Private companies and entrepreneurs drive our economy

KPMG’s Brian Hughes says the environment has never been more favorable for individuals looking to launch a business.

By Brian Hughes


For entrepreneurs looking to start a business, the environment has never been as positive as it is today. But while starting a business may be relatively easy, getting to the next level is much more difficult.

That is why KPMG and the University of Michigan created the QuantumShift program three years ago. The program brings together entrepreneurs, founders, owners and CEOs of private, high-growth U.S.-based companies for a week of intensive, peer-to-peer learning, networking and collaboration at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Over the past three years, more than 100 CEOs of fast-growing private companies have graduated from the program and are now part of the QuantumShift Fellows Network, an exclusive peer mentoring network for program alumni.

Recently, about 20 members of the Fellows Network got together to reconnect, network and share insights. QuantumShift alums came together for two days of interactive discussions on the themes of growth and transformation.

CEOs discussed rapid growth through acquisitions, how an organization’s strategy and values can elevate the culture, as well as how to identify a person or idea that shows promise, and fostering it to become the next great idea or growth generator for the company. They also explored the opportunities and challenges associated with the different modes of rapid growth, including acquisitions and organic expansion.

These are remarkable individuals running remarkable companies. The energy level and excitement, sharing of stories and learning from each other is incredibly powerful
Brian Hughes

Megan Driscoll, founder and CEO of PharmaLogics Recruiting, a Boston-based company offering innovative hiring solutions to the life science industry, is a QuantumShift Class of 2016 alum and has attended the last two annual Fellows Conferences. 

“Every year that I come, I leave with something interesting or a new way of thinking about a problem. Being able to step away from my business and look at it from 40,000 feet has been invaluable and allows me to look at my business differently. I’ve been exposed to information you can’t get anywhere else and I’m learning with people who have been in my shoes. Either they've already done it or they're about to do it and we’re able to learn from each other’s experiences and share advice on what’s coming next.”

 “These are remarkable individuals running remarkable companies,” said Hughes. “The energy level and excitement, sharing of stories and learning from each other is incredibly powerful. We always seem to develop a strong connection with each class and in the Fellows Network.”

The 2018 QuantumShift class of CEOs spanned multiple industries, including technology, consumer goods, media and telecommunications, financial services, education, real estate and healthcare.

Together, their organizations average $80 million in annual revenue, have a combined total revenue of $2.2 billion, and are growing at an average annual rate of 23 percent.

“This week was an amazing experience. The content and the people we met blew me away,”  said Mat Ellis, CEO of Cloudability, referring to the 2018 program.

Brian Hughes leads KPMG’s Private Markets Group and is the driving force behind QuantumShift. – an entrepreneurial program co-founded by KPMG and the University of Michigan.

What's top of mind for QuantumShift participants?


Prior to this year’s session at the University of Michigan, the CEOs were asked their views on a number of topical business issues, including their top strategic priorities over the next three years, economic outlook, and more. Here are the highlights of what they told us:

Their Top 3 objectives?

Talent: Attracting and retaining the right talent is one of the most important challenges they face.

Growth: Launching new products, acquisitions, expansion into new markets.

Operational Efficiencies: Investing in technology, scaling business, and increasing capacity.

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Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes

Partner, National Private Markets Group Leader, KPMG US

+1 267-256-1820