Off-duty: Trilantic North America’s Kristin DePlatchett on soccer, cage diving with sharks and a term LPs hate

The hurly-burly of the soccer field helped prepare DePlatchett for private equity: 'It taught me how you can be hyper-competitive and love to win, but still be collaborative and work well in a team system.'

Buyouts’ Off-duty provides a snapshot of top investors, including a few details about what they do when not chasing deals.

Kristin DePlatchett, a partner with Trilantic North America, has had not one but two colorful careers.

Early on, she was a professional soccer player. At the University of North Carolina, she played on the women’s soccer team, winning two NCAA National Championship titles while studying economics and business administration (graduating Phi Beta Kappa). She was subsequently drafted to play professionally for the Atlanta Beat of the Women’s United Soccer Association.

Today, DePlatchett is head of investor relations at Trilantic, a growth-focused mid-market private equity firm. Previously, she was an LP, starting out in 2006 at Fort Washington Capital Partners Group and next working in several executive roles at StepStone Group. Before joining Trilantic, she founded and led Kraken Capital, a bespoke solutions provider to LPs and GPs.

The hurly-burly of the soccer field helped prepare DePlatchett for private equity. “It taught me how you can be hyper-competitive and love to win, but still be collaborative and work well in a team system,” she told Buyouts.

Where is your hometown?

I grew up in Harborcreek, a suburb of Erie, Pennsylvania.

If you weren’t in PE, what job would you like to have?

Working for the travel company Backroads, helping to scout new potential locations for hiking trips.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

Escaping the city to hike or play golf, playing doubles squash as much as possible and skiing.

What book are you reading right now?

Influence is Your Superpower, by Zoe Chance.

What is your favorite song, album, performer or music genre?

I have eclectic taste in music and appreciate Spotify’s “Go to radio” option. My top songs of 2021 were by artists like Taylor Swift, The National, The Black Keys, Sylvan Esso, Fleet Foxes, INXS, The Rolling Stones, Chris Stapleton and Janet Jackson.

What is your favorite place for a vacation, sanctuary or a place to explore? 

The most spectacular place I’ve ever vacationed is sub-Saharan Africa. I spent a month there and Sossusvlei in Namibia was probably my favorite. South Africa’s Camps Bay was also amazing: incredible hiking, cage diving with great white sharks (one of my life goals) and excellent food and wine. My favorite sanctuary is visiting my sister, nephew and Frankie and Esso (miniature bernedoodles) on the west side of Cleveland.

Who in your career do you regard as a mentor?

Charlie Ayres and Danny James, who run our firm, have become my mentors over the past few years.

They’ve built a firm with an incredible culture that blends uncompromising humanity with equally uncompromising results. We’ve been disciplined investors during a very frothy time in the market and feel well-prepared to navigate the current market downturn that is bringing valuations back to rational levels. We’ve also created more than 26,000 jobs across our portfolio companies, and I genuinely like the people I work with.

Professionally, what was your toughest moment?

Figuring out what to do with my life when my soccer career ended. I played collegiate and professional soccer – soccer was 99 percent of my focus from the time I was 12 until 23. Colleges really need to add “How to think about your professional career” as required curriculum.

What was your most rewarding moment?

Joining Trilantic North America to lead investor relations.

I’m not a pure-play salesperson. I’m a former LP with an analytical mindset, which brings intentional alignment to how we build new LP relationships. We’ve got a great story that many LPs in the market don’t understand well: we are creative and flexible investors and have developed an excellent reputation with our management teams. It’s the kind of job where I don’t have to spin anything because I’m genuinely proud of our returns and our efforts to be leaders in gender equity in private markets.

We’re launching a partnership with the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business in 2023 called the Gender Equity Consortium and have a Founders Council where nine of 11 members are women. I feel lucky to interact with these fantastic business leaders (the men are awesome too).

I started in private equity in 2006 and have had endless conversations around “Where are all senior women leaders in private equity?” for 16 years. We’re taking concrete actions to promote women’s leadership and entrepreneurship, and we see it yield great results. Not only are the brightest women in the industry joining our team, but we see it give us an edge with founder-owned businesses that care deeply about gender equity.

What PE buzz words or jargon do you hate most?

“Proprietary deal flow”: This was a pet peeve of a former boss. There is nothing better than doing a “Control + F” for “proprietary deal flow” in a 100-page investment memo on a private equity fund to remind you that LPs hate, hate, hate this term.

What advice would you give a young person interested in a PE career?

Find a team that’s a cultural fit employing a strategy you believe in. And think about how that team and strategy have fared when things got tough. You learn the most about people when they face adversity.

What word or phrase best describes you?

Resilient. Figure out what you want in life and go after it. If you stay after it, you might eventually get it.