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Donika Schnell: Four Tips for Success for Single Mothers

Donika Schnell, Managing Director at Greystone & Co for healthcare, provides four tips for success for single mothers.

 

Donika Schnell is a mother of three and a successful businesswoman. She has been divorced since her children were young, but she has never let that stop her from achieving her goals. She is the daughter of Albanian parents who fled the communist regime in their homeland in the early 1950s. Donika was born in America and raised in a traditional Albanian household for Chicago.

She is now the Managing Director at Greystone & Co for healthcare. She provides meaningful, complete debt solutions to skilled nursing and seniors housing, including bridge loans, permanent HUD or Agency financing, mezzanine, and other creative debt products.

Donika is a strong advocate for single mothers. She knows how difficult it can be to raise children on your own, but she also knows it is possible to succeed. She believes there are four things that all single mothers need to do to be successful: get an education, be driven and passionate, be coachable, and form a personal advisory group.

Get an Education:

Donika knows that getting an education is the key to success for any single mother. She has a degree in accounting and communications and has used her education to climb the corporate ladder. As a firm believer in the importance of education, she has made sure that her children have had the opportunity to attend private school to increase their chances of success and also because the private school community provided a consistent, supportive environment for them surrounded by loving teachers and administrators .

“When I was little,” she said, “my father constantly talked about how lucky we are to live in a country with the freedoms we have, that if you have a dream, you can make it happen. And you can do that in this country. So, he was committed to an education for me and my sister.”

Be Driven and Passionate:

Donika says she is a very driven and passionate person. When she sets her mind to something, she goes after it with everything she has. This has served her well in her career in healthcare, where she has succeeded in a male-dominated industry.

“I like to think I have a strong constitution, that I can do almost anything and everything,” she said, explaining that despite the challenges of being a single mother and coming from an immigrant family, she has never let anything stand in her way.

“I never let any of those hold me back…I always behaved as an equal to anybody at the table with me,” she added.

Be Coachable:

One thing that helped Donika succeed is her willingness to be coached by others. When she started her career, she had a mentor who taught her the ropes and showed her how to be successful. Even now, she continues to seek advice from her peers.

“I find myself in situations where I’ve been around really smart people that I can learn from, and strive to be more like them, and they were all kind. They treated everybody the same way with respect.  I’ve been so very fortunate to have amazing mentors in my life” she said.

Form a Personal Advisory Group:

Another piece of advice Donika has for single mothers is to form a personal advisory group. This group of people can offer you support, advice, and help when you need it. For Donika, this group includes her family, friends, and colleagues, including both women and men.

“Build a personal advisory group if you need support or you need advice,” she said. “There are others out there, and they don’t have to be women to support women. I’ve had fantastic male mentors. Men who have helped me be better by either leading or giving me advice.”

Donika would like to add that for any single mother, your future is yours to make.   Stay focused on your children and yourself.   She married a wonderful man 8 years after her divorce who is supportive and an equal partner in life.

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
Sept 2022

The Woman Behind Anagenesis Capital Partners: A Profile of Melanie Brensinger

An interview with Melanie Brensinger, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Anagenesis Capital Partners

 

Melanie Brensinger is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Anagenesis Capital Partners, a Florida-based private credit investment firm focused exclusively on the healthcare industry. Melanie has spent the past 16 years exclusively focused on investing in healthcare. She feels it is crucial to be solely focused on the healthcare industry to be able to dissect the complexities of the system and stay ahead of the trends as it is a constantly evolving sector.

Melanie has a particular interest in companies that provide delivery of quality care to patients in underserved markets, provide services to patients in their homes and preventative care. Melanie is passionate about the healthcare industry because she believes that it has the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives. She is energized by the innovation that is happening and tech enabled services being established to further enhance the reach to patients in rural markets.

“With that, I wanted to make sure that we focused really on that lower middle market segment, and we provided flexible capital to the end borrower, and then obviously, deliver really good returns for our investors,” she told Opus Connect in a recent Zoom interview.

