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I'm David Subar,
Managing Partner of Interna.


We enable technology companies to ship better products faster, to achieve product-market fit more quickly, and to deploy capital more efficiently.


You might recognize some of our clients. They range in size from small, six-member startups to the Walt Disney Company. We've helped companies such as Pluto on their way to a $340MM sale to Viacom, and on their path to a $1.5B sale to Linkedin.

The Growth Equation - PE Perspectives on Product With Blair Greenberg of Bregal Sagemount

This episode of “The Growth Equation: PE Perspectives on Product” features an insightful conversation with Blair Greenberg, a seasoned investor from Sagemount, known for their strategic growth investments in tech and tech-enabled services. In this discussion, Blair shares Sagemount's approach to building sustainable companies with a focus on long-term success rather than short-term gains. We'll explore how Sagemount leverages strong management alignment and carefully crafted growth plans, supported by their in-depth knowledge of tech investments and emphasis on companies with strong recurring revenues. From the integration of acquisitions to the role of Chief Technology Officers in streamlining spending, Blair provides practical insights into accelerating company growth and the exciting impact of generative AI on the investment landscape. Join us as we uncover the principles that guide Sagemount's investment philosophy and how they achieve remarkable growth with their portfolio companies.

Three things Blair talks about are:

  • How active investors can improve portfolio company success

  • Why short-term EBITDA maximization is the wrong strategy for growth investors and how that helps CTOs and CPOs

  • The preferred profile of CPOs and CTOs for growth equity investments

For more about us: and find more posts like this at 

Don't miss a single episode of “The Growth Equation: PE Perspectives on Product”! Click the links below to follow our podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. You'll get notified as soon as new episodes drop.

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YouTube Podcasts:


00:00 Blair Greenberg, co-founder of Bregal, Sage Mount, started a career at UBS Investment Bank and later joined TCV for fintech investing.

05:13 Steady businesses thrive in any economic climate.

10:09 Good outcomes come from honest, aligned partnerships.

11:56 Deliberate KPIs for acquisition success.

14:25 Key to successful acquisition: organizational, investigative, people-oriented.

17:43 A great product manager stops unproductive projects.

20:53 Sagemount focuses on profitable, growing companies' ROI.

26:00 Questioning decisions, scaling back for a better position.

30:38 AI can reduce transaction costs and replace some tasks.

33:29 Focus on building businesses, and flexible exit timelines.

36:17 We prioritize growth for potential investors.


[00:00:00] David Subar:

Welcome, everybody. Today I talked to Blair Greenberg at Sagemount. I like Sagemount a lot because of the way they think about their portfolio companies. Many PE firms, thankfully not all, but many PE firms think about their hold period and maximizing the profitability at the very end, no matter what happens to the portfolio company, so they can maximize their return. Of course, Sagemount thinks about the return and cares about their return. They should. But what they're thinking about is, how do I build a sustainable and growing company? And so that creates thoughts about the way product management should work. Engineering should work, engineering and product management executives should work.

[00:00:50] David Subar:

And those communication patterns, we're talking about that today with Blair, and I think it'd be interesting for you. Hey, Blair, thanks for being here. Really glad to have you.

[00:01:06] Blair Greenberg:

Thanks for having me.

[00:01:07] David Subar:

So let's start. Tell the audience, tell me a little about your career progression. How did you get here? Tell me about the firm. Let's start there.

[00:01:16] Blair Greenberg:

Sure. So, yeah, Blair Greenberg, I'm one of the co-founders and partners of Bregal Sagemount. Just a quick background on my career. So got my career started at UBS Investment Bank in their financial institutions group. And in fact, we were doing advisory to fintech or financial technology companies before it was even a thing, I think even before the term fintech got coined. So back in the day, I was working with online brokers and electronic trading exchanges and companies like that. And in 2006, I got the opportunity to join a Silicon Valley based fund called Technology Crossover Ventures, or TCV, that was starting an office in New York City and actually looking to staff up around fintech investing. I was with TCV for about seven years and had the great opportunity to invest in some really incredible names in the fintech marketplace.

