WHU Private Equity
Conference 2016

Save The Date:
MARCH 22 & 23, 2018


Previous Year's Topic

Growth Driver of the New Normal? – Exploring the Impact of Alternative Investments on Innovation and Economic Growth

In today’s economy, with interest rates at all-time lows and central banks exploring unseen measures to fuel economic expansion, an increasing number of companies face notably less growth compared to pre-crisis levels. Mature markets seem to be saturated and the slowdown of the Chinese and other emerging economies paint a murky outlook for years to come. Traditional investments consequently present investors with limited opportunities for alpha paired with higher risk, fueling investments in alternative assets including Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Real Estate, thereby causing yields to narrow across all asset classes.

On the flipside, innovative start-ups such as Uber, Airbnb, and Transferwise are disrupting proven business models and are capturing markets that were formerly inaccessible or left unidentified by incumbents. Moreover, Autonomous Driving and other up-and-coming technological innovations are poised to provide for major market and growth opportunities but it yet remains unclear, who will be the first to tap into these markets and gain foothold as the dominant player. For Alternative Investors, these business models could postulate substantial opportunities but how does one differentiate the next Uber from a billion Euro write-off?

Apart from unidentified needs in mature societies, companies should also look to markets that are currently underserved. Particularly societies in Africa and India are still growing at rates surpassing mature economies multiple fold. Numerous Private Equity investors have already identified the potential looming in these markets and have successfully established innovative businesses, thereby also creating significant value for the economy and society as a whole.

Where established corporate strategies fail or lack the expertise to execute the right ideas, alternative investors often find solutions that transform their investments into more innovative, faster growing companies, thus benefiting customers, employees, investors, and the economy. Especially Venture Capital investors – by providing scalable business models with the necessary funding and expertise – give rise to transformative businesses such as Uber and the likes. Will this trend continue, leading to PE & VC investments ultimately becoming the key driver of economic growth in the New Normal? What role will Hedge Funds and Asset Managers play and will the drought in IPOs vanish eventually?

Questions we would like to address during the upcoming conference include:

  • How do Alternative Investors identify and drive growth opportunities and what role will technological innovation play?

  • What role will Emerging Markets play in investment strategies and how can existing business models be leveraged to cater to EM needs?

  • Social investing – Can you do well by doing good?

  • Venture Capital funding – A pill you should swallow?

  • IPO market at 20-year low – Have public markets been replaced by private funding?

  • Buy-Side vs. Sell-Side – Should aspiring students join a fund straight out of school?