Melanie is a firm believer in the power of private capital to make a positive impact on society. She is proud of the work that her portfolio companies are doing to improve access to care and deliver quality care to patients. In her opinion, this is what makes private capital a valuable tool for making the world a better place.

“I love going to board meetings and hearing patient success stories, whether it’s our behavioral health platform that’s providing mental care facilities/services to residents in rural Louisiana, or our podiatry platform that’s doing some really creative, innovative surgeries to allow people to walk again after significant foot deformities.  For me, that pushes me each day to focus on the underlying patient population as they are someone’s mother, father, brother or sister,” she said.

Melanie co-founded Anagenesis Capital Partners in 2015 when there were few, if any, other credit funds focused exclusively on healthcare. She saw an opportunity to fill a niche in the market and provide much-needed flexible capital to lower middle market healthcare companies. Most capital providers offer company’s capital solutions that try to force the company into their “sweat spot”.  I wanted to flip that upside down and understand what a company needs and provide a capital structure that supports the success of the business. She raised a $274 million fund, and the company has been actively deploying capital since that time.

“I can look at a business fairly quickly and understand which direction it’s going,” she said, explaining why expertise in a sector such as healthcare is so important.

“Some people might look at a company and say, wow, it has 50% EBITDA margin. I’d love to invest in this business. But anybody who knows healthcare is always very gun shy of anything that has outsized margins because if it has reimbursement exposure, that probably means there’ll be a cut along the way…Intuitively, you think high margins are always better, and in healthcare, that’s not always the case,” she added.

Melanie says that what makes her unique is the focus on partnership rather than a pure investment return perspective when it comes to working with portfolio companies. “As a founder and entrepreneur, myself, I understand the challenges of starting a business and managing it in good times and challenging times. The challenging times are where character is really displayed.”

“I’m a long-term relationship player,” she said, “I would rather forego a deal or forego an opportunity to either gain a long-term partnership or maintain a long-term relationship. And I’ve always been that way.”

She says often times generalists seek her advice on a particular healthcare subsector where they may not have as much expertise, and she’s always happy to provide her thoughts even if it does not automatically lead to a deal.

“All of those phone calls and time that people would say is a waste of time because it may not be related to a direct immediate deal are what enhances relationships and partnerships over the years,” she says. “I have dozens of relationships that are span over decades. That only happens when you create meaningful connections with people,” she adds.

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
Sept 2022

Embedded Finance: Driving the Future

In our modern world businesses are becoming more consumer oriented and user friendly – consumers have a variety of options to get the best experience and product/services with minimum effort online and offline. If you get your Uber in the morning and use your Apple Pay to buy a cappuccino on your way to the office you’re already taking advantage of ‘Embedded Finance’. If you’re looking to buy a nice bag for your mom, Affirm or Klarna can finance your purchase via their buy-now-pay-later model. So, what is Embedded Finance and why this has become yet another buzz word?

Embedded Finance comes from the general concept of Banking as a Service, or BaaS. BaaS allows non-financial companies to offer access to standard banking products and features at point of sale. This is enabled through webhooks and open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) – Embedded Finance is more defined by the front-end access to financial services, whereas BaaS is more defined by its back-end banking functionality. This integration via open banking systems and API architecture allows e-commerce platforms, websites, apps and other non-bank businesses to deliver financial services, often white-labeled, to their customers. Now, without the burden of regulatory and compliance oversight of being a traditional bank, embedded finance enables you to offer to your customer additional features to accelerate your sales and engagement, simplify user transaction experience and generate new revenue streams.

According to recent studies, the Embedded Finance market globally is expected to reach $7 trillion in the next 10 years. This is a huge opportunity for banks, fintech companies and other non-bank lenders. VC investors have been fast to recognize the potential value in the niche – the chart below depicts global VC investments in Embedded Finance companies from 2016 through September 2021, and we’re just in the beginning of the cycle.