[00:02:16] Blair Greenberg:

Like I said, did that for about seven years. And then 2012, beginning of 2013, when Sagemount was getting started, the managing partner here, a guy named Gene Yoon, tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I wanted to join this brand new fund that he was starting. And so, pretty exciting opportunity to help build a new firm and kind of a new generation of private equity and growth equity. And so in 2013, left TCV to get things started here at Sagemount.

[00:02:48] David Subar:

So that's interesting. Those are three interesting steps in your career. How are the different firms? How are they different? How do they feel different?

[00:02:59] Blair Greenberg:

Well, a couple of things. So one is, I would say the style of investing is a little bit different. So I would say that in some respects, TCV coming out of Silicon Valley has some sort of late-stage venture DNA and earlier-stage growth equity, whereas Sagemount, I would, I would say, is more purely in the growth equity part of the market and then maybe a little bit of the buyout LBO DNA as well. One I wouldn't say is better or worse than the other. They're just different points along the risk curve in terms of where capital is being allocated into the types of companies that it's being allocated to.

[00:03:41] David Subar:

Got it. We're at an interesting background right now. Does that play differently for Sagemount? How does the world look to you? That's probably a better way to ask the question.

[00:03:58] Blair Greenberg:

Well, yeah, and I guess to get to a little bit of the earlier piece, a lot of the late-stage venture and earlier-stage growth equity firms historically have been paying revenue multiples for businesses that they've been investing in, with the view being that eventually down the road, those companies may become profitable. Whereas here at Sagemount, our DNA has always been focused on the view that we will exit our portfolio companies as profitable. EBITDA multiple type exits. In some respects, I think it's kept us away from some of the potholes that perhaps others have stepped into by paying high revenue multiples for businesses that were burning a lot of money. Look, at the end of the day, I'm sure many of those companies will end up being fine. But for us, again, we've focused on a part of the risk curve that is a little bit lower, or I would say materially lower volatility than big money burners paying high revenue multiples for those companies.

[00:05:05] David Subar:

So congratulations. You guys are designed, you guys are designed for the market as it stands. Sounds like.

[00:05:13] Blair Greenberg:

Yeah, I mean, we kind of, we kind of view it as an all-weather strategy. Right where you're, we're always just looking for businesses that are growing profitable, that are low beta. So a lot of the companies in the portfolio, whether the, you know, GDP is, is up or down, S and P is up or down, those businesses tend to kind of just, you know, click along. So if you look at some of the stuff that, that I cover, I have a software company that focuses on, on facilitating claims for the dental market. Well, if the S and P is up or down, you know, if you need, if you need a cavity filled, you're, you're going to go to the dentist. We've got another business in the portfolio that provides flood insurance to homeowners and to commercial enterprises. Again, whether the S and P is up or down, you need to have flood insurance to make sure that your property is covered in the event of a loss. And so those are the types of businesses that we get excited about, you know, not necessarily something that, you know, my grandmother's going to know what the company does, but, you know, in all likely, and it's not going to be on, you know, the COVID of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, but they're just businesses that are in parts of the economy that just keep clicking along regardless of what's going on on the global macro scene.

[00:06:40] Blair Greenberg:

It's not to say we don't have challenges like every other investor, and not everything goes up into the right all the time. Certainly have our share of challenges. We generally don't get too wrapped up in macro-correlated businesses that can ebb and flow, like EcoM businesses. Some of these things that can be really hot and then not. That's the type of stuff we try to stay away from.

 [00:07:07] David Subar:

So tell me about a couple of the greatest success stories.

[00:07:13] Blair Greenberg:

Well, so let me talk about maybe what, what drives some of the success. And I would say, and then I'll talk about maybe some specific case studies. There's a few things that I think drive success for our investments. So one is a very clear alignment of what we want to do together with the team. So we spend a lot of time upfront, even before we put a term sheet in or anything like that, really talking with a management team about what is your expectation for the business? How would you like to see this progress over the next couple of years and really work together to craft a multi year plan that is pretty specific about what are the growth levers. And it's not to say that that won't change over time and if the market moves in one direction or the other, that we don't recalibrate the plan, but at least having a view once we get started of how we want to grow the business together. 


