On June 8, 2022, over 80 people from the Rochester M&A and private equity ecosystem joined Upstate Capital at the M&A Advisor Series event at the Oak Hill Country Club. The event welcomed service providers, transaction professionals, business advisors, PE investors, and business owners and entrepreneurs contemplating strategic growth and/or ownership transitions for well-established companies.
This event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors. Thank you to Shawn and Gary Baker of Cochran, Cochran and Yale for sponsoring the reception and the country club. Thank you to Woods Oviatt Gilman, David Kocen of Bluehenge Capital Partners, Five Star Bank, Andrea Feine and Sam Messina of Paramax.
The M&A Advisor Series began with an invitation-only roundtable. The closed-door meeting allowed CEOs of leading companies to meet in a private, small group setting. Invited CEOs leading $1M+ revenue companies spoke with the keynote speaker, Mark Murphy, about his experiences building his business and using private capital to do it.
Sam Ticknor, Principal at Union Hill Advisors and an Upstate Capital’s Board of Directors member, introduced the content. Union Hill is an advisor for Hamilton Lane and helps on its NYS direct investment platform targeting mid-sized companies to help them stay and grow in New York State. They have over $500M to invest in New York companies and provide various non-control capital solutions ranging from pe to mezzanine debt. Since 2001, they’ve made over 75 investments in New York State companies, making them one of the most prolific investors in the State.
Sam introduced Doug Ackley, the Rochester Director at The Center for Teen Empowerment, to start the program. Doug talked about the organization’s mission to employ, train, and empower youth to, in collaboration with adults, create peace, equity, and justice. Next, Sam Messina from Paramax talked about the investment banking firm specializing in strategic sell-side advisory services. Paramax also provides acquisition advisory services, financing advisory services, valuations, fairness opinions, and business consulting to middle-market privately held and publicly-traded corporations with enterprise values between $10 million and $500 million.
Upstate Capital Board Member, David Kocen, introduced the panel. David is a Managing Member at Bluehenge Capital Partners, where he invests in unitranche/mezzanine loans and minority equity investments from $3MM to $25MM in size to middle-market businesses. Before Bluehenge Capital, he was a Director at Stonehenge Capital for 16 years.
The keynote conversation focused on the story of Greenlight Networks and how using the key decisions and inflection points, with a particular focus on leveraging private capital, allowed the company to grow, scale and exit. The conversation features Mark Murphy, who founded Greenlight Networks in 2011 after a 20-year career in the telecom industry. He grew the company from the ground up and raised $100M from Tom Golisano and Impact Capital. That capital helped accelerate the growth, and this year, Oak Hill Capital purchased the company to add to their Upstate NY telecom portfolio.
He was joined by Martin Birmingham, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Five Star Bank, and Mike Parrinello, Partner at The Bonadio Group and member of the Management Committee and leads the Firm’s Advisory and Commercial Practices. Gordon Forth moderated the conversation. Gordon is a Partner at Woods Oviatt Gilman and Chair of the Firm’s Business & Finance Department.