Private Equity Firm Size
When we think of private equity, most of us tend to think of largest firms, like Carlyle, Bain, Warburg Pincus, Advent International, KKR, HarbourVest Partners, General Atlantic, H.I.G. Capital, Blackstone in the U.S. Or, perhaps we think about some of the largest firms outside the U.S. – EQT Partners, CVC Capital Partners, Hg Capital and Bridgepoint. These are all big names and very successful firms within the private equity industry.
However, what most people do not realize is that these firms are in the minority. They capture a lot of the news headlines and the media spotlight precisely because they are large. But the reality is, most private equity firms are quite small.
Private Equity Firms
At PrivateEquityInfo.com, we track the universe of senior-level private equity executives with titles of Vice President and higher. Statistics from our M&A research database show the median number of executives at a private equity firm is surprisingly only five. Another way to say this…
half of the private equity firms have five or fewer senior level executives at the firm.
- 75% of private equity firms have 8 or fewer senior-level executives
- 90% of the firms have 16 or fewer senior-level executives.
Private Equity Executives
The graph below shows the total number of senior-level PE executives employed as a function of the number of executives at each firm. This is a metric of team size across the industry, which is surprisingly smaller than most people think.
Here’s an example to help interpret this chart… the tallest bar on the left side of this chart is for those PE firms that employ 8 executives. For this column, the data shows 1,376 PE executives are employed at firms with exactly 8 executives.
- Half of the senior executives across the private equity universe are employed by firms with 16 or fewer executives.
- The largest firms, those with more than 100 senior executives (like those mentioned at the beginning of this post), collective employ ~6% of the senior private equity professionals.