[00:08:10] Blair Greenberg:

And then second, really working with the team, we have a group here we call growth factors that spend 100% of their time with our portfolio companies, just helping them grow faster. And so bringing those growth factors resources to the portfolio to help them achieve that plan that we've set out together. And we've been fortunate that we've had several good outcomes that have been good case studies in the partnership of setting expectations and then working with growth factors to accomplish that growth plan. So one great case study is a business called dot. We invested in the business. It was a family-owned business, and they really wanted to work with us to expand their payment platform. That was one area that they had, a small nascent business they called loadpay. And they really wanted to work with us on getting that going. And then second, they wanted to do some strategic M and A. 

[00:09:11] Blair Greenberg:

And so over the course of our three-year hold period, we more than tripled the EBITDA of the company. We accelerated the growth. We closed two acquisitions during our hold period and really had a very tight partnership with the team on accomplishing those growth objectives. That was a great outcome for our fund. We had another really interesting one called Discovery data a number of years ago, where two competitors were duking it out in the market and sort of destroying the market, and they ended up coming together to build a really nice product. That was what customers ultimately wanted. And over the course of about two and a half years, we more than tripled EBITDA that business by just having really cogent go to market and a really clear product strategy that, again, growth factors was really instrumental in helping execute on. 

[00:10:09] Blair Greenberg:

So, like I said, I think the good outcomes are the ones that are driven by good partnerships, good upfront expectation setting on both sides. And the ones that have been more challenging, and again, we've had our share of those are the ones where perhaps somebody tells us what they think we want to hear, as opposed to what they actually believe and what they want for the business. And those just tend to be more challenging. Uh, and, and because sometimes if somebody comes to us and says, hey, we really want to do x, y and z, and we look at the business and say, you know, based on what we know about the sector, about the company, about prior investing experience, that might not be the right answer. We just won't, won't bid on something, and that's okay. But I'm always of the view, if people are open and honest with each other right out of the gates, that you have a really high probability of success. It's the mismatched expectations where things tend to get more challenging.

[00:11:04] David Subar:

So both that and the integration, the company, that your two companies merge, those are both really interesting examples. Obviously, the ones that are successful are the most interesting. Integrations are pretty hard. You succeeded, and you'd mentioned product was one of the important things there. Obviously, this podcast, what I think about a lot is a product and engineering. Tell me about the communication with the Chief Product Officer, the Chief Technology Officer, or whatever they're called in those companies. What kind of communication do you like? What do you find to be helpful? And then when there's integrations or tuck-ins, what does that look like?

[00:11:56] Blair Greenberg:

So I'll take that piece first, and then maybe I'll come back to the second one. In terms of good integrations, it's a cross-functional team. You want your accounting team, sales, finance, certainly product, HR. You really want a broad swath of senior leaders at the company that is doing the acquisition, very deeply involved in that acquisition, and not only working on it day-to-day but incentivized to get it right and defining for each of those stakeholders what success means. So from an HR perspective, it's, you know, in X number of days, a certain percentage of the employees should be moved over to our payroll system. Or for the sales team, it's, you know, the analysis of each of the members of the sales team and figuring out how they're going to be woven into the existing sales architecture for product. It's figuring out which products we're going to cross-sell into our existing base versus ones that maybe we're just going to shut down and move those customers over to our existing product. So we really like to have deliberate KPI's for each of those stakeholders so that they understand what success means as it relates to their part of the company.

[00:13:27] Blair Greenberg:

So the acquisitions that have gone well, everyone's kind of rowing in the right direction. And the ones where the integrations kind of fall down is where people just don't have a clear plan or an understanding of what to do. And it's on the board, it's on the CEO and CFO of the company to make sure that the integrations are successful. And so the strong CEOs that build those cross-functional integration teams are the ones that I have found tend to, you know, really have good, good M and A motions.

[00:14:00] David Subar:

So what are the innate skills in that, in that situation? In those situations that a good CTO, a good Chief Product Officer, maybe a good, any good operating executive should possess, like coming into it. Like you need to have this DNA to do well, what does that look like?

