services and media sectors, with the conclusion that the events and conference space would be less affected than advertising and marketing sectors.  It was remarked that investor discussions needed to incorporate clear strategies around embracing AI. 

As always, thank you to all of those who attended the Women in Finance dinner.  

If you are interested in attending one of our future events, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

MWC24 | Key Takeaways

MWC24 | Key Takeaways

Author: Patricia Vicente, Director

It was good to be back at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona last week, which once again confirmed its place as the preeminent place for innovation, showcasing the latest developments in mobile technology. Beyond merely presenting cutting-edge innovations, the event highlighted how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming the core fabric of mobile engineering today. From devices demonstrating seamless human-machine interaction to products highlighting intelligent automation, the conference illuminated AI’s pivotal role and how this technology is poised to transform future businesses.

Spending much of my time in the 4YFN (Four Years from Now) area, there was a consensus with Nigel Toon, bestselling author of ‘How AI thinks’, that we are still at the “Pac-Man” phase of AI, with much speculation about what the future will look like, how its adoption will play out in certain sectors, and of course the challenges it raises around privacy and copyright.

I was particularly interested in Sir Martin Sorrell’s session ‘The Interplay of Political Instability, AI, Marketing and Advertising’. He revealed that out of last year’s US$950Bn advertising spend, US$650Bn was allocated to digital media platforms, including Alphabet, Meta, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent and the TikTok parent company, ByteDance. The irony was not lost on me that while experiencing an average revenue growth of 10-12%, they had concurrently reduced their marketing budgets significantly. The role of the middleman in marketing services was also questioned when innovations like Sora, powered by OpenAI, had the capacity to translate text directly into images.

­­Sorrell gave examples of the impact AI will have on the future of advertising such as its ability to scale creative assets by three to fourfold, and how it will expand the media and planning network exponentially – both resulting in hyper-personalization.  However, he continued to emphasize how human invention and creativity remain indispensable.

If you are interested in exploring key themes arising from AI developments in select sub-sectors, please visit our insights page.

For further information or to have a discussion about the market more broadly please contact us.

Media & Technology Conference

Media & Technology Conference

Location:  The Pierre: 2 East 61st Street at Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10065

The 20th Anniversary Event
Two Decades of Exceptional Evolution

Our 20th annual Media & Technology Conference was a preeminent, can’t-miss event for nearly 600 senior executives across the media, marketing, information and technology sectors.

The theme of the conference this year was Two Decades of Exceptional Evolution. Attendees heard intimate discussions from an array of world class leaders and executives who shared their experiences managing through today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving landscape as well as their strategies for success in the year ahead.

2024 Conference Materials

2024 Conference Speakers

Sejal Amin, Chief Technology Officer | Shutterstock

Keia Clarke, Chief Executive Officer | New York Liberty

Laura Correnti, Founder & CEO | Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment

Elizabeth Deeming, Chief Executive Officer | MVF

Bob Dethlefs, Founder & Former CEO | Evanta; Chairman | CyberRisk Alliance

Robert Dickey, Partner | Morgan Lewis

Patrick Donoghue, National Managing Principal, Corporate Finance & Transaction Advisory Services; Private Equity Industry Leader | BDO

Kerry Gumas, Founder & CEO | Metacomet Advisors

Heather Holst-Knudsen, Founder & CEO | H2K Labs

Nikesh Kalra, Chief Operating Officer | DeepMedia

Doug Manoni, Founder & CEO | CyberRisk Alliance

Philipp Mueller, Chief Analyst & Product Officer | Outsell

Ilya Meyzin, Head of Data Science | Dun & Bradstreet

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer | Flywheel

Scott Peters, Co-Founder & Managing Partner | Growth Catalyst Partners

Gemma Postlethwaite, Chief Executive Officer | GLG

John Rose, Managing Director & Senior Partner | Boston Consulting Group

Breanna Stewart, Power Forward for the NY Liberty, 2x WNBA Champion, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, 2x WNBA MVP, 5x WNBA All-Star, 4x NCAA Champion

