Techwork 2022: Hind el Gaidi, Astorg
El Gaidi started her career as a valuations specialist in the deals practice at PwC. After nearly nine years, she moved to Luxembourg, where she was a senior manager of corporate finance. After a short stint, el Gaidi joined Astorg as director, head of valuation & marketing.
When el Gaidi joined Astorg in 2019, her role was to oversee all financial information at the firm. However, given how the IT infrastructure was set up, she quickly realised she had to embark on a much wider technology transformation project.
“Teams relied on multiple sources of information from different platforms which didn’t speak to each other,” she says. El Gaidi knew Astorg had to achieve a single source of truth. “After getting buy-in from our CEO Thierry Timsit, we set about convincing the wider business that this was the right way to operate the firm’s portfolio monitoring process.”
El Gaidi explains this project pushed the team to also look at data governance. “Before we could collect any data, we created manuals around data governance and what it should look like across the business,” she says. The team then adopted DealCloud as its CRM system. “The platform replicated the way we work, specifically within private equity and it enabled us to automate certain processes we did manually in-house.” Another valuable system el Gaidi introduced, enabled the team to automate RFI responses during due diligence. “Previously, one team member would spend about a week going through large RFIs and populating all the answers to respond to each LP,” she says. “The platform we now have uses machine learning to populate similar questions across all requests, so we only need to fill in new questions. It’s saved us so much time.”
Currently, el Gaidi is focused on building the backbone of Astorg’s corporate functions. “Our ultimate aim is to capture the full value chain. From fundraising right the way through to exits, we want to ensure we have best of breed systems in place that will help us to ensure every part of the process is going well.” As part of this project, el Gaidi is looking at the journey of an LP with Astorg. “For the next year we’re focusing on the core areas, such as initial contact, fund administration, reporting and marketing. Then next year I’d like to add elements such as AML/KYC compliance to ensure we’re creating a very pleasant user experience from start to finish.”
When it comes to tech networking el Gaidi explains it can be more tricky. “I haven’t found an established group yet where I can meet PE tech peers to discuss our systems, challenges or bounce ideas,” she says. “I’ve met individuals from various firms one on one, but PE still has a somewhat secretive mentality, so you feel like you’re spying on a firm’s ‘special sauce’ so to speak. If we had an official, structured group, I’d imagine people would be more transparent and committed to sharing with their peers.”
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