Joined Lanier Securities LLC as President/CEO

Jeff Villwock announced that he has joined Lanier Securities LLC as its President & CEO.  Lanier will privately place debt and equity securities through the direct solicitation of investors and provide investment banking services including M&A and corporate advisory services.   We intend to provide alternative investment products to individual investors through direct investment into companies and by marketing funds which will provide investors diversity and high yield current rates of return.

Lanier Securities is in the process filing a New Membership Application for FINRA’s approval to operate as a licensed broker/dealer.

This is a new era of capital formation in the US.  The JOBS act gives smaller companies a new opportunity to be properly capitalized.  We will use our experience to find good companies that deserve to be well capitalized, and then work with these companies through their life cycle.  It is our goal to become a firm known for raising capital for deserving private companies and assisting those companies to create value for shareholders.

This is an exciting time for capital formation in the USA and I believe we have an opportunity to make a meaningful difference for companies seeking capital and for the investors that wish to invest.

Growth Equity – Is Crowdfunding the Answer?

Crowdfunding is gaining a lot of press.  The SEC has finally come out with proposed rules and regulations to allow companies to raise growth equity through crowdfunding.  But is that the answer for most entrepreneurs in search of capital?

It’s very important to distinguish between “investment crowdfunding” and “direct investor solicitation”.   Most people think of Kickstarter or similar web sites when thinking of “crowdfunding”.  On these sites, an entrepreneur may raise some capital as donations, giving investors back product or other promotions, but not equity in the company.  Generally the amounts raised are small.

“Investment crowdfunding” rules were just issued by the SEC in October and won’t be effective until May 2016.  In investment crowdfunding, companies will be able to raise up to $1 million per year, and unaccredited as well as accredited investors can participate.

While that’s a move forward and will surely seed a lot of companies, most existing companies that have proven concepts need more than $1 million in $5,000 or $10,000 increments.

The JOBS Act also opened the door for “direct investor solicitation”.   Before the law changed, companies could not “solicit” for investment.  As an example, a company could not run an ad in the Wall Street Journal saying they wanted to raise $5,000,000 in equity.  

Medway Air Ambulance – A Home Run

It’s my pleasure to announce that Medway Air Ambulance has completed a recapitalization resulting in a significant liquidity event for its owner, and a growth capital infusion by Merit Capital Partners and American Working Capital.

In just over two years, we worked with Rick Moore, Medway’s CEO, to double the revenue, more than double the profitability and increase equity value by more than 5x. After the recapitalization, Rick continues to own a significant piece of the company and remains CEO. It is my personal expectation that Medway can double its revenue again over the next three years, and potentially triple over the next five years.

It has been great to work with Rick and to assist him in adding the financial discipline, debt financing and to jointly create a growth vision for the company. When we first talked about a joint venture in 2012, he thought I was crazy … this would never happen. We started with a good company at the end of 2012, and over the next two years created a world class company.

My congratulations to Rick for the great job he has done, and to Merit/AWC for the opportunity they have to work with Rick and his excellent staff to take the company to the next level.

Villwock Advisory Services joins Axial

Villwock Advisory Services LLC announced that it has joined Axial as member in order to introduce our services to a broad base of lower middle market companies, and to the private equity and debt funds that provide capital to these companies.

Axial is a network of over 16,000 companies, including investment banks, private equity, lenders and operating companies.  The platform has become “the place” for each of its constituencies to network with potential clients.  Companies use the site to find advisors, whether that be to raise capital, provide advisory services or investment banking services.  Bankers and advisors use Axial to market or test market transactions, and to attract new clients.

Villwock Advisory Services works with middle market companies, private equity and debt funds in several ways:

1.  We partner with operating company CEOs to develop and implement a growth and exit plans.  As an example, we start working with a company in late 2012 that had plateaued at $12 million in sales for five consecutive years.  Less than two years later, the company is on track to produce over $24 million in revenue and EBITDA margins have improved.  The CEO’s equity value has tripled,

#1 Mistake Business Owners Make When Ready to Sell

You’ve built a nice business, congratulations.

Now you’re ready to sell.  Would you like to receive the full value for your business, or would you rather just get 60-80% of the value?

Stupid question, right?  Not really.

Please allow me to let you in on a secret … entrepreneurs are typically horrible at getting their business ready for sale!!

Don’t believe me?  Ask M&A attorneys who get the call from their client that they want to sell, and would like the process completed in 4 months and want to maximize value in an all cash sale.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked with a CEO/Owner and they want to start the process today.  Sometimes they tell their lawyers.  Sometimes their accountants.  But more times than not, owners who want to sell start with the assumption that the business is ready for sale … and even worse, that the CEO is really ready to sell the business.

Let’s ask a few very basic questions:

Is the corporate structure ready for a transaction?  We worked with one client for over a year,

How We Help You Grow With Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is at the heart and is the soul of everything we do.  Whether it’s developing a capital strategy, exit strategy or growth strategy, it all begins by understanding what the CEO and/or owners of the business want accomplish.

It’s the old “what do you want to do when you grow up” question.  But now we take the answer and drive to make it a reality.

We can’t say this enough … it ALL begins with what YOU want to achieve.  Along the way we may influence you to moderate some goals, make other goals bigger and maybe add or subtract something, but the goal always is to get you to where you both REALLY want to go, and what can REALLY be achieved.

You know from experience that sometimes a different set of eyes will see something that we miss while in the weeds of daily operations.  We also know that if we ask the right question, then a CEO can begin to see the business in a different light.

The exercise itself of having an outside third-party evaluate a business, and help in projecting that business forward can be an invaluable tool.