I was tidying up the bookshelves this evening and came across a real vintage piece, some serious nostalgia: a 1998 edition of the Australian Venture Capital Guide.
In truth, at least by today's standards, Australian private equity barely existed back then. It's disconcerting to reflect on how much has changed in just 12 quick years. This was before Pacific Equity Partners, before Ironbridge, before Quadrant, and long before global firms like KKR and CVC arrived. This was before Australian law firms had private equity specialists, before the accounting firms had TS divisions, and before any of the local banks had proper financial sponsors teams.
We were still a bunch of learning-on-the-job venture capitalists. Only a handful of firms had actually used debt in a PE deal. Get this: of the 87 firms that claimed to be venture capitalists, only 14 had more than $100m under management . . . and some of them were stretching the truth!
Just five real private equity firms from 1998 are still in business today: Advent, Archer (GS Equity), Catalyst, Equity Partners and CHAMP (Aussie Mezz).