Member Profile - Beth Haas

sun room with windows and exercise bike

Beth Haas

Partner, Cyprium Partners

ACG Member Since: 2006
ACG Involvement: ACG Board, Programming Committee, and WiT Committee

How have you had to adapt your business model during the shutdown? What has worked and what hasn’t?

I’m fortunate because much of our day-to-day work can be done remotely, and the majority of my time lately has been spent working with portfolio companies as they navigate this rapidly changing environment.

Relationships are key to our business, and I’m used to being on the road every other week. The lack of face-to-face connections with company executives and referral sources was a big worry. To compensate, we’ve really been embracing tools like Zoom and Microsoft teams, which have been around for years, but certainly haven’t been part of my routine. We’ve used these for board meetings, updates with lenders and other stakeholders, business development, interviewing for an open position, and even a management presentation for a new deal. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well it has worked.

What I’ve found that hasn’t worked is trying to have a rigid daily schedule. The landscape remains so fluid that new issues come up every day. Staying on top of everything remotely combined with homeschooling has completely blurred the line between work and downtime for much of my network, but I think everyone is just trying to manage as well as they can.

What has surprised you most during this period?

I’m actually surprised at the level of new deal activity. We’ve signed two term sheets in the last week for companies that are holding up well during the shut-down and are continuing to execute on their long-term growth strategies. There is a lot of uncertainty and I think the bar is high for capital deployment, but there does seem to be some activity out there.

What lasting impact will this situation have on the way we do business moving forward?

I think underwriting standards will be impacted. A lot of industries that traditionally would have been characterized as "recession-resistant" have been really impacted by this current shut-down in ways that generally weren’t foreseen. I also think we’ll all spend a lot less time on planes. This experience has really highlighted how much can be done remotely, and the cost savings plus efficiency gains are going to be tough to ignore going forward.

What’s the first thing you’ll do in NE Ohio when restrictions are eased?

Wander around the Cleveland Museum of Art and then have dinner on the patio at Luca.

What is your favorite ACG Cleveland event and why?

The Summer Social at the Shoreby. It’s always so well-attended and it’s a perfect opportunity to connect with the ACG community in a beautiful setting. I will definitely never take events like that for granted again!