Anthea Stratigos, Co-Founder & CEO | Outsell

Sean Sullivan, Managing Director & Head of Direct Lending Origination | Morgan Stanley

Andrew Tisdale, Senior Managing Director & Co-Head of Europe | Providence Equity

Mark Williams, Chief Revenue Officer, Americas | Datasite

Bill Wise, Co-Founder & CEO | Mediaocean

We would like to thank our valued, blue-chip sponsors for supporting the event

Women in Finance Dinner

Women in Finance Dinner

Author: Patricia Vicente, Director

We were delighted to host the latest of our regular Women in Finance events, bringing together senior female stakeholders who work in finance and the M&A landscape. The event gathered a diverse mix of professional women who are integral to the world of M&A, including those from private equity, due diligence providers, law firms and corporate development teams.

The evening provided a valuable platform for influential women to connect beyond their transactional roles, which facilitates a working relationship and cements these connections.

During the dinner, the JEGI CLARITY team presented an M&A market update for Q3 2023 and a view of opportunities and wildcards for 2024. The discussions revolved around how key indices have shown moderate increases since Summer 2022, and how valuations of public companies in our key sectors have seen a slight uptick over the last 12 months. Also, we reflected on the fact that although the market’s sentiment is far more selective and measured than last year, it is very much open for business. We talked about how there is the opportunity for continued technological evolution of legacy assets in many businesses, ongoing growth in digital transformation services, as well as of course, the impact of Generative AI.

Thank you to all of those who attended and made the evening so enjoyable. We know how important it is to continue to develop networks and create opportunities for women in finance and ensure that we attract and promote the industry to those women who are considering it as a career of choice.

If you are interested in attending one of our future events, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Executive Leadership Dinner

Executive Leadership Dinner

Location: The Pierre, New York City
Partner: BDO  (www.bdo.com)

JEGI CLARITY held its third Executive Leadership Dinner of 2023 on October 19th at the Pierre in New York starting at 6PM with cocktails. These events are structured as roundtable discussions and provide a stimulating evening of great conversation and networking.

This dinner was titled “An Insider’s View of the Rapidly Changing Research & Insights Landscape.” The roundtable discussion was led by Steve Schlesinger, Executive Chairman of Sago, who shared his perspectives on the evolving research and insights industry. The dinner brought together approximately 35 senior executives from a mix of large global corporations and emerging companies. Below is an overview of the discussion from attendee Jillian Gibbs, Founder & CEO of APR.

Steve posed many thought-provoking questions to the group, kicking off with “Given the dynamics in the world right now, geopolitically, socioeconomically and overall client behavior, what should companies be doing today to be successful?” In response, the consensus leaned towards prioritizing customer success and relationship management. The key takeaways included a commitment to excelling in one’s core competencies, fostering close proximity with clients and focusing efforts on overdelivering to solidify existing partnerships. Staying in tune with the evolving needs of clients was highlighted as essential, ensuring that support remains tailored and effective. Leveraging satisfied clients as influential voices to generate new business leads was also encouraged. Finally, the proactive offering of multi-year contracts at a discount emerged as a strategy to cement these crucial relationships, securing a path to long-term success.

The group discussed opportunities, challenges, and trends in the research and insights industry. One significant trend mentioned is the shift of tech companies using consulting as a lead generation strategy to drive their subscription models, which is the opposite of how it was done in prior years. This change underscores the growing importance of consulting services in the tech sector. Additionally, clients are increasingly outsourcing roles such as data and business analysts, a shift that businesses in this space should leverage to expand their services and expertise. Furthermore, it’s crucial to help clients achieve more with less, offering efficiency and cost-effectiveness without compromising the quality of work. This approach will enhance client satisfaction and retention.