Source: Statista 2022

 

This is a global phenomenon – young population and technology advancements drive embedded finance in China, India, Indonesia, several Latin American countries and, of course, the US, Europe and the UK, the latter being one of the earliest adopters of BaaS models. This trend created a lot of opportunities for virtual banks, also known as neobanks, fintech companies, BaaS and, of course, embedded finance. These models are taking a growing share of overall transaction volume compared to traditional banks. Quoting J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, “The role of banks in the global financial system is diminishing”, and millions of newly added accounts by neobanks prove it. Embedded finance future lies in several major applications:

Embedded Payments

Payment processing involves an automatic pay feature with your saved credit card or digital wallet. PayPal and Stripe have been at the forefront of embedded payments for several years now, while other players are coming to the market to address other areas such as international transaction complexities, user onboarding processes, KYC compliance, virtual credit cards and others. These solutions make the process more secure and streamlined, help protect from fraud, card management and fulfillment, reduce transactional fees and provides liquidity faster for various jurisdictions.

Embedded Insurance

Renting a car, booking a trip, obtaining Airbnb host protection and other goods and/or services purchases come bundled with an insurance protection coverage in the same offering. An embedded insurance solution is usually integrated into an existing system through an API, which helps insurers analyze policy and price data and suggest the right policy at the point of sale.

Embedded Lending

Embedded lending is split into two significant components: Retail lending and Business lending. Affirm and Klarna are great examples of B2C lending, where capital provider would face consumer credit risk based on FICO score or other proprietary alternative scoring system. Business lenders are B2B capital providers and include such companies like Kabbage, Fundbox and others targeting SME’s (small to mid-sized enterprises). Sometimes these providers are standalone offerings integrated into customer’s ERP systems, and sometimes they target specialized software products to give a supplier or vendor an option to get paid early on the product sold or job completed. The structures could vary from lending to revenue-based model, advances against receivables, purchase orders and inventory. These working capital solutions help consumers purchase discretionary products and help small business sustain their working capital requirements and overhead as well as create stronger trade networks with customers and suppliers.

Embedded Investing

Another extension of Embedded Finance is Embedded Investing, or providing robo-advisory, brokerage and wealth management services to consumers. Acorns, for example, delivers micro investing, full automation and adjustments according to your goals and wishes via automatically investing your spare change. PayPal now offers crypto purchases through their platform, which also changes the way brokerage services are offered and consumed.

Our everyday life includes a wide variety of transactions, and they are increasingly being digitized. Embedded Finance will continue to grow as tools to offer a digital product and deliver a more convenient and flexible customer experience. It can help streamline the payment process, allow customers to earn points and rebates, improve savings, protect data security, and make businesses more efficient and resilient. Embedded Finance will bring additional structural changes to the finance world and revolutionize capital flows over time – this creates great opportunities for VC and Private Equity on the technology side and debt providers on the B2C and B2B side. The first players who embrace the changes are the most likely to win.

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Alisa Rusanoff, Portfolio Manager, Senior Vice President at Crescendo Asset Management
September 2022

Making a Career Change to Investment Banking: Three Tips from Clay Risher

An interview with Clay Risher, Director of Business Development at TrueNorth Capital Partners LLC

 

Clay Risher didn’t take the Orthodox road to investment banking. He started his career in technology sales, working on large OEM account sales globally for clients like AT&T and IBM. After a few years, he got the entrepreneurial bug and co-founded a marketing firm where he ultimately ran operations, but doubling as creative director too. After growing the firm to multiple millions of dollars in revenues, he then exited the business and transitioned into corporate sales, becoming a Senior Vice President of National Accounts for a publicly traded company.

However, Clay wanted to get back into more of an entrepreneurial role soon after his stint as a corporate executive. He started consulting for private equity firms, investment banks, and hedge funds. It was through his working at RSM US LLP, a Chicago-based provider of audit, tax and consulting services to the middle markets that he got the opportunity to work at TrueNorth Capital Partners LLC, an investment bank in Stamford, Connecticut. Ironically, he started with TrueNorth in April of 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At TrueNorth, Clay is the Director of Business Development. The company offers M&A advisory as well as capital raising, restructuring and valuation services to a global clientele. . In this role, Clay is responsible for identifying and pursuing new business opportunities for the firm’s existing clients as well as new clients Clay brings into the firm. He also manages client relationships and provides support during the deal-making process.

