Entrepreneur Matthew Hirst has shared his tips on building a successful relationship with the private equity sector.

Hirst was working for Bglobal plc when he did an MBO in 2014 backed by NorthEdge and became the CEO of the newly-formed Utiligroup.

NorthEdge invested £16m in the Chorley-based energy tech firm and three years later the company was bought for a reported £100m by US private equity Accel-KKR after beating off interest from around 60 potential investors.

Utiligroup rebranded as ESG and Hirst is the CEO of a company that employs 500 people and has offices in the UK, US and Japan.

In an exclusive interview with TechBlast he spoke about  his seven-year relationship with private equity,  working initially with NorthEdge and then Accel-KKR.

Why private equity can be a force for growth

“During those seven years we have improved every single aspect our business,” he says. “We have invested in new products, we have invested in people, we have management academies and a mentorship programme. We’ve built proper processes.

“If you’re  thinking about working with private equity my advice is simple: Do what you say you’re going to do. It’s no different in private equity so you have to communicate well.

“One bit of advice I was given early  on from a guy who had been through private equity was to make sure you flow good news and bad news to your private equity partner at exactly the same pace. Don’t hold back bad news and don’t rush good news.”