NewSpring hits $1 billion in returns & refresh button on brand

This article was first published by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

NewSpring Capital has been a major player in Greater Philadelphia’s private equity world for 18 years, and recently hit a milestone of $1 billion in returned capital.

What better time for a brand refresh?

Michael DiPiano, managing partner of the Radnor-based private equity and venture capital firm, said it passed $1 billion in returns in the middle of the year, a landmark that comes as the firm has grown in both its approach to investing and staff size. It doubled its employee count in the last seven years and also operates offices in Baltimore and Chicago.

“The key measure of the success of any firm like ours is ‘Are the returns there?’ and ‘Are you building great companies and partnering with great firms?' We think the answers to those three questions are a yes,” DiPiano said.

To date, NewSpring’s deployed that $1 billion to more than 130 companies, with 65 currently in its portfolio.

“When you’ve returned more capital than you invested and still have a lot to return, that’s not a bad thing,” he said.

The brand refresh wasn’t “anything dramatic” but came as a necessity with the changes and growth the firm’s experienced in recent years, he said. The logo has gone from a traditional serif font with large sunburst graphic to a cleaner sans serif and more subdued graphic.

“We wanted to communicate the current nature of the branding that in our view had become stale, and that’s not surprising after 17 years,” DiPiano said. A fresh look also helps show the entrepreneurs NewSpring seeks out that the firm is up-to-speed and evolving, especially important as NewSpring prefers to find promising entrepreneurs and companies as opposed to banking on them coming to the firm, he said.

While they invest across the country, five of the last 10 deals NewSpring’s struck in the past year have been with Philadelphia-area companies, a slightly higher ratio than normal.

He described a “lull” in capital in the region between 2007 and 2009 as the Great Recession was in full force but he said there’s never been a lack of interesting technology or diversity. They’re now seeing those assets fuel a recent boost in entrepreneurship, and in particular, executives leaving larger organizations to lead startups.

“Whether it’s NutriSystem, [IPipeline,] Turn5, any of those successful stories have in common three things: a great idea, great technology and an individual with extraordinary capabilities.”

NewSpring hitting recent milestones is confirmation of its own success, but at the end of the day DiPiano said it “doesn’t mean a damn thing” when it comes to the firm’s future.

“The results from the past are in the rearview mirror. We’ve got to keep meeting people, to work with referral sources,” he said. “It’s certainly ... a leading indicator our approach and our process has worked in the past, that we have built the right team and are backing the right entrepreneurs, so we're seeing those results in the future.”