June 1, 2023


Business leisure

Rely on and conversation are key when navigating the globe of non-public fairness

IN the fiscal environment, information is electric power, so interaction with her staff and shoppers is the hinge around which substantially of Laura Dillon’s day revolves.

“My day-to-day work is quite diverse, but I do commit quite a great deal of my time speaking to business homeowners, founders, loved ones-run enterprises, and entrepreneurs, to see regardless of whether we, at Waterland, could be fantastic associates to assistance them grow their firms and to help them with their advancement ambitions,” Ms Dillon suggests.

Waterland also prepares facts for individuals conferences, such as analyses of the marketplaces in which they operate, as well as the construction and place of the business operations.

“We also evaluate whether there are any other related, or complementary, firms in the current market that could reward from consolidation — either via new acquisitions or through our huge community of firms we have all through Europe that could support support their growth,” she claims.

As an unbiased personal-fairness expenditure team that supports entrepreneurs with substantial financial resources and sector skills, the corporation enables its portfolio providers to attain accelerated advancement, both of those organically and via acquisitions. 

Acting as an energetic shareholder in its portfolio providers, Waterland plays a critical job in their strategic and operational improvement, progress, and general performance, and has designed investments in 650 corporations.

Ms Dillon, principal and head of the Irish staff, says: “I joined in March 2020, just as we all went into the 1st lockdown.” 

Covid-19 has absolutely manufactured us realise that we can do a lot a lot more factors remotely than expected.

Whilst movie conferencing is efficient — and the decreased travel has benefited the environment — it is not the very same as in-particular person meetings. The curtailment of vacation, countrywide and international, is an impediment to creating own interactions.

“The lack of facial area-to-encounter meetings is a challenge across the 4 corners of Ireland, where we are functioning, this kind of as from Belfast to Cork and Galway to Dublin,” Ms Dillon states. “When we are authorized to travel again, we program to, with any luck ,, fulfill organizations in each individual county in Ireland.”

Laura Dillon.

Laura Dillon.

On the additionally side, lockdown economics have engendered a broader see of potential marketplaces: “In phrases of Eire, as a country we’ve been very versatile and incredibly entrepreneurial in how we are operating.

“The existing atmosphere permits us to open up much more export chances, as persons realise that staying separated by sea is not a huge barrier any more.”

Prior to joining Waterland, Ms Dillon was a principal at Riverside Europe Associates in London, getting previously been co-founder and CEO at DSI Distribution Answers, a leading healthcare distribution enterprise in the Irish current market. 

She commenced her vocation as a system advisor with McKinsey & Enterprise, and also worked for Smart Finance, the web bank of HBOS Plc. She holds an MBA diploma from Harvard Business enterprise College and a bachelor’s diploma in chemical engineering from University School Dublin.

In the yr considering the fact that opening its Dublin office environment, Waterland has observed an increase in the quantity of firms and industries hunting for capital and skills to assist their foreseeable future growth.


“In certain, we are very interested in businesses related with tendencies in ageing populations, outsourcing and digitisation, sustainability, and leisure and luxurious,” Ms Dillon claims. 

“We are checking out a selection of distinct options in sectors Ireland has a foremost intercontinental profile in, these as production and engineering, pharma, IT, food items and beverage, and company and specialist solutions.”

Waterland has experienced engagement from corporations, both equally SME and entrepreneur, in every single county.

“Unfortunately, the downside, at minimum for the instant, is that we just can’t physically meet them,” Ms Dillon states. “Munster, in specific, has been really energetic, with sectors these kinds of as production, engineering, IT, and business products and services currently being genuinely buoyant at the moment.

“We do definitely have an understanding of the limits of traditional financing designs and how difficult it can be for great management teams to develop at the price they want to.”

The Waterland model is about supporting company house owners and administration teams to establish strategic alternatives and to execute these designs to accelerate their expansion, organically and by acquisitions.

Brexit troubles

“Brexit is surely producing worries in the shorter-term, specially as the Uk is our biggest trading companion,” Ms Dillon states. “However, I feel it will make Eire a stronger country in the extended-term, as we type nearer investing relations with continental Europe.

“We are previously looking at this materialise, owing to the sheer scale of the chances that Europe provides, which include prospects from the US and Asia.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean the British isles will stop to be significant to us. It will just mean that our reliance will shift.”

In outlining Waterland’s very long-term aims, Ms Dillon factors to Ireland’s significantly competitive enterprise ecosystem and companies getting ready to mature at a ideal fee.

“For us, the Irish market place is one particular loaded with entrepreneurial corporations that are typically loved ones-run and all set for the up coming move in their development — these are the opportunities that most excite us. I’m conversing to individuals across multiple sectors, and it is actually about discovering company homeowners to lover with to enable mature more rapidly than they could on their own,” Ms Dillon suggests.

Development programs

“We have big ambitions and want to locate Irish corporations that share our ambition and wish to support their progress strategies.”

Ms Dillon details to the solid entrepreneurial spirit in Ireland, which underpins its expansive ambitions: “You just have to have to seem at the selection of good businesses who assisted through the global pandemic by diversifying, and transforming the likes of production services and laboratories into screening and Covid-response production assets,” she claims.

A lifetime-very long sailor, in 1992 Ms Dillon won silver at the Optimist Environment Championships, and 4 many years afterwards took bronze at the Youth Entire world Championships, and became the only woman sailor to get the Irish Helmsman’s Championships in its 60-year background.

“I do however sail competitively,” Ms Dillon says. “For the earlier ten years, I’ve sailed with a Dutch team of eight and I’m blessed enough to helm a 41-foot classic boat. This has specified me a truly great perception into the Dutch mentality, which is specifically useful, as Waterland is initially a Dutch corporation.”

There are also strong parallels between sailing and small business, she states:

You have to trust the overall crew and concentrate on your own activity, whilst allowing for everyone else to excel in their roles.

“Across both equally, you have to offer with a amount of aspects all at once,” Ms Dillon claims. “Some you can manage, other individuals you are unable to. You also have to believe about the method and the end objective: What is the wind performing? What are my competition carrying out?

“From an operational point of view, you have to continue being centered on how to make your boat go as quickly as achievable and in the suitable direction.”

Regardless of these uncertain and challenging situations, Ms Dillon stays optimistic.

“Times of uncertainty create volatility, but a lot of option, far too,” she suggests. “It is all about wondering ahead and figuring out how to very best position your self to maximise the opportunities.

“The earlier yr has posed several challenges, but we want to don’t forget that matters could be a whole lot even worse, so we have to glimpse at the positives.”