“It’s been an awesome journey,” he told me recently in a Zoom call. “It’s been a complete rebirth of my career and I cannot express enough gratitude to the Partners here for taking a chance on me, especially during insanely difficult times due to the COVID 19 pandemic.”

I asked Clay what advice he would give someone thinking about making a career change. He offered three pieces of advice:

  1. Be Curious: Clay says that it’s important to be curious and to ask a lot of questions. “I think that most good private equity and investment bankers that I gravitate towards are naturally curious people,” he said, adding that “it’s easy to get complacent intellectually and otherwise, especially as we age, but I truly believe people must always be learning, growing and constantly trying to improve over yesterday because in today’s world, the only constant is change. If you adopt an attitude of what can I learn today, versus what can I earn today, life gets infinitely more rewarding
  2. Discipline Yourself: Making a career change can be difficult, but it’s essential to have discipline and stick with it. “Train your mind and your body to be the best you can every single day,” he emphasized. He adds that having “a moral compass” is also vital in an industry like investment banking, where one is constantly faced with ethical choices that can impact many people’s lives
  3. Set Expectations Early: When making a career change, it’s imperative to set expectations early on – both for yourself and for those you’re working with. Without setting expectations, he adds, it can be easy to get lost in the weeds and not achieve the goals you set out to accomplish.

Clay’s story is an inspiring one, and his advice is sound. If you’re thinking about making a career change, be sure to keep these three things in mind.

 

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
Sept 2022

Stuart Rose: The Man Who Has Seen It All In Investment Banking

An interview with Stuart Rose, a partner at Mirus Capital Advisors.

 

Few people in the investment banking world have more experience and knowledge than Stuart Rose. A partner at Mirus Capital Advisors, a Boston-based middle-market investment banking firm, Rose has been in the industry for nearly two decades, including four years at Mirus.

Rose started his career in the industry, managing budgets and eventually a  chain of shoe l stores for a dozen years. He then transitioned into catalogue and eCommerce, running divisions or companies for another dozen years. In addition to his extensive experience, Rose has taught direct marketing at the college level.

For the past 16 years, Rose has been focused on selling companies in the eCommerce, direct marketing, retail, wholesale and consumer product industries. In that time, he has closed dozens of deals totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Rose’s experience and knowledge have made him one of the top investment bankers in the country.

“I ran e-commerce companies,” he said, emphasizing how his experience has translated into success in investment banking. “I know how they are run. I know what’s possible. I know the dynamics of it. And I can understand and present and articulate what makes an E-commerce company special.”

But it’s not just experience that makes Rose a top investment banker. He sees himself as a good listener who tries to understand sellers’ motivation and what they are looking to achieve beyond just a financial transaction.

“These are their babies,” he said, referring to the emotional attachment many sellers have to their businesses.

“Being a good listener and letting them come forward with that and accept the risk that comes along with that as well because most people know that they’re not going to live forever and they’re going to have to exit at some point. And they should exit to someone when they have control,” he added.

When asked what advice he gives to eCommerce entrepreneurs looking to sell their businesses, Rose highlighted the importance of understanding the value of their company and preparing for the sale process well in advance.

“The toughest part of the deal, aside from signing up a new client, is the preparation because most of our entrepreneur-led businesses don’t have the systems and the accounting to properly present the business to a sophisticated buyer,” he said.

He added that “having good records and a good understanding of the business model [and] what drives value in your business” is critical to getting the right kind of buyers interested and ultimately achieving a successful transaction.

“You have to have a book that is understandable and correct. And having two or three years of good financial data certainly helps,” he added.

 

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
Sept 2022

Private Equity Firms Brace for Slow Quarter Ahead as Consumer Spending Shifts to Frugality

We talked to a dozen experts to find out what less consumer spending in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic means for private equity.

