Boston is a hub for private equity firms, with many top players in the industry headquartered in the city. The city’s close proximity to top universities (Harvard/HBS, MIT, Boston College, etc.) and some of the largest institutional capital bases like pension funds and endowment funds have made Boston a prime location for Private Equity funds outside of New York. For associates, Boston provides a lower cost of living than New York and San Francisco, while still hosting some of the largest and most prestigious firms. Additionally, Boston is a great city for sports fans with the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins. 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 and looking to break into private equity, Boston firms should be high on your list.
Here are some of the top private equity firms in Boston and a brief overview of what they do:
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 service, 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.
Bain takes large associate classes for its Private Equity team in its Boston office, and its candidates are typically from the top investment banking and consulting programs. Bain provides the infrastructure and prestige of a megafund while being in Boston.
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 equity strategy across 10 funds. Select investments include Aritzia, Carter’s, Hexcel, and Party City. Berkshire Partners also has a public equities strategy called Stockbridge.
Berkshire Partners also recruits large associate classes each year, sourcing candidates from both investment banks and top consulting firms. Like Bain, Berkshire Partners tends to be one of the more consulting-friendly private equity firms for associate recruiting.
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.
TA is very highly regarded in the private equity and growth equity sector. Associates tend to have more focus on investing and execution work than other growth equity firms but still have heavy sourcing given the growth equity strategy. TA also hires across investment banking, consulting, and other growth equity and private equity firms.
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 investing in private debt strategies. Audax has a long track record of investments, having invested in 2,000+ transactions across its two strategies and raising $32 billion+ in capital. They are currently investing out of their 6th fund with a size of $3.5B, 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.
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 $25-500 million and 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.
Great Hill has a reputation for having a strong culture and a more manageable work-life balance than other private equity and growth equity firms. Great Hill also sources talent from both top investment banking and consulting firms.
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 equity 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, DoubleVerify, Outfront Media, and Univision.
Though founded in Providence, Rhode Island, the firm has offices in both Boston and New York, as well as a London office. Providence has historically hired four new associates per year in North America, two in New York and two in Providence/Boston. Additionally, they have historically hired straight out of investment banking for their private equity fund. Their growth equity fund hires from investment banking, consulting firms, and other growth equity funds.
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.
Summit Partners recruits from a wide range of backgrounds, including investment banking, consulting, and other private equity and growth equity firms.
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