[00:14:25] Blair Greenberg:

Yeah. So first, it's certainly just good organizational skills, right? There's a lot of moving pieces when you're doing an acquisition. So from a product perspective, it's really digging into that product, figuring out how it works and more importantly, how it works with your existing product set, what's complementary, what's competitive, what do you want to keep? What do you not want to keep? So really just that investigative mentality to figure out really how to piece these things together and then also the people part of it. If you're a product manager, you're going to rely on some cohort of that existing team or the company that you're acquiring team to keep that product running and then to keep it current. And so there is an element of being sure that you win the hearts and minds of the people on that product team that are going to be joining your company. Because if that team doesn't feel like they're going to be part of the go-forward strategy, they're going to walk out the door. And when you're buying a company, you're not just buying the software in the case of what we typically invest in, you're really buying the team that has built that software. And so it's really important that you retain the right folks.

[00:15:48] David Subar:

That's absolutely, that's absolutely true. You can, you can always hire a whole new team to build the software, but the, startup cost for that people to get up to speed is months, right? Not just getting people on board, even if they show up on board, it's months for them to get up to speed.

[00:16:03] Blair Greenberg:

Yep. Exactly. And at that point you may, you might as well have just built the product from scratch on your own and not done the acquisition at all.

[00:16:11] David Subar:

That's right. That's right. And particularly like what your hold period is. Right. That matters, too. If you've got a cherry or a hold and you got, you waste months, it's a problem. So for some companies, technology is a call center. Some companies, the technology, the product is driving the strategy, driving the company forward.

[00:16:36] David Subar:

I assume the second one is more the model you guys take, but is that always true? And then I got to follow up after that.

[00:16:44] Blair Greenberg:

Yeah. So I take a slightly nuanced view on the way that product spend should be allocated. And that is you have a piece of your product spend that is related to maintaining your existing product. And that's important because it drives retention. The second piece of it is the growth side of the product spend, and that's one that needs to be tied to ROI on a go-forward basis. So if we're going to invest a million dollars in building this new product, it better deliver $10 million in new revenue over the next several years in order to justify that product spend. And so we typically look for an organization that has a healthy balance of both. You want to be sure you're maintaining that product and keeping retention high, but also have green shoots for new growth opportunities down the road.

[00:17:43] Blair Greenberg:

The other piece is that you have to know when something's not working right. So in my view, a great product manager is somebody that can say, we looked at this, we tried it, we thought it was an interesting idea. It's either too expensive to build, so it doesn't fit in the ROI, or there is not enough demand for it, and so we're just going to shut it down. I've seen way too many times where a product manager or a CTO or a CIO doesn't want to come to the CEO or doesn't want to come to the board and say, we can't do this, or we shouldn't do this. And there are times that it's okay to say that it's better to fail cheaply than build this thing that nobody wants, or build something that's going to end up costing so much that the ROI is never going to materialize. And I think with the amount of capital that's been flowing into technology companies, and if you go back over the past few years, this zero interest rate environment that we had for a while, it was tempting to just keep shoveling more money into all these different R and D projects and keep funding them even when there was no ROI. But now that rates are higher, now that there's more scrutiny around a lot of these projects, people need to be willing to say, this is not something we should be spending money on.

[00:19:06] David Subar:

So I'm going to map what you said into like, McKinsey's three horizons model. There's the stuff, right? You follow. You have. So there's the stuff that's driving today's revenues, the green shoots, and there's the R and D. Yep. It sounds like you drive rigor, or ask them to drive rigor into each of the horizons as they map to that model and think about it, are there particular conversations that you ask for or particular ways of filtering technology and product manager executives so you know that they can do that or even, or even some kind of pattern to help help grow them into doing that?

[00:19:52] Blair Greenberg:

Yeah, I would say the very honest answer is there are very few folks that are. That are good at this. It's just, it's not how the industry's been run for many, many, many years. And so it is something that in board meetings we push for and we have conversations about it. We're starting with some of our portfolio companies to implement time-tracking solutions, to understand exactly what different members of the development team are working on at any given moment in order to get a clearer picture of this spend. But historically, even just some of the tools haven't been as widely available as we would like. And some of this is a learned motion for even the developers to really do time tracking and show exactly what they're working on and how long they expect something to take. Because again, in a zero interest rate environment, a lot of investors were not demanding for those types of things.