In recent months, as the Covid-19 pandemic has slowly receded in the United States, experts in the private equity world have been closely watching consumer spending habits. What they’ve seen is a shift towards frugality that is likely to have a profound impact on the industry in the months and years to come.

“Instead of eating that steak, they’re going to the QSR,” said Brent White, Vice President at Gauge Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm focused on investing in growth-oriented middle market companies. “What they’re trying to do is downsize what they buy and be more frugal on how they spend their money.”

White says the ripple effects of this new frugality are already being felt in the private equity world, where the deal flow has slowed, and valuations have come back down to earth. “We’re not going to see the elevated multiples. We’re going to see normalized multiples and valuation expectations for these businesses,” he said.

White is not the only one seeing this shift. Across the private equity landscape, experts are predicting a “less liquid” quarter ahead, as businesses that were once seen as sure bets become less attractive to investors.

“I do believe that there will be a slowdown,” said Bobby Sheth, Managing Director at Salt Creek Capital, a private equity firm based in Woodside, California, adding that he does not expect to see a recession like the one that followed the financial crisis of 2008.

“As we think about mass-market chains and products that are much more commoditized in nature, we think that there’s going to be a bit of a slowdown over the next three to six months for sure,” he added.

But Sheth added that specialized higher-end businesses such as certain wine racking service providers and wood flooring companies that he has invested in over the past year are likely to weather the storm better than their mass-market counterparts. As these businesses offer more experiential products and services that consumers are willing to pay a premium for and can be seen as a real asset that counters inflation.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict and its broader geopolitical implications on oil prices are among the other factors that could have an impact on consumer spending and, as a result, private equity in the months ahead.

“That’s probably what keeps me up the most,” said Sheth, “if that escalates, if that keeps on getting worse, what does that mean? I think broadly, and I saw this, again, kind of in 2008 and 2009, you know, if oil stays at elevated levels for a significant period, that causes all sorts of ripple effects across the economy.”

The new shift toward frugality is at odds with the first quarter of 2020, when consumer spending was 24% higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to a Bank of America study. But as inflation and gas prices rose and the government stimulus checks dried up,

consumers appear to have tightened their belts.

“People took a pause and started being cautious about where they spend their money,” said White. “And you’re seeing that flow through the balance sheet on a lot of these companies that we review that are coming to market.”

David Thibodeau, Managing Director, Wellvest Capital, a Boston-based firm investing and advising companies that are in the consumer health and wellness space, argues that further price increases could lead to an even more pronounced shift in consumer behavior.

“Many of our portfolio companies/clients have been taking price increases over the last year and multiple price increases,” he said.

“Not just one or two, but multiple. That’s going to reach a limit. The consumer is going to, at some point, start to say ‘no, we’re just not willing to [accept that]. I think we’re already we already seen that in some of the IRI numbers where people are moving towards replacement brand replacement products to brands,” he added.

Ketan Mehta, Managing Partner at The Corporate Development Group, a California-based investment bank that specializes in consumer products, remains optimistic, however, arguing that in the long term, the pandemic will lead to a pent-up demand for consumer goods and services.

“But I think we’re gonna have a soft landing,” Mehta said, predicting the supply chain issues that have plagued businesses in the past couple of years will eventually ease next year “We may dip into recession, a very short amount of time, maybe towards the end of this year or first quarter of next year. But I think 2023 is going to be an OK year.”

Similarly, Nick Barker, Partner at Longhouse Partners, a Detroit-based consumer-focused private equity firm, is bullish when it comes to the merger and acquisition market (M&A) for consumer businesses.

“Because of consumer demand, a lot of businesses are now, of course, trying to sell off of those arguably inflated earnings, and people are buying off of those inflated earnings,” he said.

“But I think we’ve seen several data points where that level of aggressiveness in the M&A market is persisting. I think everyone’s obviously kind of thinking about recession and what that may mean. So, there may be a little bit lower leverage applied to some of these deals and more and more equity, but we haven’t yet seen that have a massive impact on overall valuations,” he added.

