Chicago Pros Form Turnout Capital

Turnout Capital, a new lower middle-market private equity firm, has been formed to invest junior capital in small, growing businesses across a range of sectors.

Turnout makes both control and non-control investments of subordinated debt and equity in North American-based companies with $5 million to $50 million of annual revenue and at least $1 million of EBITDA. Transaction types range from growth equity to traditional buyouts. Turnout is currently fundraising and targeting a $100 million-plus fund using an SBIC structure.

The new Chicago-headquartered firm was founded in August 2020 by partners Rob France, Andrew Simmons, Will Oberholtzer and Mike Lazarczyk. All four of the founders are former professionals of Chicago-based High Street Capital.

Mr. France has 20 years of investing and advisory experience. Prior to founding Turnout, he was a partner and an investment committee member at High Street. Before joining High Street in 2007, he worked in distressed private equity at Questor, investment banking with Donnelly Penman, and valuation with PwC. Mr. France has his MBA from the University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree in finance from Michigan State.

Sectors of interest for Turnout include business services, manufacturing and distribution/logistics sectors with a specific focus in food processing and ingredients; testing, inspection and certification; and specialty treatments and coatings.

“We have a deep understanding of the lower middle market, and it’s been clear for some time that traditional private equity firms persistently underserve and underestimate these companies,” said Mr. Simmons. “By providing patient capital, including both subordinated debt and equity, Turnout Capital will provide much-needed access to private capital for small, growing companies.”

Mr. Simmons has 18 years of investing and advisory experience. Prior to founding Turnout, he was with High Street from 2009 to 2020, most recently as a partner and an investment committee member. Earlier in his career, he was with private equity firm Hilco Equity and investment bank Lincoln International. Mr. Simmons has his MBA from Dartmouth College and his undergraduate degree in business administration from Washington and Lee University.

Mr. Oberholtzer has more than 30-years of experience in private equity and has been involved in sourcing, acquiring, managing and exiting more than 50 transactions across varied sectors. In 2001, he co-founded High Street’s first institutional fund and was instrumental in setting strategy, raising capital, building the investment team and investing the top decile fund. During the past five years, Mr. Oberholtzer has been directly involved in the operations of several High Street portfolio companies, including spending the last nine months as the chairman and chief executive officer of Superior Fibers, a West Virginia-based producer of long-strand glass fibers used in various filtration media. Mr. Oberholtzer has his MBA from the University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College.

Mr. Lazarczyk was a summer associate at High Street during 2019 and from 2014 to 2018 he was active in commercial lending in the Chicago office of Wells Fargo. He has his MBA from Harvard and his undergraduate degree in finance and accounting from the University of Illinois.

“As a former portfolio company CEO, I have worked professionally with the Turnout team and have known them for over 10 years,” said Randy Cimorelli, the former CEO of Mac & Massey, an Atlanta-based wholesale food ingredient distribution and brokerage business that was acquired by High Street in 2007 and sold to Chicago-based Batory Foods in 2011. “They bring a deep experience base and, in my direct experience, a highly supportive approach to working with the portfolio management teams and businesses. I expect them to have continued success investing and building businesses in the lower middle market.”

Turnout Capital is headquartered in Chicago and is actively looking for new investments.

© 2020 Private Equity Professional | November 24, 2020

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