This week the Lead Left chats with Robert Gefaell, co-founder and partner, Plexus Capital. Plexus focuses on subordinated debt investments in middle market companies, with a total of $550 million under management across three funds.
Community Bank Services (CBS) has been in business since 1980, looking for business partnerships that can help North Carolina’s banks. This help might mean working with banks to find a more efficient model for business operations, or introducing services and products that will produce bottom line earnings or create savings on existing business. When we find these partnerships and connect them with our bankers, the result is a “win-win” combination that benefits all parties involved.
However, true partnerships rarely “just happen.” They require mutual commitment and respect, as well as hard work from both sides, no matter the endeavor. This is the recipe that led to the partnership between CBS and Plexus Capital as the two work together to benefit the economy of North Carolina and North Carolina banks. The partnership between CBS and Plexus began almost 10 years ago, and the rest is history – an ongoing history.
November 5, 2014
This week’s guests were Johnson Cook and Kel Landis. Johnson Cook is the CEO & Founder of Voxa, the Co-Founder and Director of the Atlanta Tech Village, and a Partner at Atlanta Ventures. Kel Landis is the Co-Founder and a Partner of Plexus Capital, and the author of The Little Book of Do.
Listen to our conversation on starting your company, creating distinctive core values, life as an entrepreneur, building a community that promotes great ideas, and living a life of “do”.
Johnson Cook on Looking Two Steps Further: “The original idea was around this very simple problem that stuff doesn’t get into the CRM. So that was where we started. We said, ‘Hey. There’s a big hole here.’ We were looking more at the CRM, less at email. We said, ‘Email is a big thing we can add to the CRM.’ The clients were really asking for the very small incremental innovation. It was the investor pitches over six months to about 105 investors where we refined our vision. They looked at what we were doing ans said, ‘You guys have a solid team. You got a solid idea, but you’ve got to find the bigger vision. You’ve got to find the platform play. What’s the billion-dollar platform that can go disrupt something, not just, ‘Let’s help CRMs be better’.’ It was cool because that vision was there all along, and companies would eventually come to the realization and would ask us for that, but it was the investors who challenged us to look two steps further than we were looking right now.”
Kel Landis on Doing: “I say that the two-letter verb ‘do’ is the most powerful word in our lives, if we will live what it means. It just means that the book is really about the notion that every day we all wake up with a choice to do what matters in our own lives, but our families, our businesses, and our communities. We don’t spend our lives having a long list of ‘want to do’s’ or ‘one day I’m going to do’s.’ This book talks about ways to examine what to do and what not to do and finding the inspiration and the tools to do it, and then acknowledging all the benefits that come from a life of ‘do’.”
Sept 2, 2014
CHARLOTTE, NC – Plexus Capital announced its partners have appointed Michael Painter as Managing Partner. Painter, one of five founding partners, was promoted as part of a long-planned transition and succeeds Bob Anders, who has served as Managing Partner since the firm’s inception in 2005.
Under Anders’ leadership, Plexus invested $365 million, partnered with 61 small businesses, and raised more than $550 million. Anders will remain a full-time partner and member of the investment committee, as will all other founding partners, Kel Landis, Mike Becker and Robert Gefaell.
“Michael is the right person for the job,” Anders said. “He is immensely qualified and has the unanimous support of our team. This transition is part of our commitment to building an institutionally driven firm with significant management depth. We are intensely committed to doing both.”
Painter has worked closely with Anders and the other founding partners since their time together at Centura Bank in the mid-1990s. “Enduring relationships are at the core of everything we do, with our portfolio companies, our investors and our team,” Painter said. “Over the past decade, that is how we’ve built Plexus. We will continue making substantial investments to develop our professionals as we prepare our next generation of leadership.”
Named 2013 US Small Business Investment Company of the year, Plexus has a committed and growing investor base, including 45 banks, 115 individuals, and 6 institutions. Investors from Plexus’ first two funds increased commitments by more than 150% in Plexus Fund III, a $300 million fund raised in 2013. Plexus has deployed $95 million in 11 companies from its current fund and actively seeks additional opportunities to partner with profitable small businesses with $10 – 100 million in revenue.
UNC Kenan-Flagler honored eight award winners at its15th annual Alumni Association Awards ceremony Nov. 1, 2013. The awards recognize members of the School community who personify the core values (http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/about/core-values) of excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork — qualities for which the School is known.
“The success of our alumni is an honor to the School and the faculty and staff who played a part in their education,” said John P. (Jack) Evans, interim dean. “These awards celebrate alumni who have distinguished themselves through their careers, their contributions to the broader community and their service to UNC Kenan-Flagler. We recognize them as role models for the graduates who will follow.”
Three Alumni Association Awards were presented:
Five honorees received Alumni Merit Awards, given by the degree programs to alumni who personify the School’s tradition of excellence. They are:
May 3rd, 2013
CHARLOTTE and RALEIGH Plexus Capital, which specializes in providing growth capital to lower middle market businesses across the nation, has been named the U.S. Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) of the Year for 2013. In announcing that Plexus is the top SBIC of more than 300 in the nation, Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills cited Plexus Capitals hard work, innovative ideas and dedication. Plexus Capital will receive the SBIC of the Year Award June 21 during the 50th Anniversary of National Small Business Week. The North Carolina-based firm has just completed raising $150 million in private capital from its long standing limited partners. Pending final SBA approval, this private capital will be combined with leverage from the SBA in the same amount to create Plexus Fund III, with total available investment capital of $300 million. Plexus invests across a broad range of industries and typically in privately-held, lower middle market businesses across the United States. Plexus Capital meets strict SBA licensing criteria in order to provide subordinated debt and equity capital as an SBIC serving small businesses across the nation.
Being named the nation’s Small Business Investment Company of 2013 speaks to the value we are providing to our investors and small businesses across the country, said Plexus Capital Managing Partner Bob Anders. Plexus is distinguished by our focus on relationships, our determination to create access to growth capital for U.S. middle market businesses, and our proven ability to continue to earn the confidence of our investors. With investments in more than 50 businesses, and experience managing through all economic cycles, we have proven ourselves to be patient investors with the experience it takes to succeed. The SBA selected Plexus Capital for the honor based on its award criteria which included portfolio company revenue and employment growth, strong commitment to overall business growth, management of portfolio companies, and participation in the small business community.
The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is a private-public partnership created in 1958 to fill the gap between the availability of growth capital and the needs of small businesses. The SBA’s Investment Division licenses qualified private equity fund managers and provides them with access to low-cost, government-guaranteed capital to make investments in U.S. small businesses. (see http://www.sba.gov/content/faqs)
Click here to see our announcement as a PDF.
Over the past two years, Plexus Capital has made investments totaling more than $100 million in high growth, lower middle market businesses from its $175 million Plexus Fund II.
Specializing in providing growth capital in the form of mezzanine, subordinated debt, or preferred equity, Plexus launched Fund I in 2005 and followed with Fund II in 2009. The Plexus team currently manages approximately $255 million of investable capital and has closed 45 investments between its first two Funds.
“Plexus conducts exhaustive due diligence, employing the most current technology and maintaining close contact with our portfolio management teams. We strive to build a mutually beneficial relationship with each of our constituents — always with the long term in mind. What distinguishes Plexus is our desire and willingness to serve as a valued strategic financial partner to each and every one of our portfolio companies,” said Bob Anders, Plexus managing partner.
Plexus focuses on providing growth capital to healthy businesses located in the Eastern United States with revenues between $20 million and $100 million. The private firm is a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) and provides funding from its private investors in collaboration with the Small Business Association.