Independently Sponsored

Independently Sponsored: Crescendo Capital Partners

AUGUST SPOTLIGHT

CL Turner, III

Founding Partner

FIRM OVERVIEW

Crescendo seeks lower-middle-market businesses eager to ascend; then weave their capital, operational expertise, and hands-on collaborative approach to unleash organic and acquisitive growth.

Firm Profile
Founded in 2014
Based in Austin, TX
Offices: Charlotte, Chicago
$400 Million Sponsored
50+ Years of Experience
12 Platforms Closed
8 Exits
Areas of Focus
Healthcare Services
Niche Manufacturing
Food & Beverage
Business Services
Distribution
Construction
Building Services/Products
Investment Criteria
Industry Agnostic
Revenue: $20-150 million
United States & Canada
Consistent Profitability
Strong Growth

5 Questions with CL Turner, III

What’s THE firm’s origin story?

I formed Crescendo to house my ownership positions in a PE portfolio developed by a UHNW. After three years with him, I planned to join a recognizable LBO firm. While negotiating comp, a deal found me. That deal didn’t happen, but the next one did. For 3-4 years, I worked with a handful of friendly indies, co-sponsoring ~5 deals, choosing partners based on geography, domain expertise, bandwidth, etc. In ~2017, my most prominent co-conspirator died unexpectedly when I had three deals under LOI, so I had to form infrastructure around Crescendo. I started with Mike MacRitchie, whom I had known for 5+ years, who is now a Partner.  We’ve added 4 additional investment professionals, both in Austin and Chicago, plus an Operations Partner and a CFO Partner.

As for the name, I am a closet musician. (Years ago, I was in a reggae band, playing to dozens in the Caribbean.) The name “Crescendo” is a musical nod … soft to loud, similar to our portfolio companies.

What is your investment thesis or value proposition?

We are old economy buy-out investors. We spend 80% of our time, broadly speaking, in construction, renovation, and repair; and we have developed an ecosystem around this vertical. We take best geographies, best companies and develop scale, geographic diversity and amplified service results. We’ve had three nine-figure exits and four deals with an MOIC in excess of 6x.

Any notable differentiators for the firm?

We tell owners that we have 3 main differentiators:

  1. We substantially use our own money.
  2. We live in the construction/renovation/service world.  
  3. We maniacally focus on cultural and personality fit. The FOOs (founder owner operators) who sell to us almost always fit a certain profile. We gear our entire approach, formal and informal, to bond with the FOO.  Our Texas and Midwest roots play well to this owner base. We are in the “people business” — we preach it, and we try to live it.

What are you looking for, and where are you seeing opportunities?

We source equally from brokers (as opposed to IBs) and outbound searches in areas where we have a developed thesis. We remain in the same verticals, only larger, with median entry EBITDA pushing $10 million. Our pipeline is more robust, reflecting a total CCP team of 8.

Finally, can you regale us with an interesting or funny m&a story?

I’ll give you two for the same price.

We once had a business owner blame poor performance on PTSD from a prior incident. Not wartime, but a basketball scrum. Apparently, a pick-up game turned into a free-for-all among the mainly 50+ year old participants. Broken noses, separated shoulders, and some black eyes resulted. Performance fell in the 3-6 months afterward, as a result of this owner’s inattention and mis-focus, which he alleges resulted from the aforementioned hoops scrum, despite the fact that he was uninjured.

And secondly, one incumbent CFO insisted that we continue to pay his monthly tab at the, ahem, “gentlemen’s establishment” across the street, where he took an extended lunch every day. We learned after close that these lunches were all expensed to our firm, typically at $100+ outlays. He demanded a salary adjustment; we declined. Ultimately, he was replaced, albeit after his options had vested. Unsurprisingly, the options became embroiled in a divorce dispute after his wife learned about the lunch dalliances.

“Independently Sponsored”

Trivest has a long and successful track record of working and closing deals with independent sponsors. In this series, we interview a leading or up-and-coming independent sponsor about their firm. To mix things up, at the end of each interview, we ask our guest to recount a particularly memorable (and hopefully humorous) deal-making experience. Our goal is to deepen the knowledge and strenghten connections within the independent sponsor community.
Interested in taking part? Have a potential transaction to discuss?
EMAIL TONY HILL

About Trivest

Trivest Partners, with offices in Miami, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Toronto, is a private investment firm that focuses exclusively on the support and growth of founder-led and family-owned businesses in the U.S. and Canada, in both control and non-control transactions. Since its founding in 1981, Trivest has completed more than 400 investments, totaling approximately $7 billion in value. The firm has over $4 billion in assets under management, with a growing team of over 60 professionals. Trivest is one of only 15 firms recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the top founder-friendly private equity firms in three consecutive years.

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