ACG Impact Report 2021

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Adaptation Evolution Resilience ACG Impact Report


“When you put your members’ experience first and move confidently in the direction you know you need to go, great things happen. In a year when many companies shrunk to survive, ACG moved boldly ahead with some of our most ambitious initiatives yet, showing significant growth despite event cancellations and economic disruptions. We pushed past survival and futureproofed the organization, and we are thriving through the change.” - Tom Bohn

President & CEO

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As the premier middle-market M&A dealmaking community, ACG serves more than 100,000 professionals who invest, own and advise growing companies, including 3,600 private equity groups with $760 billion in dry powder. multifaceted organization with a diverse portfolio of products to power its mission of driving middle-market growth. Plans to expand, grow and diversify had been laid out and were moving forward. As economists projected global growth to increase by more than 3% in 2020, no one doubted the immediate future was bright for the middle market. But optimism faded quickly as COVID emerged and cast a long shadow over the economy. Many organizations hunkered down to wait out the storm, but ACG charged boldly ahead with new plans that were no less ambitious than the previous ideas—perhaps even more so. The pandemic brought a need for change, adaptation and evolution, and ACG rose to the challenge.

Despite setbacks in the last 18 months, ACG did the nearimpossible in an economy that mirrored the Great Depression. Not only did it quadruple media revenue, but ACG also pivoted to virtual summits within six weeks by designing and launching an online scheduling and meeting tool—ACG Access. ACG embraced Race for Relevance concepts including restructuring the board and executive committee to decrease its size and increase the effectiveness of initiatives, allowing the organization to be more nimble and forward thinking. So forward thinking, in fact, that one of the most aggressive initiatives to be launched in ACG history—OneACG—has not only

moved forward but has done so with more rigor and success than anyone thought possible. ACG is not just thriving, it is on a path that’s more future-proof than ever. Instead of contracting during the pandemic, ACG has nearly doubled the size of its staff, adding talented people who drive new revenue streams that are growing by the day and supporting the OneACG initiative. This growth has been achieved without accessing cash reserves, and has strengthened the organization’s balance sheet. ACG is more vital than ever and is moving into 2022 as a modern and member-focused organization ready to support the vibrant middle-market landscape.

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In January 2020, ACG was poised to become a

Driving the Middle Market M&A Conversation The expansion of the media group was ACG’s largest driver of revenue and audience growth.

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The creation of more relevant and targeted content with broader distribution across new channels has put ACG back in the middlemarket M&A conversation. The team has grown from two to seven full-time content experts, reimagining Middle Market Growth from a single print

publication to two targeted editions—Executive and DealMaker—and three special issues. Within a year, the team launched more than four brand-new initiatives, including LinkedIn events, the GrowthTV video channel, a custom content and

research project to produce quarterly reports, and Next Target, which is a media collaboration with middle-market search engine Grata. This is in addition to the Middle Market Growth Conversations podcast, and the redesign and launch of a new website.

Key Achievements:


Three new special editions drove nearly $400k in revenue: • Middle Market Outlook Report • Middle Market Growth Awards


LinkedIn events with more than 500 attendees


• Race to Reinvention

Azbee Awards in the last 18 months



Middle Market Growth Awards


Launched the new media brand Next Target


GrowthTV: 100+ videos, $500k in revenue, 1.5 million+ video views

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Living Our Mission: OneACG OneACG is arguably the boldest initiative the organization has ever undertaken. It’s an effort to merge and unify our network to better support both members and our vibrant local chapters through shared resources, best practices and more. In a year of contraction and uncertainty in the market generally, ACG not only opened the conversation and drove meaningful buy-in, but has executed the successful merger of nine chapters and two networks in FY 21-22 including:

• Atlanta + Birmingham network • Los Angeles • Raleigh Durham + Piedmont Triad network • Boston

• Dallas-Fort Worth • Saint Louis • Maryland • National Capital • Charlotte • Pending (Sept 2021): New York

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Being the Change Just a little over a year ago, ACG committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in the M&A community through the formation of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. This volunteer committee fosters an environment that recognizes the powerful benefits of multiculturalism and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups. There has never been a better time to embrace the business argument that everyone wins when everyone is included. ACG is committed to making a difference by taking a stand for a better future. By encouraging the M&A community to fully embrace the advantages of diversity and inclusion, ACG advances the M&A community by making it stronger and more resilient. A C G I M PA C T R E P O R T

The DEI Committee has built partnerships and undertaken multimedia initiatives that are designed to advocate and promote issues that make the world a fairer and more just place. To that end, the DEI Committee recently embarked on a partnership with Connection Builders, a business podcast that will collaborate with ACG to create 10 episodes about diversity. It also started reimagining ACG Cup, a mergers and acquisitions case study competition between

business school students, that will be administered by the committee next year. A new DEI Blueprint created by the committee will help chapters recruit diverse volunteers and board members. ACG also recently partnered with, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the equity gap, and will take the Parity Pledge.

The Great Event Pivot ACG Access is one of the best digital deal connection experiences in the industry. The efficient approach allowed us to quickly pivot to virtual events while prioritizing matchmaking and ease of scheduling. The platform fueled dozens of virtual events this year and continues

to be further refined for all ACG meeting opportunities—both inperson and virtual. In fact, even more live event enhancements are scheduled to be rolled out between September and December of this year.

