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General Atlantic

American growth equity firm investing more than 40 years ago. Continuing to seek investments that drive global growth.
General Atlantic
Leadership team

William E. Ford  (CEO )

Anton Levy  (Co-President )

Gabriel Caillaux  (Co-President )

Martín Escobari  (Co-President)

Jonathan Korngold ( Global Head of Financial Services )

Paul Stamas  (Global Head of Healthcare)

Number of Employees
100 - 500
Headquarters
New York, New York, United States
Established
1980
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Summary

General Atlantic is a global growth equity investor that specializes in investing in fast-growing companies across various sectors. The company focuses on four main sectors: consumer, financial services, healthcare, and technology. Within these sectors, General Atlantic looks for companies with proven business models and strong revenue growth potential.

The investment approach of General Atlantic involves actively partnering with portfolio companies and providing them with stable and flexible capital. They aim to be an active lead investor with significant minority ownership in order to work closely with management teams and drive meaningful outcomes.

One notable aspect of General Atlantic's structure is its stable capital base, which sets it apart from traditional private equity funds. This allows them to invest patiently and independently in fundraising cycles. The capital base of General Atlantic is primarily composed of entrepreneurial and philanthropic families, which reinforces the company's long-term approach to investing.


History

General Atlantic has a rich history that spans over four decades. The firm was founded in 1980 as the captive investment team within Atlantic Philanthropies, a philanthropic organization established by Charles F. Feeney, the co-founder of Duty-Free Shoppers Ltd. The initial purpose of General Atlantic was to manage the investment portfolio of Atlantic Philanthropies and generate returns to support the organization's philanthropic efforts.

In its early years, General Atlantic focused on investments in sectors such as computer software, oil and gas exploration, real estate, and retailing. The firm's first major investment success came with United Health Services, which tripled in value within three years.

Under the leadership of CEO Edwin Cohen, a former partner of McKinsey & Company, and founding member Steven A. Denning, also from McKinsey & Company, General Atlantic began to expand its funding sources beyond Atlantic Philanthropies. The firm started attracting investments from other family offices, foundations, and endowments. This allowed General Atlantic to broaden its investment scope and pursue new opportunities.

As the firm's funding sources expanded, General Atlantic also started exploring international expansion. In 1999, the firm opened its first overseas office, marking the beginning of its global presence. Over the years, General Atlantic established offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, creating a network of 14 offices worldwide.

William (Bill) E. Ford joined General Atlantic in 1991 and has played a significant role in the firm's growth and success. He became the Chairman and CEO of General Atlantic and has been instrumental in shaping the firm's investment strategy and guiding its strategic direction.

General Atlantic has continuously evolved and adapted to market dynamics and changing investment landscapes. The firm has diversified its portfolio across sectors and has been at the forefront of investing in technology, consumer goods, financial services, healthcare, and life sciences.

In recent years, General Atlantic has solidified its position as a prominent growth equity firm. It has been recognized as one of the largest private equity firms globally and has made notable investments in companies such as Royalty Pharma and Jio Platforms. These investments have demonstrated General Atlantic's ability to identify promising opportunities and create value for its portfolio companies.

The firm has also expanded its leadership team, appointing Gabriel Caillaux, Martín Escobari, and Anton Levy as Co-Presidents in 2019. This move further strengthened the firm's senior leadership and positioned it for continued growth and success. As of 2022, General Atlantic has over $84.4 billion in assets under management (AUM) and employs 496 professionals. It focuses on investments in five sectors: Technology, Consumer, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Life Sciences. The firm has a strong global presence with 14 offices located in major cities around the world, including New York City, London, Beijing, Mumbai, and Singapore.


Investment criteria

General Atlantic follows a specific set of investment criteria when evaluating potential investment opportunities. The firm focuses on investing in fast-growing companies with proven business models and strong revenue growth potential. Here are some key aspects of General Atlantic's investment criteria:

  • Sector Focus: General Atlantic targets investments in four main sectors: consumer, financial services, healthcare, and technology. The firm has deep expertise and a strong track record in these sectors, allowing it to provide valuable insights and strategic support to portfolio companies.
  • Growth Potential: General Atlantic seeks companies that have demonstrated strong growth potential and the ability to scale their business models globally. They look for companies that can seize new opportunities, mitigate risks effectively, and navigate market challenges.
  • Revenue Growth: General Atlantic prefers companies with a history of strong revenue growth. They analyze the company's financial performance and assess its ability to continue generating sustainable revenue growth in the future.
  • Market Position: The firm looks for companies that have established a competitive advantage in their respective markets. They evaluate the company's market position, differentiation, and barriers to entry to assess its long-term growth prospects.
  • Management Team: General Atlantic considers the management team a critical factor in investment decisions. They seek to partner with experienced, talented, and visionary management teams who can drive the company's growth and execute strategic initiatives.
  • Minority Ownership: General Atlantic typically takes a significant minority ownership stake in its portfolio companies. This approach allows them to work closely with the management team as an active lead investor, providing strategic guidance and support.
  • Value Creation: The firm aims to create long-term value for its portfolio companies. They work collaboratively with management teams to help them identify and capitalize on growth opportunities, improve operational efficiency, and prepare for global expansion.
  • Stable Capital Base: Unlike traditional private equity funds, General Atlantic has a unique structure that provides a stable capital base. This allows them to invest patiently and independently of fundraising cycles, focusing on long-term value creation rather than short-term exits.

