Any U.S. mid-market private equity firm that’s seeking a one-man networking machine to set it up with potential buyers, sellers, employees, investment bankers, insurance people, operational executives, M&A attorneys or accounting firms need look no further than the new and first full-time executive director of the New York chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, Robert “Bobby” Blumenfeld. With more than 5,000 industry contacts, Blumenfeld has recently helped people looking for jobs, financing and companies to acquire by dipping into his extensive Rolodex. “I never throw away a name,” Blumenfeld said. “I still get in touch with people I met 15 years ago, and it’s like it was yesterday.”
Through ACG, Blumenfeld has formed relationships with plenty of big names in the industry. Some of the people in his network include Harvey Tepner, a principal at distress specialist
To organize his contacts, Blumenfeld created his own system of categorizing private equity firms by what they are interested in. “So when someone says ‘hey, do you know somebody that does media companies,’ I can go right into my database and say ‘hey, I know John and he likes media companies. You should talk to John, and I’ll send him an e-mail saying you’re going to give him a call,’” said Blumenfeld.
One example of his matchmaking abilities was demonstrated when he met someone from an alternative bank on the West Coast at an ACG event and kept in touch with the person. “Along came a situation that required a $50 million credit facility.” He ended up getting the company into contact with this banker and getting the deal done.
And in a real life fish story about the one that got away, Blumenfeld was facilitating the purchase of $250 million seafood business. “I had originally gotten the deal through someone I had met through ACG, and we worked on it for a long time, but unfortunately the credit market collapsed, along with Iceland. We had raised the money, but some of the banks involved were Icelandic, and they all crashed. So that deal didn’t happen,” he said.
But all the networking Blumenfeld does isn’t just about doing deals. The connections he makes often become personal relationships as well. For example, when an ACG board member, Stuart Gruskin, died after being hit by a bicyclist who was going the wrong way down a one-way street, Blumenfeld visited the family to offer his condolences.
On a happier note, people looking to hire or seeking work often come to Blumenfeld asking for help. He recently had someone in his office who was highly experienced in the newspaper business asking for advice on finding his next job. He left with a handful of names to call.