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As the pandemic forced an abrupt halt to events, demolishing ACG’s core value proposition and revenue driver in a matter of weeks, we looked for opportunity for reinvention. Within six weeks, ACG launched ACG Access and announced our first virtual event.

In its first year, ACG Access:





Powered 26 One-to-One Virtual Meeting Events

Engaged 3,224 active users


Enabled 65 Virtual Ballroom Networking Events

Supported 18 Chapter events

Hosted 27,756 One-to-One Virtual Meetings

After two years without InterGrowth, ACG is gearing up for a reimagined event in 2022 by focusing on experiential on-site activities and more customized oneon-one dealmaking opportunities. InterGrowth will feature more curated spaces and places to meet, immersive programming focused on industry segments and a live media studio powered by GrowthTV.

Members First Shortly after the pandemic caused membership to drop, ACG grasped the reins of reinvention by reorienting the marketing

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department around membership expertise. ACG redoubled its efforts with creative campaigns and laserfocused initiatives to entice members back into the ACG fold.

Program, and improve membership acquisition and retention, which have continued to steadily increase.

As ACG recovered, it created a marketing team of experts in digital marketing, campaign management, membership marketing, social media, graphic design and sponsorship marketing. The team worked together to create and promote a refreshed look for the ACG brand, promote key franchises from virtual events to the MiddleMarket Professional Certification

This calendar year, ACG’s overall membership has increased as new members have joined the association. In 2021, the association’s renewal and retention rates came back to pre-pandemic levels, and are expected to remain on an upward trajectory. On average, ACG is now acquiring about 226 members per month in 2021 compared with 188 in 2020.

ACG also implemented a new support ticket platform for membership and chapter staff support requests. Since ACG implemented the platform in June, first response time has improved by 2 hours and 41 minutes for chapter tickets and 1 hour and 43 minutes for membership. The HQ team processes more than 300 tickets per month.

Community Engagement:





members served in the last 12 months

social media users across ACG and MMG accounts


total engaged community on email

engaged users on and 28,095 engaged users on

Sponsorship Report In a time period with two InterGrowth cancellations, ACG managed to continue to fuel growth through

One important partnership to note is the SAP M&A Ambassadors program, which has generated close to $750,000 in the first year alone, and driven innovation in the products and services ACG offers sponsors. The program is striving to create a $1 million partnership in 2022.

While revenue is of utmost importance, creative new partnerships such as the media collaboration with Grata that fuels both new content channels (Next Target) and revenue share to HQ and chapters, or EPG, which drives value for members while creating a significant possibility for revenue share, have helped ACG expand in ways it could not have done alone.

Also, ACG attracted many new sponsors who believe in ACG’s mission to drive growth in the middle market. By educating members about current best practices, ACG helps middlemarket leaders better position themselves for success.

Revenue Drivers:





driven by virtual events

By adding 12 new sponsors to the existing HQ network and expanding offerings, ACG drove a 95% increase in non-IG revenue.

Three additional Official Sponsors of Growth added, each at over $100,000 in spend, with four additional sponsors who spent over $100,000 in the CY.

In 2021, HQ’s forecast sits at $2.2 million without any revenue generated by the largest event (InterGrowth). ACG’s sponsorship revenue maxed out at $2.4 million in the last InterGrowth year, by comparison.

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the expansion of partnerships.

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Advocating for Our Members Through the pandemic, ACG advocated for private equity and the middle market as government programs rolled out to support businesses. The affiliate rule barred many businesses with PE backing from applying for the Paycheck Protection A C G I M PA C T R E P O R T

Program despite their impact on employment and more. ACG testified to congress about the PPP and the Main Street Lending Program to advocate for inclusion in these programs, and several grassroots efforts helped drive conversation and action.

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Key Initiatives: ACG Advocacy Letters ACG on Main Street Lending Program

ACG CARES Response to Treasury and SBA on Affiliate Rule

ACG Comments on SEC Proposed Rule on Investment Adviser Advertisements

ACG CARES Letter to Congress

“It’s impressive to see how much ACG has grown and thrived in such a difficult environment over the last year. We moved major initiatives forward, such as OneACG and the overhaul of our board to make it more strategic and impactful. I’m proud of what our volunteers have achieved so that ACG can move confidently into the future.” - Brent Baxter Chairman of the Board, Managing Director Nolan and Associates



Martin Okner

Steve Castino

David Hellier

Chair Elect, Partner and General Counsel Trivest Partners

Past Chairman of the Board, President and COO dpHUE

Chairman of Finance, Shareholder Vestal & Wiler

Chapter Council Chair, Partner Bertram Capital

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David Gershman


David Acharya

Christina Bui

Ann Cox

Suzie Doran

Christine Nowaczyk

Managing Partner Acharya Capital Partners, LLC

CRO/SVP Business Development Kranz Consulting

Founder Cox Enterprise

Partner SingerLewak, LLP

Senior Vice President BOK Financial

Nate Olsen

Aaron Polack

Kevin Prunty

John Surrette

Curt Tatham

Managing Director Nelso Consulting, LLC

Head of Business Development Lion Equity Partners

Senior Managing Director, Head of Private Debt & Equity Investments, RGA

Partner KLR

Managing Director Lincoln International

W W W. A C G . O R G