Values

General Atlantic is guided by a set of core values that underpin its approach to investing and partnering with companies. These values shape the firm's culture, decision-making process, and relationships with portfolio companies. Here are the key values upheld by General Atlantic:

  • Partnership: General Atlantic values building enduring partnerships with its portfolio companies. The firm seeks to establish strong relationships based on trust, collaboration, and mutual respect. They view themselves as a supportive partner, working closely with management teams to drive growth and create long-term value.
  • Entrepreneurship: General Atlantic embraces the entrepreneurial spirit and seeks out companies led by visionary and innovative founders and management teams. They recognize and appreciate the drive, passion, and determination required to build successful businesses and actively support the entrepreneurial mindset within their portfolio companies.
  • Integrity: Integrity is a fundamental value at General Atlantic. The firm places great importance on ethical conduct, transparency, and honesty in all its interactions. They uphold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, fostering a culture of trust and accountability.
  • Excellence: General Atlantic strives for excellence in all aspects of its work. They are committed to delivering superior results and achieving excellence in investment selection, value creation, and operational execution. The firm attracts and retains top talent, promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement, and sets high standards for performance.
  • Long-Term Orientation: General Atlantic takes a long-term view of its investments. Rather than focusing solely on short-term gains, the firm emphasizes sustainable growth and value creation over time. They invest patient capital and work with portfolio companies to build their businesses for long-term success and global expansion.
  • Global Perspective: General Atlantic is a global firm with a presence in multiple regions worldwide. They value diversity and recognize the importance of a global perspective. This global mindset allows them to identify investment opportunities, leverage cross-border insights, and support companies in navigating international markets.
  • Social Responsibility: General Atlantic believes in making a positive impact beyond financial returns. The firm actively promotes responsible investing and encourages portfolio companies to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their business strategies. They are committed to contributing to the well-being of the communities in which they operate.

Mission

General Atlantic is a pioneering growth equity firm that focuses on driving global growth and investing in leading growth companies. With over 40 years of experience, the firm has established itself as a trusted partner for entrepreneurs who share their passion for innovation and technology. General Atlantic's approach involves identifying emerging companies with strong fundamental performance and organic growth potential, aiming to accelerate their expansion and enable them to scale globally.

When partnering with companies, General Atlantic provides capital, insights, global resources, and a vast network to support their growth journey. The firm's goal is to create value and facilitate sustainable growth, which has resulted in consistent and attractive performance for both companies and their investors worldwide.


Portfolio

General Atlantic's portfolio includes a diverse range of companies across sectors and geographies. While specific companies within the portfolio may change over time, here are a few examples of companies that General Atlantic has previously invested in or is currently associated with:

  • Airbnb: General Atlantic invested in Airbnb, a leading online marketplace for accommodations and experiences. The platform revolutionized the hospitality industry by allowing individuals to rent out their homes or book unique accommodations worldwide.
  • Ant Financial: General Atlantic was an early investor in Ant Financial, the financial technology affiliate of Alibaba Group. Ant Financial offers a wide range of digital financial services, including mobile payments, wealth management, and consumer lending.
  • Slack: General Atlantic participated in funding rounds for Slack, a popular workplace collaboration platform. Slack provides teams with a centralized communication hub, enabling seamless collaboration, file sharing, and integration with various business tools.
  • Squarespace: General Atlantic invested in Squarespace, a website-building and hosting platform. Squarespace empowers individuals and businesses to create professional-looking websites with customizable templates and integrated e-commerce capabilities.
  • Uber: General Atlantic has been an investor in Uber, the global ride-sharing and food delivery platform. Uber disrupted the transportation industry by connecting riders with drivers through a convenient mobile app.
  • Doordash: General Atlantic participated in funding rounds for DoorDash, a leading food delivery platform. DoorDash enables customers to order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to their doorstep.
  • ByteDance: General Atlantic invested in ByteDance, the parent company of the popular social media platform TikTok. TikTok gained immense popularity for its short-form video content and has become a global cultural phenomenon.
  • Zapier: General Atlantic backed Zapier, an automation platform that connects various web applications, allowing users to automate repetitive tasks and streamline workflows without coding.

These examples highlight General Atlantic's investment focus on disruptive and innovative companies across sectors such as hospitality, fintech, collaboration tools, e-commerce, transportation, and more. General Atlantic's portfolio companies demonstrate a commitment to driving global growth and leveraging technology to transform industries and improve customer experiences.


References
General Atlantic
Leadership team

William E. Ford  (CEO )

Anton Levy  (Co-President )

Gabriel Caillaux  (Co-President )

Martín Escobari  (Co-President)

Jonathan Korngold ( Global Head of Financial Services )

Paul Stamas  (Global Head of Healthcare)

Number of Employees
100 - 500
Headquarters
New York, New York, United States
Established
1980
Social Media