Winona Invests in Fat Brain Toys
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Winona Invests in Fat Brain Toys

fat brain toys nf1Winona Capital has made an investment in Fat Brain Toys, a specialty and educational toy company founded in 2002 by husband and wife team Mark & Karen Carson.

“After building up a solid foundation over the last 12 years, we are excited for the opportunity to expand our unique brand of toys with the help of Winona Capital,” said Mark Carson, President and Co-Founder of Fat Brain Toys. “We’ve been quietly creating the best toy store the average consumer has never heard of, but now we’re ready to make some noise.”

Fat Brain Toys is a retailer and manufacturer of educational toys and games. The company operates one of the largest online toy stores, two physical storefronts, and wholesales its products to over 2,000 retailers domestically and around the world. At the American International Toy Fair held last month in New York, Fat Brain Toys garnered three separate nominations for “Toy of the Year”.  The company is based just west of Omaha in Elkhorn, NE (www.fatbraintoys.com).

jason starr nf1“We are thrilled to partner with Mark, Karen, and the entire Fat Brain Toys team. Theirs is a great entrepreneurial success story, and we are honored to be part of the business going forward,” said Jason Starr, a Principal at Winona Capital. “The company has a tremendous opportunity, not just for amazing continued growth, but to deliver ‘a smarter way to play’ for children everywhere.”

Winona Capital provides acquisition and growth capital to consumer goods and services businesses in the lower middle market that have revenues from $10 million to $100 million.  The firm manages more than $300 million on behalf of the Laird Norton family office and other institutional investors. Winona Capital is headquartered in Chicago (www.winonacapital.com).

“Through the success of our Tobbles and Squigz line of toys, we have tapped into a receptive audience of consumers that are seeking open-ended, creative play,” explained Mr. Carson. “In an era of digital entertainment and media-driven fads, Fat Brain is proof that toys don’t need licensed characters or batteries to be successful.”

New York-based investment bank Sonenshine Partners (www.sonenshinepartners.com) served as investment banking advisor to Fat Brain Toys.

© 2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 3-5-15

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