Big Band's Debut: The Private Equity Funcast

Big Band’s Debut: The Private Equity Funcast

I still remember where I was when I first emailed Devin and Jim. I was on a run. It was November, 2016. And I was in the middle of listening to an episode of the Private Equity Funcast.

To this day, I almost always listen to podcasts when I’m exercising. I had been listening to the PE Funcast for a few months. I had been acquiring businesses for a while after a pivot out of a long corporate career in healthcare IT. I needed to level up my knowledge on the business of private equity. Thankfully, I had stumbled upon ParkerGale’s podcast exploration of the world of private equity…humorously narrated by Devin Matthews and Jim Milbury.

In my opinion, a great podcast has to have something “more” than just the stated purpose or topic to be really interesting. And with a topic as potentially dry as private equity…this one certainly has something more than great information on the topic. The title makes it obvious that they are going to try to make Private Equity “Fun”. The jingle draws you in with a catchy tune and irreverent lyrics. And when you start to hear the witty banter of two old friends in Devin and Jim, where the conversation inevitably bends toward dad jokes and movie references, you are likely to be hooked like I was. I found myself listening more for the funny parts while learning from the “inside baseball” conversation about PE.

Back to that email… I was binge listening to several years worth of episodes and getting caught up. In the middle of my run, I stopped, took out my phone and sent the email below.

If you have listened to the PE Funcast, you know that Devin and Jim (and all of the other and subsequent hosts) are good humans. So I wasn’t actually that surprised when Devin wrote back. What was surprising was his generous offer to help whenever I needed it.

Fast forward to 2018. I’m raising a new fund. I’m coming through Chicago to visit some of my team, and I have a lot of questions about fundraising in my particular context (cross-border issues between US and Canada, how to think about diversity among investors, how to think about distributions, etc. etc.). So I reach out again, and Devin says, “Come by the office and meet with me and Ryan Milligan.” We booked 60 minutes, but they gave me a 90 minute masterclass in PE structuring and economics…for no reason other than that they are good people.

A year later. 2019. I’m passing back through Chicago and we met up for dinner to talk about opportunities to collaborate in a meaningful way (those ideas didn’t work out for very good reasons…but it helped to build our relationship further).

Summer of 2022. I had the vision for what eventually became Big Band Software. I needed strategic investment partners who would “get” what I was trying to do and who could help us achieve the vision much faster together. Devin was one of my first calls.

December 1, 2022 - Big Band incorporates, and we’re off on the journey as business partners with ParkerGale.

I’m sharing all this as a long-winded preamble to share some exciting news. The Big Band team was just featured on the PE Funcast! We’ve been in business together for over a year, so it felt like a good time to share the story with that audience. It was fun sharing the virtual studio with Ryan Milligan, who is a great host despite not being as fully committed to the “5-4-3-2-1 Thunderbirds are go!” introduction as Jim.

This is definitely not the outcome I envisioned when I sent that first, quick email during my run. I’m proud to be in business with Devin, Ryan and the whole PG team. They have been even better partners that I expected…and my expectations were quite high. Hearing me, Chris, and Jason on the Funcast is both surreal and natural at the same time. 

If you are both a subscriber to this newsletter and the PE Funcast at the same time, congratulations…you are in a very narrow sliver of a Venn diagram, and it is likely we know one another personally. And if that describes you, you probably know that this blog post isn’t about a podcast at all. It is about building trusted relationships with people where you want to “do business and life” together. We have already accomplished a lot as a team and we are just getting started!

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