Boston is a hub for private equity firms, with many of the top players in the industry headquartered or with substantial secondary offices in the city. There are many great qualities about the city that make it an ideal destination for private equity firms. The city has close proximity to many of the top universities and business schools in the world, including Harvard/HBS, MIT/Sloan, Boston College, Northeastern, and many more. Additionally, some of the largest institutional capital bases, like pension funds and endowment funds, call Boston their home. This makes Boston a prime location for Private Equity funds outside of New York.
Here are some of the top private equity firms in Boston and a brief overview of what they do:
- TA Associates
TA Associates is a global private equity firm that invests in companies in the technology, healthcare, business services, consumer, and financial services sectors. In addition to Boston, TA Associates has offices in Menlo Park, Austin, and London. Investment sizes are in the middle-market to the large-cap range, from $150 million to over $3 billion in enterprise value. Founded in 1968, they have invested in companies such as Vistaprint, Rapid7, and eDreams ODIGEO.
- Bain Capital
Founded in 1984, Bain Capital is one of the largest private equity firms in the world. They invest in a wide range of industries, including consumer, healthcare, financial and business services, industrials, and technology. Some of their notable PE investments include Toys “R” Us, Dunkin’ Brands, and Hospital Corporation of America. Bain Capital is a global firm that makes investments across many different strategies, including Private Equity, Credit, Special Situations, Venture Capital, Real Estate, Public Equities, and more.
- Advent International
Advent International is a global private equity firm that invests in companies across a wide range of industries, including retail and consumer goods, healthcare, and technology companies. The firm was founded in 1984 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts, with additional offices in major financial centers around the world. Advent International had made investments in Lululemon, Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits, and Transaction Network Services.
- Berkshire Partners
Founded in 1986, Berkshire Partners is a sector-focused Private Equity firm focused on middle-market companies in industries such as communications, consumer, healthcare, business services, industrial, and technology. They have invested in over 145 companies in their private equities strategy across 10 funds. Select investments include Aritzia, Carter’s, Hexcel, and Party City. Berkshire Partners also has a public equities strategy called Stockbridge.
- Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners is a private equity firm that invests in growth-oriented middle-market companies in industries such as education, communications, technology, and media. Providence Equity also has a growth-equity fund that invests in similar technology industries and a public equities fund. Founded in 1989, Providence has made 170+ investments across 9 flagship funds and $35 billion+ in capital commitments. Most recently, Providence has been raising its 9th fund of $6 billion. Notable investments include Topgolf, Outfront Media, and Univision.
- Great Hill Partners
Great Hill Partners is a growth-oriented, lower middle-market private equity firm that invests in companies in the healthcare, digital commerce, financial services, and software sectors. Great Hill has raised over $12 billion in capital across 8 funds and 96 companies. Investment sizes range from $25 to $500 million, with enterprise values of less than $1 billion. The fund does both majority and minority stakes and focuses on companies with 15%+ annual growth (growth private equity). Founded in 1998, they have invested in companies such as Wayfair, ZoomInfo, and Billtrust.
- H.I.G Capital
H.I.G. Capital is a global private equity firm that was founded in 1993. The firm manages over $44 billion in assets and has offices in Boston, New York, Miami, and several other cities around the world. H.I.G. Capital invests in middle-market companies across a range of industries, including healthcare, technology, and business services. They have invested in Out West Restaurant Group, Quicken, and VIP Petcare.
- Charlesbank Capital Partners
Charlesbank Capital Partners is a private equity firm that was founded in 1998. The firm manages over $7 billion in assets and invests in middle-market companies across a range of industries, including healthcare, consumer products, and industrial manufacturing. They have invested in The Princeton Review, Wayfair, Del Taco, Papa Murphy’s, and Mediaocean.
- ABRY Partners
ABRY Partners is a private equity firm that specializes in investing in media, communications, and business and information services companies. The firm was founded in 1989 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts, with additional offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London. ABRY Partners has invested in a wide range of companies over the years, including Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and RCN Telecom Services.
- Audax Group
Audax Group is a private equity firm that invests in lower-middle-market companies in industries such as healthcare, business services, and consumer products. Audax also invests in private debt strategies. Audax has a long track record of investments, having invested in more than 2,000 transactions across its two strategies and raising more than $32 billion in capital. They are currently investing out of their 6th fund, with a size of $3.5 billion, with other funds targeting private debt opportunities. Founded in 1999, they have invested in companies such as Guardian Pharmacy, Delta Dental, and Jos. A. Bank.
- Summit Partners
Summit Partners is a growth equity firm that invests in companies in technology, healthcare, and other growth sectors. Founded in 1984, they have invested in exciting growth companies such as Uber, Jamba Juice, and WebEx. In addition to growth equity, Summit invests in venture capital, credit, and public equity strategies. While technically growth equity, Summit Partners is included in this list as they can make large investments, and the lines between Private Equity and Growth Equity have melded in the last few years as deals have become larger.
Due to all the positive financial and recruiting qualities of Boston, many private equity firms and growth-equity firms have decided to call Boston home. Furthermore, for associates, Boston provides a lower cost of living than New York and San Francisco, tends to provide more balanced work lifestyles, and is a great city for sports fans. Further, many Boston-based firms tend to be more consulting-friendly, making a point to hire a certain number of former consultants for their associate classes. If you are in consulting, looking to break into private equity, or looking to live in a lower cost/better lifestyle (objectively) city, Boston firms should be high on your list.
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