 

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
August 2022

Can a Sales Rep Become a Business Development Director? One Man’s Story

An interview with Carter Owen, Director of Business Development at Petra Capital Partners

 

The journey from sales rep to business development director is not a typical one, but Carter Owen has made it look easy. Shortly after graduating with a B.A. in philosophy from Duke University, Owen started his career in sales at Oracle Corporation, a multinational information technology corporation. He worked out of Burlington, MA, selling software to large enterprises.

But after spending two years in sales, Owen received a surprising message from a recruiter on LinkedIn, asking if he’d be interested in a private equity role at Gemini Investors, a lower middle-market private equity firm based in Wellesley, MA.

“I think the subject line was a private equity company looking for Oracle Sales Reps,” he recalled in a recent interview. “I was like: this guy must be lost. There’s no way I can do this.”

But he soon learned that many of the skills he had acquired as a sales rep – relationship building, understanding customer needs, and negotiating – were transferable to private equity.

“I think my background is a little bit unique in the sense that I had no corporate finance background when I first started,” he said. “But the money is the money. Sellers are ultimately going to make their decision based on who the people are. To the extent that you can bring people skills to the table, that’s going to be beneficial in this business.”

He credits his success in private equity to several things, including his willingness to learn and adapt, and, perhaps most importantly, his ability to build relationships.

“A good salesperson is going to be the person who closes as many deals as possible. I think a good business development person is the one who can make as many friends as possible,” he added.

In 2020, Owen landed a more senior role at Petra Capital Partners, a Nashville-based private equity firm investing in healthcare and B2B services. He is the Director of Business Development, a role in which he is responsible for leading the firm’s marketing efforts and executing its business development strategy.

He offered the following advice to aspiring private equity professionals:

“Ask lots of questions,” he said, adding that he remembered he didn’t know what EBIDTA was when he first started in the industry. Being humble, coachable, and asking questions can take you far, he added.

He also added that newbies should try to find their own voice and not be afraid to share their own ideas.

“Don’t be afraid to stand by your opinions as it relates to certain investment opportunities, he said. “I think people are always looking for folks that are ultimately going to bring their own opinions, their deals, and their sort of their point of view to the table.”

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
July 2022

Victor Masaya: A Pioneer in Private Equity

An interview with Victor Masaya, Managing Partner at Presidio Investors and pioneer in the private equity industry.

 

Victor Masaya has been a pioneer in the private equity industry for nearly two decades. He is a managing partner at Presidio Investors, a lower middle-market private equity firm in Austin, Texas. He is part of the founding team at Presidio which was formed in 2017. I recently had a Zoom call with Masaya to discuss his career journey and what it takes to be a successful private equity investor.

“I wear very many hats at Presidio,” Masaya told me when I asked him about his day-to-day responsibilities, explaining that he is responsible for all aspects of the business, from fundraising and deal sourcing to portfolio management and exits. Masaya said that his experience in sales, banking, accounting, and the mortgage industry has been invaluable in his current role.

“Each of our team members, including myself, has a mix of both investing and operating experience,” he said. “From the third-party feedback that we’ve gotten, including for myself, [it’s] really just being able to have frank operational conversations with management teams, especially during initial management meetings,” he added.

He places a lot of importance on Presidio’s team dynamic and culture.

“We have a very thorough recruiting process,” he said. “If we just kind of start from the top of the organization, with our three managing partners, and one of our MDs, we’ve evolved, we’ve worked together in one capacity or another for over a decade. We know and respect each other styles. We’re not all similar as well, which is quite helpful. And I think just seeing that kind of interaction at the top of the organization is very helpful for anyone else that we bring in.”

Beyond finding the right team members, Masaya said that it’s also essential to have the right mix of people with different skillsets. But what guarantees success in private equity? He believes being “genuine and open” with portfolio companies from the start is critical.

“It’s really just coming down to being honest, transparent, and open with folks upfront, regardless of who the constituency is,” he said, providing a lesson he says he has learned over his career: “If you treat people well from the outset, they tend to treat you well later.”