Observing the changes from the previous year, there’s a clear trend in clients shifting from annual plans to quarterly plans, reflecting the need for agility in these rapidly changing times. Additionally, AI has become a pivotal tool for data, and it’s essential for businesses to consider how they can incorporate AI into their operations to enhance productivity and services. Lastly, the idea that “flat is the new growth” means that companies that can maintain a stable revenue while improving their EBITDA performance are considered successful in the current environment.

If you would like to discuss further or learn more about our events, please contact us at contact@jegiclarity-us.com.

Outsell Signature Event 2023 | Key takeaways

Outsell Signature Event 2023 | Key takeaways

The JEGI CLARITY team had the privilege of co-producing the annual Outsell Signature Event, which recently took place at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Hampshire, UK. 

The conference is a seminal event for senior leaders in the data and information industry.  It provides a platform for discussing key trends and their implications for the industry, while providing guests with an opportunity to make valuable connections within the sector. Full agenda and speaker list can be found here.

Key Takeaways

Generative AI for some but not necessarily for all

Throughout the event, there was an acknowledgement that your business model, offering and client base will likely drive what stage you are at in the ‘AI journey’. Some have been using AI for decades, while others are just beginning to explore its potential.

Understanding whether AI will be focused internally in driving efficiencies or speed to market, or focused externally, for example on enhancing product solutions will be a key part of determining the extent to which AI is deployed into your business.

For some businesses, the use of generative AI might be excessive and unnecessary to attain their goals. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of your objectives before determining whether these tools will genuinely contribute to reaching them, and many organizations are grappling with understanding this.

Many leaders in the room cautioned against rapid investment into AI without a framework covering a true understanding of your organization’s data and processes, your clients’ view and use of AI and the AI development approach, including ROI at each stage.

The importance of organizational buy-in

The transition to leveraging AI needs to be led by executive and senior management, but with a measured approach of proof testing, reviewing, evolving, and continually verifying.

Organizational buy-in is viewed as critical even at the testing stage so people and teams across the organization understand what the AI can potentially deliver, and what the aims and benefits are. Without this, it will be very difficult to meaningfully leverage AI.

It was noted that the regulatory framework around AI must catch up with the rapid pace of the technology, inevitability leading to a growing industry of regulations and policies. How the regulatory environment intersects with an individual business, and the organization, will be critical and at the moment, this intersection is unclear.

More than a hype bubble

What was resounding across the two days was the profound impact of AI on the knowledge economy. Attendees were aware that change is coming and fast, and that although there were parameters to establish how the industry integrates AI into it, the opportunities it presents are impossible and dangerous to ignore.

Indeed, the prevailing theme of the event reflected what we are hearing across our industry, and many others: how AI, and specifically the latest wave of generative technologies, can be augmented into businesses. There is a clear recognition, however, that while there are potential benefits, how these can be achieved is a work in progress for many.

Are we ready?

Considerable debate centered on some of the perceived risks as well. IP infringement, plagiarism, erosion of jobs, bias; all areas that need monitoring and care. The importance of clear policies and compliance frameworks both internally and externally underpinned by an understanding of the technology will be crucial for all businesses in the sector and beyond.

The M&A viewpoint  

Wilma Jordan, Founder and CEO, North America at JEGI CLARITY presented an insightful overview of the M&A marketplace offering projections for the future in light of economic outlook, high interest rates and pressure on cash and profits.

Describing green shoots appearing from those businesses that have real understanding of the use of data, she also outlined how AI is already driving a wave of investment that will continue to gather pace in the next 12 months. 

With 2023 already a record year for investment in generative AI start-ups, with equity funding estimated to have reached $14.1 billion*, there is no doubt that those companies within the AI arena will continue to power this pace.

If you would like to receive a copy of our presentation on the M&A viewpoint, please contact us.

