We have a unique and stable source of capital, which enables us to move quickly and be creative. We can invest as little as $2.0 million or as much as $20.0 million per transaction. Additionally, our capital source is patient and supportive. We are not interested in quick flips. We take a steady and measured approach to building businesses over the long-term. Importantly, we do not exit investments due to pre-determined investment periods dictated by partnership agreements.
During our twenty-plus years of collective experience, we have worked exclusively with lower middle market or small private companies. We understand the nuances, opportunities and unique challenges often present in both family businesses and private companies. Our understanding of and experience working with smaller private companies enables us to minimize disruption, maximize stability and be particularly effective through ownership transitions and other changes.
...We aren't perfect partners, we just work extraordinarily hard at it ...
Bringing an outside investor into a private company ultimately is about trust and confidence in people. We understand this, and our actions reflect this. At the end of every investment, our goal is for the owners and management team to say they made the right decision in partnering with Zabel, that we focused tirelessly on the success of the partnership, and that we delivered on all of our commitments to the company and the team. It is not lost on us that references to partnership philosophy are overused in the investment industry. This is why we encourage you to focus on our track record of effectively working with management teams. We aren't perfect partners, we just work extraordinarily hard at it by being consistent and reliable and dealing with high integrity.
A fundamental tenet of our investment strategy is to build a small portfolio (four or five companies) and to allocate more time to providing resources and support to our management team partners. To us, fewer deals means we know our companies better, we make decisions faster, we build stronger relationships with our management teams, and we identify more opportunities to enhance value. As all managers of small companies know, time is always at a premium; by limiting the size of our portfolio, we ensure that we have the time to invest in our partnerships.
Middle market debt levels often do not work with lower middle market companies. It doesn't take long for a small business owner to realize that excessive debt often means sacrificing sound investments for the long-term. At Zabel, we do not rely on financial engineering. We focus on partnerships with management, long-term planning, and sound operational execution to generate our returns. Zabel and its management partners determine the appropriate amount of debt for a business, rather than letting the market dictate how much debt we can source and how little equity we can invest. Having invested in eleven companies over the last thirteen years, the Zabel team has never lost a penny of bank debt. In fact, we encourage potential management partners to speak with our lending relationships as a reference.