[00:20:53] Blair Greenberg:

We've solved for it here at Sagemount for several years, really, by looking for profitable, growing companies that, by virtue of their financial profile, were indicative that this motion was in place. But as investors start to scrutinize their R and D budgets more, I think that this is just going to become increasingly important. I think the quality of reporting around it is going to get a lot better. So if you look at a company, you can figure out what the sales team is doing, right. You have quotas, you have call metrics, you have all of these different things that you can track for the sales team, for marketing, you can track, how many dollars did I spend on marketing and what did that generate in terms of leads and sales? But for R and D, which is typically one of the top three line items in a company, that's always been the hardest to quantify what was actually coming out of that. And so, again, we've solved for it by looking at the general financial profile of businesses and looking at product roadmaps and things like that. But we at Sagemount are getting even more rigorous around how we do the tracking to quantify what that ROI is on the spend. But I would say we're probably in the second or third inning of that.

[00:22:14] David Subar:

Yeah, it sounds like, I mean, what you're talking about something that we preach as well, it's about, hey, everything on the roadmap is a bet, and everything on the bet has an expected payoff. And after you release, you have to measure that payoff and evaluate the rest of the roadmap, the same way that salespeople don't say everything is going to close. We have a funnel and we have to get down to this part of the funnel. So it seems like what you're seeing, what we're seeing is that some product groups have that kind of rigor and think about the impact and measure the impact and then reevaluate and look at the portfolio of bets, see if they're driving the company forward, but most don't, correct?

[00:23:00] Blair Greenberg:

Correct. Yeah. I would say less than 10% of them are really proficient at being able to calculate the ROI of all the spend at a project level.

[00:23:14] David Subar:


[00:23:14] Blair Greenberg:

And again, the tools just haven't been there historically. We're starting to see some of those tools now come to market, but it's still relatively early days.

[00:23:23] David Subar:

Yeah. So let's say you're in a situation where you have to hire a new Chief Product Officer, a new Chief Technology Officer, or you're going to clone somebody. You got someone there you're going to clone?

[00:23:39 Blair Greenberg:


[00:23:40] David Subar:

What's that person look like?

[00:23:44] Blair Greenberg

Yeah, I would say there's a couple of attributes. Very, very good communicator in terms of being able to articulate what's going on within their organization. Second is somebody that's a very good planner in terms of being able to know what they want to do and monitor the progress. Progress towards that. Third is a little bit of a kind of dispassionate mentality around if something's not working, just being able to say, let's cut this off, this isn't a good use of spend. And then again, I keep coming back to people, somebody that can attract talent to their team. We want to get good developers, we want to get good product people. And so somebody that has that charisma to attract people to their team, I think is really important.

[00:24:38] David Subar:

Got it. So tell me about a time where you saw a company, I want to do the two sides. I want to do the negative side. First, where you saw a company just start cruising out of bounds of what you wanted, and then you had an early intervention. What does that look like? What kind of clues did you get? How did you push the technology team, the product management team, the company back into the right lane?

[00:25:10] Blair Greenberg:

Yeah. So without naming names. Yeah, I had one where the portfolio company, when we made the investment, we sat down as a group and said, these are some of the bets that we want to go make on the product side of things. And we made a couple of those bets that candidly just weren't working out. And, and so we, we sat down with the team and said, look, we've tried this, we've tried this, we've tried this. These things don't seem to be getting traction with our customers. So we need to step back and, and throttle back on some of this spend and reevaluate what it is our customers actually want. And, in fact, we need to go back to our process to figure out why.

[00:26:00] Blair Greenberg:

Did we even say that these were things that we thought our customers wanted? Were we rigorous enough in the process that we used to determine that these were the bets that we should be making? And ultimately, we did scale back. We picked fewer initiatives, and we cut the development spend by a decent amount. And it happened that the timing of that was pretty appropriate because there were parts of that market that started to hit a downturn as we had throttled back on some of that spend. And so, thankfully, our portfolio company, from a financial perspective, was in a better off position without really seeding any market share because our competitors had continued to spend away and we had throttled back on some of our spend. I think it was just an honest conversation with folks of saying, we all sat down, we locked arms and said these are the things we wanted to go do. We tried to do some of those things. They weren't working. And so now let's pull back and figure out what the next strategy is going to be.

