Data Hunters: Ann, as a Founder of Pepper what do you think the biggest opportunity in the Secondaries market is? How is Pepper tackling that?
Ann: There is such exciting growth in the Secondaries industry, with the average asset manager/fund less than 10 years old. As deal-flow continues to increase and managers enter into more sophisticated transactions, we are seeing a great increase in a search for technology and frustration with tools that are not specifically tailored to this segment, which can’t capture and organize data at the many levels involved, specifically the deal level. Pepper anticipated this when our platform was designed, so we address deal-flow with a CRM designed for asset managers, a platform that brings previously siloed information together for faster and deeper insights, and a cloud based system, so that we stay ahead of the curve with integration of new technology. Pick your favorite applicable sports metaphor – we keep our eye on where the ball is going, not where it is currently.
Data Hunters: Data has become the watchword in so many areas of business and technology. Tell us your view about data and its application to Asset Management in general.
Ann: The Asset Manager has become a sophisticated data manager, especially in the Secondaries industry. The key is to have the right tools to control your data in a way that give you leverage, rather than be controlled by your data and your out of date tools. Data has zero value if it is not integrated, providing context, if it is not organized, providing aggregation, and if it is not standardized, providing speed and deeper insights.
Data Hunters: With the complexities in deal flow, regulatory environments, and the fastest moving markets in history, what are the challenges that Secondaries firms will hit not just in 2022 but 2025 and beyond?
Ann: Speed in which they are able to communicate results and transparency. As liquidity continues to explode through the Secondaries market, and other segments such as private credit and venture capital join this market, the ability to produce ROI and other insightful reports instantaneously, and to produce transparency
Data Hunters: What is the best way to partner with your customers? How do you learn together and grow together?
Ann: The key is to listen, listen, listen – both to the buzz and developments in the customer’s industry and in technology, to be able to educate the customer, and to listen intently to the customer and their needs. You really need both of these in order to progress together and add continuing deep value. We need to partner with customers and not think of ourselves a vendor.
Data Hunters: Do you have a mentor you rely on for your work at Pepper? Can you share more about her or him?
Ann: I have several who have inspired me – a couple common characteristics are their constant focus on learning, their ability to make adjustments in order to grow, and their commitment to helping the customer grow their own business. Flexibility, ownership of mistakes, and the mindset to use failures as powerful insights have been a common theme that I have learned.
Data Hunters: Sorry to ask but going with a hackneyed question….write Pepper’s 2024 headline. What does it look like?
Ann: “Asset Allocators Demand that GP’s use AssetTech platform Pepper’s Solution, Citing Transparency as Key”
Ann Eberle Thomas is Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Pepper.
Ann has spent her career as a trusted partner to senior business leaders who need to implement a playbook for sustained growth. She is a bridge builder and veteran deal negotiator who helps integrate all aspects of an organization. A high accountability professional, Ann has 20 years of experience in financial services, with a focus on thought leadership and cultivating relationships key to managing successful outcomes.
Ann holds an LL.M-Tax from New York University Law School. She received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and a B.A. in Political Science at Marquette University.