Whether you are an entrepreneur or business executive looking for a financial partner, a business owner considering a sale, or an investor seeking a superior risk-adjusted rate of return, choosing the right private equity partner is an important decision with long-term implications. When Sentinel's founders named the firm, instead of putting their names on the door, they chose a name that captures the essence of our business philosophy:
Noun. One that keeps guard; a guardian; a sentry; a lookout; a defender; a protector.
Verb. 1. To watch over as a guard. 2. To provide with a guard. 3. To post as a guard.
We understand that owning a company requires responsible stewardship, and that accepting investment capital from others is a tremendous responsibility. We therefore seek to be thoughtful and prudent guardians of the businesses we oversee and the capital we manage. The name “Sentinel” is intended to publicly affirm our accountability and our pledge to the companies we have invested in and their stakeholders—employees, suppliers, and customers—and to those who have entrusted us with their capital.
As one of the nation's top lower middle market private equity firms, highlighted below are some reasons you might consider Sentinel as your future partner:
Established Record of Responsible Stewardship
We have an established record of responsible portfolio company stewardship and prudent oversight of investment capital. Since Sentinel's inception in 1995, we have executed a consistent investment strategy—with successful results—and have been reliable partners of our management teams. Moreover, we have delivered solid investment performance to our investors and have helped our management teams create significant personal wealth. When it comes to selecting a private equity partner, the importance of a compatible philosophy and strategic outlook, the character and acumen of its professionals, and the firm’s long-term record of success cannot be overstated. Those with whom we’ve done business are our best references. We encourage prospective partners to speak with our current and prior business partners and get a feel for what it will be like to work with Sentinel.
We Do What We Say
Sentinel's motto is, “business is good business if you can do it with the same person twice.” Intrinsic to our business is making promises to and plans with the owners of businesses we acquire, portfolio company executives, investment bankers and deal intermediaries who bring us investment opportunities, and our investors. Our best references are people we’ve done business with, and Sentinel has more than two decades of history to share with you.
We make decisions based on consensus and collaboration. We believe that our professionals bring unique perspectives and meaningful experiences to the table. Our experience teaches us that rarely do individuals singlehandedly develop the most effective strategy or best business decision. Whether you are the seller of a business, a member of executive management, an investment banker or deal intermediary, or an investor in Sentinel funds, you will get the very best collective thinking our firm can offer.
Fast and Flexible Decision-Making
We believe the cohesiveness of our team makes us flexible, quick to respond, creative, and non-bureaucratic. We operate out of a single office, strive to make impromptu decisions quickly, and consider our speed and flexibility important strategic advantages in our industry.
Quality, not Quantity
We are not a volume shop. Instead, we concentrate on making a small number of high quality platform investments each year, and making each one count. This discipline ensures that our companies and partners receive the attention and support they deserve. We do not interfere with the day-to-day management of our portfolio companies. As board members and shareholders, we focus on assisting with strategy development, identifying and helping execute add-on acquisitions, optimizing balance sheet capitalizations, structuring attractive incentive compensation arrangements that align interests, and helping and advising management teams.
Network of Valuable Resources
We have developed a valuable network of resources, including industry consultants, experienced operators, forensic accountants, lenders, and add-on acquisition sources. These resources—always available to our businesses and management partners—can act as a sounding board for new ideas, help execute a business strategy, or simply allow our executives to concentrate on managing the day-to-day activities of their business. Sentinel seeks to add value in several ways, including mentoring management teams, streamlining strategic direction, implementing information systems and reporting protocols, advising on add-on acquisitions, and connecting our business partners to Sentinel's network of relationships.
Sentinel invests exclusively in lower middle market companies. We are open to a variety of transaction types, including management buyouts, purchases of family businesses, recapitalizations, corporate divestitures, industry consolidations, and going-private transactions. We also invest in special situations, including balance sheet restructurings and operational turnarounds.
Our current fund has $1.3 billion of committed capital from prominent institutions, endowments, foundations, state and government pension systems, sovereign weath funds, corporations, and high-net-worth families. The size of this capital base relative to the financial needs of most lower middle market businesses provides us with resources to support aggressive organic growth plans, tuck-in and transformational add-on acquisitions, and industry consolidation and diversification strategies following the initial platform transaction.
Specialized Industry Sector Knowledge and Established Investment Record
Sentinel focuses on eight industry sectors in which we have considerable prior investment experience and an established investment record: aerospace/defense, businesses services, consumer, distribution, food and restaurants, franchising, healthcare, and industrials. We believe our knowledge of each sector gives us credibility with prospective senior management teams, which can strengthen relationships and often provide a competitive advantage in the acquisition processes. In addition, we believe Sentinel’s multiple platforms in each sector allow operational best practices to be shared across our portfolio. Also, because of the large number of portfolio companies we have invested in during the past two decades, we have access to a significant network of executives across our eight targeted industry sectors that can provide value-added perspectives. We believe specialized industry knowledge has enabled us to achieve an early mover advantage in developing key insights, reacting quickly to opportunities, and acting with greater conviction.