Source Talks ep. 28

Source Talks is a series where we discuss deal origination with expert PE and M&A pros.
In this interview, David Toll of speaks with Natalie Yates, Head of Business Development & Investor Relations at Vance Street Capital on their targeted investment approach and the value of attending conferences to develop relationships in focus segments.

Tell me about Vance Street Capital and your investment strategy there.

Vance Street Capital is a lower middle market private equity firm. We’re headquartered in Los Angeles. And really what differentiates us is we’re investing in mission-critical companies. So, these are companies with, um, engineered products or services selling into aerospace and defense, MedTech, life sciences, and industrial tech markets.

Natalie, tell us about the importance of conferences to generating deals for you.

Because we’re so targeted in our investment approach, really we get the most value out of attending industry conferences that are directly related to those verticals. Every year, our entire team attends the MDM west conference in Anaheim. The MDM happy hour that we host every year has become the preeminent event and way to source and build the brand at Vance Street. When it started, I think we had 30 or 40 people in attendance. And this past year in April, we had over 260 attendees. And these are CEOs or founders of MedTech companies. There are also key industry partners, such as the head of purchasing at some of the large blue chip OEMs. Then there are sales reps, consultants, CEOs in waiting, marketing strategists and our entire team, as well as all of our portfolio company executives and operating partners. Our aim is to develop these relationships over time so that when an entrepreneur is ready to sell, we’re the first firm that comes to mind.

Natalie, tell us about the role that technology plays in your deal sourcing operation there.

One tool that we invested in about 24 months ago was Sutton place Strategies. And I had just come on board as we were ramping up with SPS. And for me, that was invaluable because the landscape of potential intermediaries is so vast. With SPS I’m able to drill down in specific industries and even within sub-verticals within those industries, to be able to determine who is doing deals within the sub-segments we play in. So every week, SPS sends me an email notifying me of the deals that have closed in my industries. And occasionally I’ll find a deal that we haven’t seen from an investment bank that we don’t know. That happened just last week in fact. So I reached out, inquired about that specific transaction, and I’m having a call with the investment banker next week, and he’s really excited to talk because he focuses specifically on one of the industry verticals we focus on.

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