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Richard Maclean headshot

Education

  • University of Virginia, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration
  • College of Charleston, BA, Liberal Arts and Business

Previous Relevant Experience

  • Richard started his career in banking with a predecessor of Bank of America

Q&A

  • What are your ambitions for your portfolio companies?

    The companies that join our portfolio are already successful. They’ve established a product-market fit and have a great opportunity for significant growth. So my ambitions for them revolve around how we support a really solid team in a strong growth business to help move it along the path to being a true industry leader.
  • What does your role involve on a day-to-day basis?

    I’m involved in strategy, deal sourcing and business development. In a way, I act as the chief salesperson for the firm, helping our investment teams tell the story of how we’re different to the management teams we may partner with.

    I’m also active in investor relations and fundraising as well as serving on a number of boards where I offer perspective and guidance. Often, leadership teams are very focused on tactical day-to-day activities. I try to help them take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and refine their strategy.
  • What made you take the leap to co-found Frontier?

    Back in 1999, when we started the firm, there were plenty of players in the venture space, mainly focused on early-stage and dot com opportunities. There were also firms specializing in more traditional manufacturing and distribution businesses. We saw a gap in the middle.

    At that time there were very few firms focusing on growth-stage tech-oriented businesses. We saw an opportunity to help these companies build on their existing success and realize their full potential.
  • What makes you personally a good fit for the companies you work with?

    Ultimately, I want to be a good servant and guide. Of course I expect results but I don’t want to micromanage. It’s about getting the right team on the field and then supporting them in their accomplishments.
  • What is it about SaaS that excites you?

    Ten years ago, relatively few people understood the potential software offered. Today, it is firmly in the mainstream. It’s helping companies and individuals in all industries become more competitive and more productive.

    The move to SaaS and the cloud has opened doors for bootstrapped entrepreneurs to create new applications. It’s made it easier for customers to buy and rapidly gain value from new solutions. Everybody wins.

    The industry also attracts talented, high-energy, entrepreneurial founders and executives who are great to work with. I love the fact I get to help them chart the future of their companies.
  • How is the world of growth equity changing and what does that mean for Frontier?

    It’s moving away from financial engineering and much more towards true value-add. Today, it’s not about helping businesses maximize the amount of debt they're using to drive returns. It’s about helping them maximize their team and how the business operates.

    Capital markets ebb and flow. But helping a management team build a great company for the long term is something that’s a lot more sustainable.

    So at Frontier, we know we have to continue to invest in our business. We need to focus on how we add value to our portfolio companies. Private equity is a very dynamic, competitive industry. It’s important we demonstrate the value levers we can pull to prove we're the partner of choice for our portfolio companies and prospects and deliver returns to our investors.

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