WILsquare Capital has been launched in St. Louis to make investments in lower-middle market companies. The new private equity firm is co-founded by William (Bill) Willhite and James (Jamie) Wilmsen.
WILsquare Capital will focus on businesses that are located in the Midwest and South that are often family-owned and have revenues of $20 million to $60 million and EBITDA of $2 million to $7 million (www.WILsquare.com).
“Throughout the Midwest and South, there are businesses built by entrepreneurs, business owners and management teams that emphasize culture, values and family,” said Mr. Willhite. “We understand the unique challenges these business owners face when seeking a partner for the future of their company. We will invest not only financial capital in those businesses, but our team will work hard to grow those businesses, while being careful to protect the owner’s reputation and legacy with their employees and within their industry.”
Mr. Willhite has spent more than 20 years in private equity. He has participated in more than 100 transactions exceeding $5 billion and has served as a director of 30 lower-middle market companies, including 14 as the senior member of the Board of Directors. From 2007 through 2014, Mr. Willhite was with Thompson Street Capital Partners (TSCP), a St. Louis-based private equity firm, where he served as a Managing Partner and helped lead the firm through its $307 million second fund (TSCP II) and execution of a successful $380 million fundraising for TSCP III. While at TSCP, he was a member of the Management Committee and Investment Committee which oversaw 13 platform acquisitions, 22 add-on acquisitions and nine exits during his tenure with TSCP. Prior to TSCP, he spent 13 years at Harbour Group, another St. Louis-based private equity firm. There, he served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director and was a member of the Executive Committee and Investment Committee.
“We are a heartland business ourselves with heartland values, and believe that the currency of success is accountability and dependability,” said Mr. Wilmsen. “We identify with the unique challenges a lower-middle market company faces to achieve and sustain success and to innovate and grow. We have lived this in our own professional experiences and look forward to sharing these experiences with our partners.”
Mr. Wilmsen has more than 20 years of managerial, operational, financial and profit loss management experience. From August 2009 to December 2013, Mr. Wilmsen was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of XIOLINK, a St. Louis managed hosting and colocation provider, until its acquisition by Cosentry in January 2014. Mr. Wilmsen remained with Cosentry as the Vice President and General Manager of its St. Louis Division until he became the Chief Financial Officer of Unite Fiber Networks from September 2014 through June 2015.
Messrs. Willhite and Wilmsen are joined at WILsquare Capital by Senior Associate Jack Randazzo. He joins the firm from US Bank’s Sponsor Finance Group where he participated in financings for private equity acquisitions of numerous lower-middle market companies.