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
June 2022

How A Massachusetts-based Company is Helping to Revitalize American Manufacturing

An interview with Anthony Manzo, Co-Founder and EVP of Corporate Development at Re:Build Manufacturing

 

In 2020, as the world was reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic, Anthony Manzo and colleagues launched their idea: build a company that would buy up small and medium-sized manufacturers and drive excess growth by deploying cutting-edge enabling technologies.

Re:Build Manufacturing, based in Massachusetts, was born. In just two years, the company has raised $425 million in committed capital and is well on its way to becoming a major player in the American manufacturing landscape.

I recently talked to Manzo via Zoom about his company, its strategy, and where he sees the future of American Manufacturing headed.

He started with the people that have been the force behind the company’s success.

“We are a group of individuals with expertise in engineering, operations and private market investing” he said, adding that this mix of skills and experience is key to the company’s success.

“[We] saw an opportunity to pursue a strategy of acquiring industrial technology companies and domestic manufacturing businesses, supercharging the manufacturers via infusing the technology to make them more competitive globally,” he added.

Manzo says Re:Build Manufacturing is not a “typical private equity” firm that just wants to buy companies, make short-term changes, and sell them off in 4-5 years. Instead, the goal is to make structural changes that will help them continuing growing for decades.

“Our businesses work with customers in a lot of different ways,” he said. “We can design and contract manufacture components. We can build plants for them. We have multiple automation offerings that can build one-off bespoke equipment to full-scale automation processes and even entire plants for companies.”

It’s this kind of thinking that has allowed Re:Build Manufacturing to thrive while other companies have struggled. Manzo says his company has closed nine acquisitions in the last 13 months and is on track to do more.

“We’re investing more into the cost structure of those businesses than what they had to date because we’re positioning them to accelerate growth,” he said, adding that his company is focused on the long-term. In 5-10 years, he said, “these companies are going to grow at a much greater rate than what their underlying markets are [doing].”

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
May 2022

Amanda Kim, A Rising Star in the Private Equity World

An interview with Amanda Kim, Vice President at Avante Capital Partners

 

With venture capital firms largely being a “boy’s club” for years, it’s refreshing to see a woman like Amanda Kim in such a high-level position at Avante Capital Partners. As Vice President, Amanda is responsible for all aspects of the investment process. This includes sourcing, due diligence, transaction structuring, and portfolio management.

In a recent Zoom interview, Amanda explained how she ended up in the finance world, what her day-to-day looks like, and her thoughts on the current state of the industry.

“I had initially wanted to either be President of the United States or a pastor or a high school math teacher,” said Amanda with a laugh. While she didn’t end up becoming president (or any of the other things on that list), she did find herself drawn to the world of finance and investing, where she says, “I like to think that I get to employ different aspects of that in my job.”

Prior to joining Avante, Amanda worked at Goldman Sachs in the Alternative Investments & Manager Selection group. It was there that she first developed an interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments, which are increasingly shaping the landscape of the finance world.

She says what surprised her was how critical soft skills, such as communication and emotional intelligence, are in the industry. “I think the first surprise is that soft skills are much more important than I would have thought,” she said.

“You spread the numbers. You have your financial observations, but when you walk into a management meeting, you don’t say, why was your business down 15% last year, and your margins got cut from 25 to 15%? This is their baby. We’re normally working on founder-owned businesses. They have invested their hopes and their dreams, and you need to have the [emotional intelligence quotient] EQ to understand that,” she added.

She says a woman can be herself and still succeed in the private equity world, but it’s essential to be aware of the challenges that come with being a minority in the industry.

“A lot of people in private equity have worked hard to get to where they are and feel like they have to be tough on the outside,” she said.

“But I’ve taken the opposite approach, where I think life is hard enough, particularly as a woman, particularly as a mom, this is not an easy industry… The last thing I want to do is spend time trying to come up with a fake persona and be tough on the outside. I’m just going to tell you what’s going on with my life, which may work for some people and may not for others. But that, to me, I think has helped. That’s just my natural inclination, but I think it has also helped in my relationship building because people can see that I’m genuine,” she added.

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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
May 2022