Keystone Solutions eyes continued growth with Charter Growth Capital investment

October 13, 2019 - MiBiz

KALAMAZOO — A Grand Rapids mezzanine fund’s investment will enable Keystone Solutions Group to maintain its strong growth trajectory in the years ahead.

Charter Growth Capital Fund, formed this past summer by Grand Rapids-based Charter Capital Partners, made its first deal this month with an investment in Kalamazoo-based Keystone Solutions Group.

The funding will go toward supporting further growth, including buying an enterprise resource system that carries a six-figure cost, as well as purchasing new equipment, making strategic hires, and executing on initiatives “that keep us on this nice growth path,” said Keystone Solutions President Jim Medsker.

Medsker and Kerschen have known each other for a decade. Kerschen has watched the company’s progress, and Charter decided to make a minority investment when Medsker presented the firm with an opportunity.

“He’s taken it quite a long ways and we collectively can use that capital to continue to build out the team and the infrastructure and build a base for continued growth,” Kerschen said. more

Private equity fund invests in medical company

October 2, 2019 Grand Rapids Business Journal

The capital management arm of a local investment banking firm has made its first portfolio company investment from a mezzanine fund it set up earlier this year.

Grand Rapids-based Charter Capital Partners said today it has invested in Kalamazoo-based Keystone Solutions Group from its targeted $100 million Charter Growth Capital Fund.

The fund was launched earlier this year and closed its first $21 million in commitments in August.

Charter’s investment into Keystone meets the fund’s stated objective of investing $1 million to $5 million of mezzanine debt and/or equity capital into lower middle market companies in the Great Lakes region.

The undisclosed funding amount from Charter “recapitalized” Keystone and provided support for “key marketing initiatives and operational improvements.”

Keystone’s current management team will continue to operate the business.

The Charter team will “spearhead enhancements in processes and governance.” more

Charter Growth Capital mezz fund invests in Keystone Solutions

October 2, 2019 - MiBiz

Charter Growth Capital Fund, a mezzanine fund formed this past summer by Grand Rapids-based Charter Capital Partners, made its first deal with an investment in Keystone Solutions Group.

Keystone President Jim Medsker expects the strong growth the company has recorded over the last few years will continue. The investment from Charter Growth Capital Fund recapitalized Keystone and will go toward supporting further growth, including acquisition of an enterprise resource system, Medsker said.

Charter Capital Partners created the mezzanine fund to back lower middle-market companies in the Great Lakes region that need $1 million to $5 million in capital to grow, recapitalize the business, or make an acquisition. The fund targets profitable companies with annual revenues of $10 million to $50 million.

Charter Capital Partners seeks to raise $100 million for the fund.

“Keystone is one of the few holistic providers of both product development and contract manufacturing services for medical devices, providing value across multiple points on the product supply chain,” said Hector Bultynck, a managing director at Charter. “We are excited about their growth opportunities and look forward to translating that growth into meaningful returns for our investors.” more

Firm raising $100M fund

August 5, 2019 - Grand Rapids Business Journal

The capital management arm of a local investment banking firm is on its way to raising a $100 million fund.

Grand Rapids-based Charter Capital Partners closed $21 million in commitments toward its target raise of $100 million for its Charter Growth Capital Fund, according to the firm today.

Anchor investors in the fund include Mercantile Bank of Michigan and a strategic institutional investor, as well as several family offices and individual investors, according to Charter.

“Our ability to secure this initial close demonstrates confidence that investors support our vision and investment thesis,” said Hector Bultynck, managing director, Charter Capital Partners.

The Charter Growth Capital Fund is designed to invest up to $5 million of mezzanine debt and/or equity capital in lower middle-market companies in the Great Lakes region to support growth, succession or recapitalizations.

The fund’s flexible capital solution is meant to fill an underserved market, providing capital in the “difficult-to-access” $1 million-$5 million range, Charter said. more

Charter Capital targets $100 million for new mezz fund

August 4, 2019 - MiBiz

GRAND RAPIDS — A new mezzanine fund based in Grand Rapids seeks to raise $100 million to invest in growing companies, MiBiz has learned.

Charter Growth Capital Fund LP wants to back lower middle-market companies in the Great Lakes region that need $1 million to $5 million in capital to grow, recapitalize the business, or make an acquisition. The fund will target profitable companies with annual revenues of $10 million to $50 million.

Executives at Charter Capital Partners, working through Growth Capital Management LLC, sought to create the new mezzanine fund after seeing a need within their own work at the investment banking and M&A firm, said Dale Grogan, a manager of the new fund.

“The market has spoken,” Grogan told MiBiz. “There is a demand in the market.”

Most established mezzanine funds have a minimum deal size of $5 million, “if not $10 million,” Bultynck said. Finding mezzanine capital of even $4 million or $5 million “is very, very difficult to do,” he said.

“I just thought this was a perfect opportunity to raise a fund to focus on doing deals close to home in a bite size where there is a lot more demand than there is supply,” Bultynck said. “There is a lot of demand for it.” more

Concept for regional fund to back Great Lakes VC investors faces key hurdles

June 23, 2019 - MiBiz

The idea sounds simple: Create a $150 million to $200 million fund supported by foundations and university endowments to back venture capital investors in the Great Lakes states.

Actually pulling off such an ambitious idea likely would prove difficult, given the complexities involved and the kind of collaboration required in starting the fund, the need for which was outlined in a recent Brookings Institution paper.

Dale Grogan, a managing director at Michigan Accelerator Fund I, took a more optimistic track.

“I love the idea,” Grogan said. “It’s long overdue.”

“But being able to find some folks that are willing to lead that charge I think is the nice next step. First you have the theory, then you have the application,” Grogan said. “If we can move this into something tangible, that’d be great.”

The fundamental question of who could actually move the concept forward poses the first barrier.

While a Great Lakes regional fund of funds “makes lots and lots of sense,” Grogan said, “there are a limited number of folks that could do that effectively.”

Grogan also sees a need for public participation in a Great Lakes fund. Venture capital professionals in Michigan often credit the state’s 21st Century Jobs Fund with helping to grow the industry by investing in funds, yet lament that Lansing has been unwilling to continue that support with another fund of funds. more

Dale Grogan shares three takeaways for startups seeking VC with the MEDC

May 20, 2019 - MEDC

Dale Grogan, managing director of Michigan Accelerator Fund I (MAF-I), knows what startups and early-stage companies are going through. As the founder and owner of numerous businesses, he’s been there himself, raising more than $30 million in funds.

Now, he’s using his background and expertise to help business owners and investors bring their own hard work to commercialization.

Supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Initiative, MAF-I is a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage, Michigan-based companies focusing on life sciences technologies. Using its knowledge and network, MAF-I staff also help these companies find the right connections to grow even further.

Dale shares three takeaways on what investors want to hear in entrepreneurs’ presentations and how startups can benefit from better knowing their audience. more

NSC Technologies buys two Indiana-based staffing firms

May 8, 2019 - Staffing Industry Analysts

NSC Technologies, a shipyard staffing company headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, acquired Indiana-based staffing providers Staffing Resources Inc. and ULG LLC. NSC, which is a portfolio company of White Wolf Capital, also announced a recapitalization.

Staffing Resources, or SRI, provides light industrial staffing from a network of six branches in Indiana. The company was founded in 1994. Chris Gremelspacher has served as president of SRI since 2015.

Charter Capital Partners served as financial advisor to Staffing Resources, Inc. “SRI and NSC Technologies will be a powerful combination in the staffing marketplace,” remarked Mike Palm, Director, Charter Capital Partners. “We were excited to advise SRI to a great outcome and successful closing.”  more