[*] https://www.cbinsights.com/research/generative-ai-funding-top-startups-investors/

Executive Leadership Breakfast with Stax

Executive Leadership Breakfast

Location: New York City
Partner: Stax  (www.stax.com)

JEGI CLARITY and Stax held an Executive Leadership Breakfast on October 11th at the Stax offices in New York City. This event was structured as roundtable discussions and provided a stimulating morning of great conversation and networking.

This breakfast was titled “Making the Most of AI, First Party Data and Community.” The roundtable discussion was led by Kathleen Thomas, Managing Director at JEGI CLARITY, and Denzil Rankine, Managing Director at Stax, who shared their perspectives on the role of community and how AI and first party data are impacting the B2B Media and Marketing landscape.

The Generative AI Media, Marketing & Creative Conference

The Generative AI Media Conference – Key takeaways

Daniel Hart, JEGI CLARITY Vice President, attended the Generative AI conference as part of the AI Summit in London, targeted at the media, marketing, and creative industries. With artificial intelligence (AI) on the top of every senior leader’s agenda, below are the seven key takeaways from the event of the impact, the opportunities and of course, the challenges of AI to businesses in this sector.

1. Importance of the Human Touch

The significance of the human touch in storytelling emerged as a central theme throughout the conference. The consensus was that human connection and emotional resonance remain highly valued by people, emphazising its continued importance in creative endeavors to capture emotions and engage audiences.

2. Efficiency rather than replacement

This phydigital concept suggests that rather than replacement of humans, AI will free up resources and allow for focused creativity. It was clear from both the speaker presentations and the discussions with delegates, that this is already happening with AI tools being incorporated into workflows, enabling efficient ideation, storyboarding, and empowering creative teams to explore new ways of delivery value – all resulting in increased efficiency and productivity.

3. Fact checking and factual accuracy

The importance of human intervention in AI created content to ensure accuracy and integrity was also highlighted with the overreliance on AI bringing with it an increased risk of misreporting or factual inaccuracies noted.

4. IP/confidentiality and plagiarism concerns

Attendees agreed that blockchain technology, particularly using smart contracts, could play a leading role in protecting original artists’ rights and ensuring appropriate compensation to counter concerns regarding copyright and plagiarism. Transparency was emphasized as a critical factor, allowing stakeholders to understand the extent to which AI was used in any given output.

5. Bias and discrimination

The potential for bias and stereotyping in generative AI tools was acknowledged, and an awareness of how essential using the appropriate prompts and actively monitoring the outputs are to ensure an adherence with EDI policies.

6. Hiring and emergence of new roles

Creation of prompt engineers, fact-checkers ensuring content accuracy, AI managers to maintain consistency, monitoring inputs and outputs and overseeing the reusable nature of AI tools were all mooted as possible new roles that the AI industry could generate.

7. New monetization possibilities or enhanced experiences

AI tools introduce exciting possibilities for monetization and enhanced experiences. The ability to offer personalized and interactive entertainment experiences, as well as the digitization of art collections and virtual tours, could create new revenue streams and enrich user experiences.

Conclusion

We know that AI is already disrupting the marketing, media, and creative industry landscape and with change will come challenges and opportunities in equal measure.

In our role bridging the relationship between investors and senior industry stakeholders, these are some of the key questions raised that resonate with us all:

  • What training and technology investment will be necessary to keep up/ stay ahead of the curve?
  • Will the cost efficiencies driven by AI boost margins?
  • Will the replacement of certain roles allow those employed to focus on innovation and creative excellence, increasing quality of output?
  • What new creative frontiers will we be able to enter leveraging the new tools available?
  • Will the technology lower barriers to entry, drive increased competition and lead to pricing pressure?
  • Will clients demand more for less? Ultimately, will AI add or devalue my businesses?

It is still early days for any of us to have any definitive answers, and no doubt the answer will be a balance of all the above, but listening and talking to both sides of the investment relationship will result in an understanding of how the market will play out, where investment might be needed and help businesses unlock new opportunities for this investment.

If you have any queries or would like to have an in depth discussion on this topic or the broader market contact us