Private equity in New York City is a long way from Iowa, where Stephanie Geveda grew up in a third-generation farming family.
But Geveda has kept the values and lessons from her childhood throughout her career and into her biggest move yet, launching her own firm, Coalesce Capital.
“There are a lot of honest, hard-working people in Iowa with very little pretense – and it’s those values that resonate and have helped me develop trust and rapport with management teams and entrepreneurs,” Geveda says.
Her focus has been on business services investments, which she led at Warburg Pincus, where she worked for 12 years. Investments she worked on included Aramark, Grubhub/Seamlessweb, WEX among many others.
“I’m at the point of my life where I can devote the remainder of my career to running a substantial business. It’s not something you can build in a short period of time. But it’s a very exciting time”
She’ll continue that focus at Coalesce. “Human capital is the most important driver of company success. The need to embrace the power of technology to empower human capital has never been more acute than it has been following the challenges brought about by covid,” Geveda says.
Her career started while studying at the University of Notre Dame (where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in three years.) A professor recommended her to a former student who worked at Morgan Stanley. Geveda was then invited to New York City, and started her career in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division as part of its M&A Group.
“Back then, private equity was a much less mature industry. I could count on two hands the others in my analyst class who were excited to try out a career in the asset class,” Geveda says.
After graduating from Harvard Business School and two decades working in private equity, Geveda embarked on her latest challenge: launching a new shop in a rocky environment. “I’m at the point of my life where I can devote the remainder of my career to running a substantial business. It’s not something you can build in a short period of time. But it’s a very exciting time, and there is a lot of potential in value creation right now,” Geveda says.
Part of her mission in launching Coalesce is to encourage women to enter and advance in the private equity space. “I hope to showcase what is possible. I hope this inspires young women,” she says, adding that intellectual curiosity is the principal trait she looks for when hiring.
“Successful investing requires thinking in new and different ways that may lead to finding new frontiers for growth,” she says. “Historically, when I have noticed something that has piqued my curiosity, I have always tried to lean into that curiosity and dig deeper, which has differentiated me as an investor and partner.”
She also has launched Coalesce Capital while juggling the many demands as the mother of four children – the oldest of whom are twin girls. “I have a really good support system and my husband is a big part of that equation,” Geveda says.