I recently had the chance to chat with Stefan Sterns, a partner at private equity firm NewRoad Capital Partners, about his extensive career in investment banking and private equity. Stefan spent over 8 years at Barclays Investment Bank in New York, working on M&A advisory assignments and debt/equity capital raises totaling over $200 billion.

Some of the most valuable lessons Stefan learned during his time in banking included the importance of working with smart, motivated colleagues. He found that being surrounded by driven people who he enjoyed collaborating with helped make long hours more rewarding. Stefan also witnessed major disruptions in the media industry from trends like cord cutting and the rise of streaming services.

We discussed emerging opportunities in retail media networks, an area still in its early stages. Stefan is keeping a close eye on technology solutions that could help consumer goods companies effectively manage hundreds of individual retailer partnerships. Northwest Arkansas' strong expertise in retail and supply chain positions the region well for innovations at the intersection of these industries.

Now at NewRoad Capital, Stefan appreciates gaining deeper operational involvement with portfolio companies post-deal. He finds private equity work especially satisfying when leveraging the firm's retail industry experience to identify problems and potential fixes. Looking ahead, Stefan is focused on navigating current market volatility and seeing where investment opportunities may emerge from industry consolidation.

The conversation offered valuable perspectives on evaluation cycles, sourcing deals, and leveraging domain expertise to generate compelling investment theses. Stefan's background spanning banking, media, and retail private equity provided unique insights into evolving industry landscapes.