Heath Wilson is launching his newest business platform with more momentum than he did when he co-founded eVestment with Jim Minnick and Matt Crisp 16 years ago.
“When we started the business we really didn’t have anything. We started with a group of consulting firms that wanted to standardize and become more efficient in how they secure information,” said Wilson, describing his company’s initial push to standardize the analysis of asset managers for institutional investors and their consultants.
EVestment’s latest venture aims to perform a similar service, but specifically for private market fund managers. The company’s new product, TopQ, is designed to ease the distribution of information between private market general partners and new or existing fund investors.
TopQ will enable GPs and LPs to distribute and receive private market investment data from a single platform. The platform, which already has backing from consultants like NEPC, Pension Consulting Alliance, Russell Investments and RVK, will create something of a one-stop shop for LPs looking for due-diligence information on new funds.
Their backing means eVestment is “coming at this with a bit more leverage than we had when we started the business,” Wilson told Buyouts.
As opposed to other publicly available data providers, many of which publicize overall performance information about individual funds, “we’re getting the actual track record details, underlying cash flows, operating data, etc.,” Wilson said. “We’re not trying to build a directory. There are plenty of public sources of data available.”
Here’s how it works: EVestment solicits GPs to provide TopQ with data about their fund portfolios, breaking down performance by factors like geography, sector and deal attribution. EVestment’s clients then tap TopQ to evaluate the firms as they consider or advise on new commitments. Meanwhile, the PE firms retain control and visibility over what data is provided and to whom.
GPs “are having to respond to data requests from any interested party, [and] right now they’re having to do that on a one-by-one basis,” Wilson said, adding that the current dynamic makes for a “very chaotic marketplace.”
In that sense, TopQ will function as a stoplight junction for the data flow between GPs and LPs.
“We really believe that this is a general-partner-friendly approach. Rather than cull through websites or FOIA, we’re asking the manager and letting them control the data. And we think that changes the game in terms of how they view us as a partner,” Wilson said.
Action Item: eVestment: www.evestment.com
Cloud computing and computer networking concept. Photo courtesy ©iStock/baranozdemir