Pitch Best Young Private Equity Manager 2022: Claire de Jager, Karmijn Kapitaal

Claire de Jager maakt dit jaar kans op de M&A Award voor Best Young Private Equity Manager 2022.

Company: Karmijn Kapitaal 
Job Description: Investment Manager 
Age: 32 

What are the specialties of this talent? 
Claire combines an open view on market trends with sound financial analytical skills, an enormous drive to win and close good deals with a positive and likeable personality. 
Claire is able to discuss business models in detail. She has a creative mindset on deal structuring. Claire is able to negotiate 

transactions while keeping the personal relationships fair and good. Her ability to easily build and maintain relationships really makes the difference and helps us in making sure sellers/entrepreneurs choose for us. Claire creates a trusted environment resulting in an atmosphere of transparency, which has a positive influence on the process of negotiations. 

During negotiations she can put herself in somebody else’s shoes to get the deal done and achieve a fair result. She’s able to make complex matters understandable for people who are not familiar with PE and the dynamics of a transaction. Thereby bridging the gap that often exists between entrepreneurs and PE professionals.  

How does the talent distinguish itself from its peers? 
Claire combines skills and personality in a distinguished way. Whereas often PE professionals of her age focus on the content and leave the process and relationship side to more senior partners, Claire is capable and willing to take it all. 

She is pragmatic and willing to adapt to get the deal done. Knows how to distinguish main and side issues and focusses on important topics rather than details. 

What impact does the talent have within the organization?  
Claire has energy and a winners mentality. Claire is a fighter, very goal oriented. Claire brings cheerfulness to the office. She brings a positive vibe and is a connecting factor within the team. Claire is very grounded. Both as a personality and in her hobbies (hiking, kiting). She is committed and works very hard. This year she worked/works on 3 deals; of which 1 is in closing now, 1 expected closing end of year.   

What impact does the talent have outside the organization?  
Claire is a professional and shows that to the advisors, companies, management and other stakeholders. Claire takes the lead and ownership in deals which results in trustful relationships with the other side of the negotiation table. 

Claire is committed to other women in PE through her involvement in Level20. She is currently organizing a workshop for young women who are considering PE. 

To what extent does the talent make the difference to clients?  
With Claire we bring de Karmijn culture to our clients. Claire shows the good human face of private equity. With genuine interest in the business and the people. Deal structures should be a win-win. 

Below two examples where Claire made the difference: 

In the first example Claire played a crucial role in the pre transaction phase during a competitive auction process. When we were in talks with two relatively young founders, it became clear that they were looking for an investor which could – inter alia – support them in shaping the organization (HR). Claire proposed scheduling an additional meeting with management to discuss this topic. She prepared a workshop about the building blocks of the specific organization, including the role of the founders, and discussed it with them in an interactive manner.   Not only were the founders impressed of her ability to understand their organization so well based on limited information. They also decided to choose for us as an investor because we clearly showed our added value. In doing so, Claire created a safe environment in which even the role of the founders could openly be discussed, which is often a sensitive topic. There were no taboos, and she was able to discuss sensitive topics and potentially drastic measures in a way that didn’t feel threatening or compelling.  

In another transaction, Claire played an important role in keeping the deal on track when we had to amend the structure because of a lagging current trading. She was able to make a difficult topic (reduction of purchase price) negotiable and keep the seller on board. In doing so, Claire was able to explain the rationale from our perspective as an investor and find a balance between the interest of the investor and the seller with respect to the structure of the deal. In the subsequent stage of the transaction, I noticed that the sellers approached Claire when difficult topics arose. As her manager, I confidently give her the space to have such 1-on-1 talks with entrepreneurs/sellers. 

Why does the talent deserve this nomination? 
Claire is both established and still an upcoming talent in the PE world. With that Claire is a good example of the best side of PE industry combining both soft and hard skills in an efficient and goal-oriented manner. Her personality and social skills really make the difference. We recently won a deal that would not have made it to the finish line if it wasn’t for the personal relationship between Claire and the entrepreneur/seller. 

Any references or recommendations from clients or (colleagues)? 
Cilian Jansen Verplanke, Hadewych Cels, Freerk Smit, Niels Molewijk  

In addition we can get references from clients. 

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