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REV: JULY 15, 2013


Iris Running Crane: December 2009
Iris Running Crane, HBS Class of 2010, shook the rain and soggy snow off her umbrella as she entered the lobby of Soldiers Field Park on a dark December night in 2009. “Oh the weather outside is frightful,” she whistled as she took the elevator to her apartment.
Back home on the Blackfeet reservation in East Glacier, Montana, the wind would be howling down from Canada, driving temperatures well below zero. Tonight, though, Iris had more important things to think about than comparative climatology. Through a combination of preparation, experience, hard work, and, she admitted, sheer
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By the end of 2008, LBO firms were closing offices, cutting staff,7 and offering to reduce LP commitments in recognition of vastly reduced opportunities to find and consummate deals.8 LPs were constrained by the credit crunch and eager to rebalance portfolios that were suddenly overweighted in private equity.a Secondary funds, which specialized in purchasing holdings from distressed LPs, and distressed debt funds found their services in great demand.
While VC firms were less reliant on the debt markets, the general economic slowdown affected their portfolio companies, whether through more costly financing options or smaller orders from cash-constrained customers. Holding periods increased due to fewer exit opportunities through mergers and acquisitions or IPOs. Many experts anticipated that those VC firms that had survived on a few bubble-era successes would finally cease operations.
For all private equity firms, reduced liquidity among LPs and their over-allocation to private equity made fundraising more difficult. A number of buyout firms reduced their targeted fund sizes, among them TPG, which cut its financial sector investment fund to $2.5 billion from $6 billion;9 Bain
Capital, which cut a coinvestment fund by half, to $900 million;10 and Blackstone, which was rumored to have cut Fund VI from its announced target of $20 billion.11 In the third quarter of 2009,
66 buyout funds closed on a total of


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