We believe that when you do the same thing over and over you eventually get pretty good at it. This is why we stay focused and why we have kept our funds and our team small. We don't intend to get big because we don’t believe that private equity scales all that well. We like to go deep with the management teams at our companies and by having concentrated portfolio, we have enough time to help out and have a big impact.
We are not a good fit for every company. We take majority ownership in technology companies where our operating team can have a big impact on the investment outcome. We look for companies with proven products, profitable operations, predictable revenue models and great product-market fit in a niche industry. We only invest in companies headquartered in North America. We stick to what we are good at, so if you are looking for venture capital, purely growth capital or debt, that’s not us, but we would be happy to talk and introduce you to some great people who might be helpful.
The tagline on our homepage says it all — Products that Matter, Cultures that Last. Once we acquire a business (and even during our due diligence), we focus two key areas. Products — helping product teams develop a clear, compelling product strategy and a plan that they can execute. People — bring together a diverse group with complementary skills and create alignment, trust and accountability. We like to be deeply engaged with our companies because they need help getting things done faster — not someone telling them how to run their business. Sometimes we work alongside our management teams inside their office; other times we take these things off their plate so they can focus on other things. We like to think we are pragmatic, not dogmatic. Every solution requires a different approach and we’ve been around long enough to have some good ideas about how to help you get the job done.
FOR FOUNDERS & TEAMS
We mostly buy companies from founders but sometimes we carve-out divisions from bigger companies. This means we are always working closely with the management rather than other investors. Management always know their companies, their products and their markets better than we will. Our goal is to help them build their companies faster, more predictably and with the right tools and team in place to capture the biggest opportunity possible. We get it because this is all we do. We know how to work with founders and their management teams transitioning to a private equity owned company. We think company building is fun, but we also understand that it is hard and it takes patience, empathy and a group of people who listen first, talk second.
With all the talk about proprietary deal flow in our industry, you’d think that intermediaries didn’t exist. Our team has been sourcing deals for almost three decades. We appreciate the role you play in discovering cool companies, getting them ready for a sale and introducing them to us. Please keep doing that! Here is our promise: we are a fast “No” and a committed “Yes”; we show up prepared for meetings and keep our iPhones in our pockets; we don’t kick tires just to stick around in a process; and we try to make you look good along the way. And here is an invitation: we invest in some pretty great companies that you should get to know. We are happy to introduce you to our portfolio and we hope you can make time to visit when you are in Chicago.
FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS & CONSULTANTS
We subscribe to the William Gibson quote that says, “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Our goal is to bring the future to our portfolio companies to help them grow, compete and execute. We have surrounded ourselves with some impressive operators and practitioners with specific skills we can tap into for the benefit of the companies we own. If you have a particular skill that can help small companies grow, we’d love to talk. If you know about technology and where it’s headed, we’d love to hear your thoughts. If you know how to work with management teams at small companies and you care more about getting results than getting credit then we are going to get along just fine.