Whitney Johns Martin and TWV Capital Management
Whitney: “Well, most of my career has been in the area of mergers and acquisitions. When you asked me that question earlier I started thinking back to the beginning and it actually did start with mergers and acquisitions when I practice law in the early ‘80s, very early ‘80s. And I learned about mergers and acquisitions by working in a law firm and doing transactional work involved in both the buy side and sell side of product companies.
And that evolved into wanting to leave the law firm so that I could do a much broader range of services for my clients. I didn’t like billing by the hour and just giving them the legal advice. I liked working on all parts of the transaction, so I actually started a mergers and acquisitions firm; again, this was by the mid-’80s. And we focused on both buying and selling privately held companies with revenues under a hundred million dollars. So I learned a lot about buying and selling companies for individuals and also working with private equity fund who oftentimes would fund those individuals to buy the business.
And I worked with the sell side quite a bit. And as part of that practice we did a lot of evaluations, so our firm did evaluations for defending, evaluations to the Department of Labor or in an ease-up plan or certainly in a transaction. So that was a tremendous experience and background for what became the third part of my career, which is now on managing private equity fund. So we are investors in privately held companies and from time to time are involved in helping those companies build value in their business and then also sell their companies and have an exit for the founders of that company… (continues)
T-W-V Capital is a private equity fund, so we raise money from individuals, family offices and foundations and then we take that money and look for opportunities to invest that money into growing companies that may not only grow the capital, but they would like to have access to some of the human resources, skill sets and advice and resources that we can bring to the table. So that may sound like most private equity funds but I think we’re quite different because we have over a hundred investors in our group who are very savvy, successful business people, professionals, executives who are at the top of their industry or the top of their professions.
And we’re able to look inside that investor group and determine who could be a good group of advisors for these companies that we invest in. So it’s an immediate advisory board that you can select, “oh, that person has industry experience or this person has sold companies like mine who can help me build mine and sell mine.” So we look to see who in our group is the perfect match and find several of our investors if not a handful that can work with this company through the different stages and the different steps of evolving that company from one stage to the next. So that’s what’s exciting.”
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