Private equity bigwig Perry Steiner talks shop

March 10, 2013

We checked in recently with Perry Steiner, a partner in Chevy Chase-based Arlington Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests primarily in businesses such as defense, aerospace, health care and business services.

What are the hot local sectors now for investment?

Anything with the words “cyber” or “big data” connected to them. Those are revenue streams that are growing very rapidly, even in the current government environment.

Any local companies you find interesting?

Two local companies in our portfolio. One of them, Novetta Solutions, is a big data and cyber business. They analyze disparate databases to match patterns and identities of people and unusual activities. The work is for top secret, three-letter agencies.

How is Washington going to fare under sequestration?

Sequestration has everybody nervous. You probably won’t see a tremendous amount of deal-making in [defense and aerospace] for at least two quarters.

Sales record

After a spate of negative press around the company’s most recent $110 million financing round and rival Groupon’s troubles, LivingSocial chief executive Tim O’Shaughnessy dealt some good news last week.

In a memo to employees, O’Shaughnessy announced that LivingSocial had broken its record one-day worldwide sales total not once but twice last week, reaching $8.6 million for a daily haul.

Membership discounts for Wal-Mart’s subsidiary Sam’s Club helped drive the record-breakers.

LivingSocial, like other daily deal providers, shares its gross billings with merchant partners and keeps a portion as revenue for itself.

(O’Shaughnessy is the son-in-law of Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham.)

Going online

Georgetown-based business consultant Aperio International, which coaches executives and their teams so they can perform better, just put its secret sauce online. The company, founded 13 years ago by husband-and-wife team Jo Anne and Sandy Nelson, sends consultants into corporate offices to work with executives and their teams to improve management and leadership.

“We’ve been working with Apple, Hearst and Amazon.com,” said Jo Anne, who draws her management advice in part from her days competing in college track and field. “The companies wanted to get the information to the rest of their employees, so we developed e-learning courses to help them do that.”

Now they are putting them on their Web site for others to purchase.

Prior to this, Aperio — which is Latin for “to reveal” — would help the clients through one-on-one sessions or in classrooms. “Now it’s a much more cost-effective way to get the tools and materials.”

The Buzz hears:

Kevin Plank, founder of Baltimore-based Under Armour, is racking up the wins with his horse racing stable. His Sagamore Racing’s 3-year-old homebred filly, Walkwithapurpose, has recorded two first place finishes already this year, earning $165,000. Walkwithapurpose’s career earnings total $272,210, averaging $45,368 per start. Walkwithapurpose, who lives at Plank’s Sagamore Farm near Baltimore, has now won five consecutive races, including three stakes, all at Laurel Park and under jockey Jeremy Rose. She is getting warmed up for another big one, the Twixt Stakes, on April 6 at Pimlico Race Course.

Privately held United States Diagnostics Standards, is leaving its incubator space in Rockville and moving into 10,000 square feet nearby at 9712 Medical Center Dr. to accommodate an increase in employees, part of a five-building complex owned by San Diego-based BioMed Realty Trust. Rockville’s Sheer Partners, which specializes in health industry real estate, handled the transaction for USDS.

California-based InterWest Partners is the lead investor in USDS, which was founded in 2009. The company’s advisers include Mark McClellan, the former commissioner of the Silver Spring-based Food and Drug Administration.

New York-based LocalVox is expanding to Washington. The company, which helps small businesses market themselves through social media, has already scheduled a meetup to pitch to local merchants at 9:30 a.m., March 14 at Embassy Suites on 22nd Street NW. The company was co-founded by Trevor Sumner.

Carlyle watch

Is Morgan Stanley the new farm team for the Carlyle Group? The private equity giant poached another Master of the Universe from the august New York investment bank, its second in three years. Last week, Carlyle signed former Morgan Stanley executive Jacques Chappuis, 43, to become one of Carlyle’s top managers. Chappuis will run the solutions business, one of its four main moneymakers. In March 2010, Carlyle recruited another senior executive from Morgan Stanley, Mitch Petrick, who runs global markets strategies for Carlyle, which makes money investing in debt around the world.

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