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The landscape of private equity is undergoing a profound transformation, powered by groundbreaking technologies like generative AI. This dynamic shift holds immense potential to revolutionise how firms operate and manage their investments, presenting a gateway for innovation in the face of formidable challenges. From escalating competition to resource-intensive due diligence, firms are facing many obstacles. The emergence of generative AI provides a new pathway towards efficiency, automation, and informed decision-making.

Projections suggest that the generative AI market size in private equity will burgeon to a staggering USD 1 billion by 2032, boasting a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5% from 2022 to 2032. As numerous firms invest in this technology, many are establishing internal AI research teams to uncover impactful use cases tailored to their needs. Key drivers behind this trend encompass enhanced access to data, streamlined efficiency, process automation, and augmented decision-making capabilities.

Investment trends in the private equity sphere:

  1. Elevated Deal Sourcing: The search for investment-worthy deals can be a difficult task, consuming significant resources as firms comb through thousands of prospects to unearth a few gems. Generative AI has the potential to redefine how businesses scout companies that match their criteria. Enterprises such as Moonfire are harnessing this power, utilising generative AI to scrutinize a staggering 50,000 companies weekly, uncovering promising opportunities. BC Partners too has ventured into this arena, experimenting with generative AI in sourcing tech deals, revealing that the technology is helpful for pinpointing hidden opportunities.
  2. Enhanced Due Diligence: Due diligence, a cornerstone of private equity, often stretches timelines and resources. Some firms are opting in for diligence-lite strategies, which can introduce errors and biases. Generative AI has the potential to streamline workflows by analysing historical data, market dynamics, and regulatory compliance requirements. Notably, Blackstone's has invested in an internal AI research team to refine their deal sourcing, due diligence, and portfolio management processes, underlining the technology's promise.
  3. Empowering Data Analysis and Automation: The amount of financial, market, and industry data to consider necessitates efficient analysis for firms to remain competitive. Generative AI has the capacity to speed up this process, rapidly extracting market trends, insights, and previously overlooked opportunities. KPMG's innovative use of this technology underscores this, with the firm leveraging AI to create an advisory system that aids data digestion and decision-making for their staff.

However, no revolution comes without challenges:

  1. Quality Assurance: Generative AI, though remarkable, is not immune to occasional inaccuracies, leading to what experts’ term "hallucinations." Human intervention is needed to validate outputs before decisions are made.
  2. Data Dilemmas: The power of generative AI raises legitimate concerns about data privacy and security. Handling sensitive financial and personal information necessitates stringent security measures to prevent unauthorized access and breaches. Compliance with data protection regulations and legal liabilities is equally vital.
  3. Transparency Trials: The opaque nature of generative AI can complicate the understanding of investment recommendations and generated content. This poses reputational and investment risks for firms, necessitating careful fact-checking and the establishment of trust with investors.
  4. Implementation Challenges: The journey toward harnessing generative AI's potential demands substantial upfront investments in infrastructure, software, and talent. Integration can be resource-intensive and time-consuming, creating hurdles for some firms.

Yet, the advantages of generative AI are hard to overlook:

  1. Informed Decision-Making: Generative AI empowers firms with real-time insights, predictive capabilities, and trend identification, facilitating data-driven decisions and reducing the likelihood of poor investments.
  2. Deal Flow: With the capacity to analyse vast volumes of data from diverse sources, generative AI helps firms identify opportunities efficiently, enabling them to remain at the forefront of market shifts.
  3. Enhanced Investor Engagement: Generative AI can elevate investor engagement through timely, comprehensive reports delivered by AI-powered bots, bolstering transparency and strengthening investor relations.
  4. Efficiency: By automating routine tasks, generative AI allows firms to redirect their efforts toward strategic decisions, resulting in enhanced efficiency and productivity.

The impact of generative AI in the private equity sphere is profound. It offers a gateway to innovation and transformation, addressing challenges while unlocking new horizons. Firms that embrace this technology strategically and thoughtfully can pave the way for a brighter future in the evolving landscape of private equity.

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