[00:27:10] Blair Greenberg:

So it goes back to what I was saying at the beginning. Let's not just set out a plan and then just charge forward without picking our heads up and figuring out if we're moving in the right direction or not. In this instance, we recognize that we were not moving in the right direction and were able to pull back on spend. And I'm sure if you talk to that management team who owns equity in the company today, they're very thankful that we sat down and had a pretty honest conversation about what was working and what wasn't.

[00:27:41] David Subar:

So that sounds like it could have been a failure, but turned out to be a big win. So congratulations.

[00:27:46] Blair Greenberg:

Let me see. Not done yet.

[00:27:48] David Subar:


[00:27:49]: Blair Greenberg

We're hopeful.

[00:27:51] David Subar:

So I would be negligent if I didn't talk about Gen AI because apparently every conversation in the world has to have Gen AI right now. So large language models, generative AI, other AI techniques. Is that changing your world of how you think about investment? I'm guessing it's changing the world for some of the portfolio companies. Is it do the same thing just with different technology, or do you think about things differently?

[00:28:22] Blair Greenberg:

So, yes to all. So first, it is causing us to look at certain companies and say that they will be replaced by Genai. We're not going to spend any time with that type of company. And so that in some respects is saving us some time. Second is there are some companies that we think from a revenue perspective will be able to generate incremental revenue because of Genai. So as an example, I was mentioning the dental software company. We have a lot of data around claims and things like that, where we still have to be very careful of HIPAA and PIi regulations, but we can, on an anonymized basis, use some of that data to derive insights through AI. That was a revenue opportunity that didn't exist for that company 24 months ago.

[00:29:17] Blair Greenberg:

But now that these tools have become much less expensive, much more available, it now creates new revenue opportunities that we didn't have before. Then the last bucket is, are there companies that we can invest in that can generate incremental margin by reducing their reliance on headcount, by moving some of that to generative AI? We have multiple companies in the portfolio that I would characterize as tech-enabled services that are going to be more tech because they can now use AI to serve some of the automatable functions that humans were doing. So I think there are certainly some companies it's taking away opportunity for, but there's many more where I think it's creating a lot of interesting opportunity for what we focus on.

[00:30:11] David Subar:

Does it also, you describe some of your selection criteria changing because of that? Are there tools that you're using or that you think firms like yours should use in order to filter the companies or evaluate the companies when they're in their portfolio inside your company, inside your firm?

[00:30:38] Blair Greenberg:

Not yet. We've certainly toyed with the idea of loading all of our investment memos and all of the deal memos into some type of LLM and having it tell us the answer. I don't think the data is good enough or the technology is there to replace an investment professional, thankfully for myself. But I do think that there are areas where AI will either reduce the cost of us doing transactions in terms of some of the elements of the due diligence, where a human being may have had to sit and read thousands of pages of documents. We can load that into an LLM and have it answer some pointed questions that we typically ask around those types of, types of documents. I think there's some opportunity there and then being able to use the technology to decipher trends in the customer base in terms of revenue retention or customer satisfaction. We can also probably use those tools to figure out those, you know, going forward. But I wouldn't say it's, it's, we've been implemented any of that yet, but those are certainly some of the ideas we've been thinking through.

[00:31:56] David Subar:

Okay, let me, let me, let me reverse, reverse the questions. I'm a CTO or Chief Product Officer, maybe any executive and works one of your portfolio companies. What do I need to know about the nature of your, the way you guys work hold times generically? What would make sense for me to know about besides how to do my.

[00:32:22] Blair Greenberg:

Craft in terms of how do we work with companies and sort of the timeline with which we help them grow? 

[00:32:31] David Subar:

Is that exactly. Exactly like, hey, this one's got a three-year-old period. I need to think differently about how I'm investing because we need to. So some kind of ROI, some kind of IRR on the outside or here's the way, here's the way LP's and GPS work together and that creates an effect or it doesn't create an effect. What kind of thing do the operating executives need to know?

[00:32:55] Blair Greenberg:

Yeah. So, in general, I would say our hold periods are fairly standard for the growth equity and private equity industry. On average, we're holding companies for about three and a half years, and typically we exit to a myriad of different acquirers. So sometimes we're selling to other growth equity or private equity funds, sometimes we're selling to strategics, sometimes we're taking companies public then. So really, it's kind of open in terms of what the ultimate exit outcome is. 

