The 3 core values that set KCO apart
We differentiate ourselves in terms of our own business model as well as through our investing philosophy. Our approach is to think and act like business owners, not passive investors. We maintain a disciplined focus on our core market—the lower end of the middle market—and seek to make strategy-led investments in partnership with business owners and founders.
Businesses of this size benefit the most from our direct involvement—it is in this segment of the market where we as a firm have the most to offer—therefore, by focusing our efforts here we can produce differentiated returns for ourselves and our investor-partners (including the owners/founders of businesses in which we invest).
We believe inefficiencies in this segment of the market afford the most attractive investment opportunities from a risk/return perspective.
The engine of economic growth in this country is small businesses. By investing our time, effort and capital here, we can help build the next generation of world class businesses and thereby derive differentiated returns for ourselves and our investor-partners.
We want to "control our own destiny" as much as possible in terms of generating investment returns for our partners and ourselves. That is, we do not rely on economic or other forces that are beyond our control or influence to derive our returns. We believe that rigorous execution of a sound business strategy is the key to driving fundamental value and generating exceptional investment returns, while best controlling downside risk.
We believe the days of high leverage and ever ascending purchase price multiples are gone. Without a differentiated business strategy, the ability to generate fundamental value, and thereby derive differentiated returns, is severely limited if not non-existent.
For a firm of our size, our partners have remarkably diverse backgrounds and skill sets. It is this experience that allows us to work with founders and management to actively assist in the execution of the strategy, rather than to act as passive investors.
Change, and the ability to adapt to it, is a business reality in today's economy. Only by thoughtfully exploiting changes underway in a given marketplace can businesses emerge as leaders in the future.
Partnering with business owners
Our philosophy is to partner with business owners/founders to help them achieve a shared long-term vision for the businesses they have created. We are often the first non-family or non-founder investor in the businesses in which we invest. We do not generally "cash out" business owners entirely - rather we structure our transactions to align interests and allow business founders and owners to benefit from the dramatic value creation that we can create together.
Very often, the single largest repository of knowledge and experience about a given business is the owner/founder of that business. We value that knowledge and experience and want to build on it. Only by creating a real partnership can we truly access this value as the foundation for our investments.
We provide substantial, tangible value to business owners/founders by bringing a wealth of experience and skills that are not often present in smaller companies. By combining our strengths, we can accelerate growth and value creation far more than could be accomplished on a standalone basis.
We are business owners and entrepreneurs ourselves, and we welcome and enjoy working with other entrepreneurs.