Member Profile - Sarita Gavhane


Sarita Gavhane - Vice President, Edgewater Capital Partners

young woman with dog at a baseball stadium

When will we get to go to Indians games again?

ACG Member Since: 2015
ACG Involvement: WiT Committee, ACG Cup Judge

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

We really haven’t missed a beat, but we are more focused on communication and alignment, whether within our portfolio and with management teams and bankers involved in the deals we are currently pursuing. The pause in the M&A market has motivated us to think more creatively on where we can use our sector knowledge to invest in, and support, strong companies. We still see opportunities in the market, but we can’t solely rely on the traditional deal channels in this environment. We’ve also spent a good amount of time working alongside our portfolio’s management teams to make sure the rest of their teams and their companies operate safely, have proactive response plans in place, are well-positioned from a liquidity standpoint to ride out this storm, and most importantly ensure that their employees and extended families are healthy and safe.

What has surprised you most during this period?

I am most encouraged by the resolve and enthusiasm of my colleagues and peers to make the most of a highly uncertain situation. Edgewater has always been keenly focused on maintaining strong connections within its team and has continued that focus through this challenging time, which is both comforting and empowering. We’ve had fun (virtually) through team-building events that also support those within the greater Cleveland community who might not be able to open their doors for business right now — most recently we’ve organized a cocktail-making class with a bartender from the Spotted Owl and a murder-mystery event!

How are you staying connected with your network?

On the deal-front, we’ve made a big push to participate in virtual industry conferences and networking events — its an effective and inexpensive way to keep connected and let other deal-makers know we are still active in the market looking for deals. We’ve also made good inroads into several non-traditional deal channels and believe the legwork we’re doing today will become part of our regular origination process and benefit the firm in both the short- and long-term. Locally, it’s been a lot of texts to check-in and say hello, virtual coffee chats, virtual happy hours, you name it! The Cleveland area M&A network is so strong, yet down-to-earth, so when someone reaches out to you to check-in, it’s out of genuine interest and concern.

Do you think we will see lasting changes to how we do business as a result of this?

Definitely, and I think for the better. From the PE perspective, I think we will spend more time refining our understanding of the essential-ness of the company’s product/service offering and what it means for the product/services ultimate end user, diligencing the flexibility of operations (especially the supply chain and information technology and related systems), contingency/crisis planning and leadership, and liquidity planning and related financial controls. At Edgewater, focusing on environmental, health, and safety has been a primary tenant of our mandate since the founding of the firm, and that will continue at an elevated level going forward.

Has there been a "silver lining" for you and if so, what is it?

That we are lucky to be able to continue to do what we do amidst some of the most unforeseen circumstances we could ever imagine. We’ve been fortunate that we, the Edgewater family, are healthy. Our companies are performing, and our people are safe. That’s not true for many companies and individuals across the U.S., unfortunately. I also believe that this current environment should, and will, force us to take a hard look at our professional responsibilities and personal priorities. Being at home during these last few months has allowed me to reconnect with my neighbors and the neighborhood I live in. Saving an hour on commuting each day allows more time with family, more time outside appreciating nature, and generally more time to reset and find those moments of calm. We get so caught up in the accelerated work pace that is inherent in M&A and sometimes forget to do things that help clear and reset our minds and hearts.

What is your favorite ACG Cleveland event and why?

Any event the Women in Transactions committee puts on (full disclosure: I’m on the committee)! I’ve especially enjoyed the WiT golf outing and the "White Elephant" gift-swap event in the past and am always glad when members of the broader ACG group join us!