Being a master of disguise and intrigue, First Round often manages to wangle its way inside private equity firms’ annual LP meetings. Upon arrival, it has a very specific plan of action. No, not to network furiously or eavesdrop on confidential chit-chat. That’s for the proper journalists. For this magazine intro sections, the key is to eat as much food and nab as many freebies as humanly possible before the inevitable defenestration.
First Round fondly imagines that some LPs must take a similar view of such events. It’s seen the glazed look in the eyes of some of those at the back of the auditorium, who’ve just got off a red-eye from Nebraska and are desperately trying to stay awake through the third hour of the managing partner’s review of leveraged debt maturities.
So it was somewhat horrified to discover recently – courtesy of an article in peHUB – that at a recent LP meeting, the Carlyle Group made use of ‘smart’ name badges that allowed the firm to track LPs’ movements around the event, supposedly to get a better understanding of their preferences.
Now as it turned out, attendees had been warned about this little experiments so they could opt out if necessary – and the badges only worked in the rooms where sessions were being. So the hysterical reaction was maybe a little over the top.
Nonetheless, First Round can’t condone this kind of behaviour. Never mind the privacy concerns; how is it supposed to nick all the good stuff when Big Brother is watching?