[00:33:29] Blair Greenberg:

The way we think about it is build great businesses and the exits will take care of themselves. In terms of the timeline, the three, three and a half, four, five years, it's not set in stone. Generally, we target that three to four years, because in the first year of the investment, we're really starting to work with the management team on implementing these growth strategies. In year two, we're really starting to perfect them. And then in year three is when you begin to prepare for a sale process or an exit process. And then that exit process sometimes happens in between years three and four. But sometimes there's lots of opportunities. And so we want to take two years implementing those growth strategies. 

[00:34:18] Blair Greenberg:

And so something will push into year four or five, or sometimes we stub our toe and make a mistake, and that also can elongate the timeline. So we're constantly looking at the market to figure out when is the right time to exit. And sometimes you look at a market like even a year ago, where multiples were down, and we looked at our companies and said, we don't have to sell anything. Let's just wait for a better environment to sell. And so sometimes we'll just wait, because, again, our management teams are owners, shareholders in the businesses as well. So what's good for us is also good for them from an exit perspective.

[00:35:03] David Subar:

But as a CTO or Chief Product Officer, is there anything that I might need to know that I didn't learn through my career? Because I came up as an engineer, then I was a manager, a director, or I was a product manager, and largely, and then CPO, and I'm not familiar with the economic terms, the timeline terms. Are there anything that I should learn or I should know? How do I think about that?

[00:35:26] Blair Greenberg:

Yeah, as it relates to Sagemount, I would actually say the answer is no. And here's why. If the investors are going in and tinkering with product timelines and deliverables, that is sort of engineering a company that outside of long-term success. Right. So we want to be good sellers of companies. So it's important to us that there's always a robust pipeline of new product initiatives, of growth opportunities for the company. And so we're not a fund that's going to come in and say, all right, for the first three years we're going to invest in all these products and then we're just going to cut all growth spend and just run it for cash. 

[00:36:17] Blair Greenberg: 

That's not what we do. Because by the way, that doesn't create a good outcome for the next investor who has to restart those growth initiatives. And so it will lower the multiple for the business. Any good growth investor, when they're looking at investing in a company, they want to see a pipeline of, of things that will give them incremental growth on a go-forward basis. Otherwise, they're just investing in a flat annuity, and a flat annuity trades at a much lower multiple than a growing company. And so we really like to be sure that there are plenty of growth levers for the next investor, because the worst thing we can do is be bad sellers, because if we squeeze every dollar of EBITDA out of the product organization and then we get a reputation of doing that, nobody's ever going to want to buy businesses from us again. So we really like to be known as good sellers. 

[00:37:08] Blair Greenberg: 

And look, I'm happy to say that when we've sold businesses before, the next group often does very, very well on the companies that they bought from us. So as a product person, I think the goal should always be to have a balance of making sure that the product that is generating the free cash flow for the business is stable, is maintained, is competitive in the market, and that there is a robust pipeline of growth initiatives behind that that can be to the benefit of the next investor.

[00:37:45] David Subar:

I should ask you this question upfront. I'm a portfolio company, a potential portfolio company. I'm looking for investment. What's the perfect kind of company who should be approaching you?

[00:37:57] Blair Greenberg:

The types of companies that we're investing in are pretty broad range in terms of tech and tech-enabled services, but our primary underwriting criteria is recurring revenue. So all of our portfolio companies, when we wake up on January 1 every year, we know that we have 90, 95, 100, 110% of the revenue we had into the new year from the same customers we had last year. Revenue retention. Customer retention is something we really focus on. And then typically, we're investing in profitable companies or at worst, kind of break even. And then we typically invest in businesses that are roughly 15 to 20 million of revenue on the low end all the way up to, in the hundreds of millions on the high end.

[00:38:47] David Subar:

Great. Great. So if someone wants to get a hold of you, how do they get ahold of you? What's the best way?

[00:38:53] Blair Greenberg:

Go to our website,, and all the contact info for all the, all the folks on our team is right there.

[00:39:00] David Subar:

Great. Excellent. Well, thank you, Blair. This was great and I appreciate you doing this, and talk to you again soon.

[00:39:08] Blair Greenberg:

Thank you so much. Appreciate it.


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