Source Talks is a series where we discuss deal origination with PE and M&A pros, in collaboration with David M. Toll.
In this episode, we speak with Pierce Coticchia of Altamont Capital about the firm’s operational focus and their latest commitment to entering the ESG market space.
Pierce, tell us about Altamont Capital and the kind of investing that you do there.
Altamont Capital is a lower middle market private equity firm. We’re based in Palo Alto with an additional office in Austin, Texas, which is actually where I sit. The firm was founded in 2010. We have more than $4.5 billion in assets under management today, and we’re an operationally focused firm. So, if you look at our professionals, we have a lot of former consultants, and that’s part of what drives our operational focus. We have a few verticals we focus on; I would say despite being in, in Palo Alto, the one sort of broad area we don’t touch is technology. But besides that, we’ve done a lot in consumer and multi-unit, industrials, business services, financial services, and healthcare.
Pierce, tell us about a recent deal or transaction that you’ve done there that kind of illustrates the opportunity set you’re seeing.
I’ll walk you through our most recent platform, which is a company Nutrition 101. This is an environmental services business. We’ve been looking in the space developing a thesis for two-plus years. Mesirow, an investment bank out of Chicago, is a group that we’ve had a relationship with for 10-plus years. They came to market with this business and it’s one that I’d say from the moment we got the teaser, kind of knew it checked all the boxes or most of the boxes for what we were looking for.
In terms of the business model, they deal primarily with dairy waste or byproducts, so on behalf of the big corporations they will collect liquid dairy waste. A lot of times they’ll dry it, process it, turn it into non-fat, dry milk, and then it gets passed along to farmers as animal feed. So, a pretty unique, cool closed loop type of ESG process that we thought was very interesting and we were excited about it from the get-go.
Pierce, tell us about the role that technology plays in your deal sourcing operation.
We will lean on our CRM to track all that data, you know who’s shown us, what deals, when’s the last time we met with them, which deals have closed. And then I would say we also use SPS as a great tool for us. So, they will send us reports that will show the past month, here are the deals that have closed, and we’ll then reference that with, okay, we did a management visit on this deal, here’s who ended up buying it, how did that process unfold. But to take that a level further, it will show deals that we didn’t see that closed, or that could have been in our wheelhouse or criteria. That’s where we’ll look at those and say, you know, does this truly check our criteria, and if so, is there a reason we didn’t see it or is this an intermediary that we weren’t familiar with. It does a great job of enabling us to do that.
Pierce, tell us about a hidden talent that you have or a hobby you pursue outside of work.
I have two young daughters and travel a good amount for work. I feel like when I’m home, I try to spend most of the time with them. So being in Austin, it’s a lot of swimming pools and a lot of breweries with playgrounds, that type of stuff.