Managing Partners Rob Wolfman (left) and Jordan Tate (right).
“Blood, sweat, and tears.” That’s what you, or someone you love, have given to the business that you’ve created, nourished, and developed as your livelihood. Enter a private equity firm, a company that devours your business, chews it up, and spits it back out at high profit (probably looking nothing like it did before). Did you just shudder? We did.
People. Transparency. Integrity. Excellence. Mutual Respect. Accountability. Our values are admirable. But what business doesn’t list integrity as one of their top priorities? And of course every business professes to pursue excellence. Entities that are legitimate in pursuit of virtue must demonstrate the truth of their claims. For Montage Partners, people are, and will always be, of highest value.
Above all other investment criteria, Montage Partners invests in exceptional people. Montage Partners provides liquidity to those who have spent years of their life building great companies, Montage Partners protects those companies through a transition of ownership, and Montage Partners supports the next generation of a company’s leadership in executing growth initiatives.
When we make an investment, we win together with our partners, through teamwork, not at one another’s expense. No surprises. Long-term relationships and respect for the legacy of what has been achieved far before our involvement.
Montage Partners is not a typical private equity fund. We have more freedom than a legislated monetary pool; we have appropriately flexible hold-periods, which allows us to support our partner companies for the optimal amount of time. We intentionally invest in companies inside of our 7-state footprint—all within a 2-hour flight radius of our office—so that at the drop of a hat, we can easily visit the people who make each business thrive. For each investment we make, we invite our management partners individually to invest in the business as well. Ultimately, we bet on people who bet on themselves, and there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing our management partners win.
We would argue that a high regard for people is, at its basest, best practice. But even if holding people at high esteem had no benefit for our company—or moreover, if it were detrimental to us— we would stand by it because it is our conviction.
Why is it our conviction? Because we, too, are entrepreneurs, and we understand the emotions of having expenses, taking on risks, growing a business, and increasing staff and space; we have empathy for what it means to pour a life’s work into an endeavor. At the end of the day, Montage Partners is a family-owned business, and, just as you might have done, we started our company from scratch.
Embedded in our DNA is the appreciation that great people are the makings of a great company. Rob Wolfman, Managing Partner, had his start in investing years ago at an employee-owned investment bank focused on advising founders in the sale of their businesses. While there, Rob observed the magnitude of the life-long work that many business founders had achieved, and the impact the decision to sell made on each one’s life. In Rob’s words, “People capital is humanized when you’re purchasing someone’s life work, as opposed to giant firms that trade businesses publicly, discounting the ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ that each person sacrificed to make his/her business grow.”
Managing Partner Jordan Tate explains that, at Montage Partners’ inception in 2004, the people-first ethos was—and is—the authentic reflection of the team’s personal values. Throughout our 20+ transactions, it has been consistently tried and true that partnering with the highest quality people results in the most fulfilling outcomes.
This is our commitment: (1) we will be highly selective in our decisions with respect to people we invite onto our team and people with whom we partner at the companies in which we invest, and (2) we will be highly supportive of each person as an individual. As a firm, we seek to support each team member’s personal goals, career, and self-development, and to provide a support system through the challenges and successes of work and life.
So we’ll leave the business buffet to the other guys; we have no interest in swallowing your business for a violent overhaul and resale. Your company succeeds because of the labor that you have contributed, and because of the people who you have assembled. The earth’s greatest resource is not trade, currency, or commodity; it is people. But unlike quantifiable assets, which are valued only for their utility, people’s worth is inherent.