Investment Criteria


Investment Criteria

Business Characteristics

Niche market leaders uniquely positioned relative to their competition

  • "Mind share" leaders - high brand awareness in a target markets based on reputation, quality and the respect of peers, customers and suppliers

  • Competitive differentiation through: proprietary processes or technologies; design, engineering or product innovation; customer relationships and sales & marketing expertise

  • Competitively advantaged cost structure, but sufficiently well-positioned such that they don’t compete based solely on price

Current sales of $10 - 125 million with significant growth potential - organic and through acquisition

$3 - $12 million in sustainable EBITDA with margins in excess of 10%

Control transactions in the $10 - 75 million enterprise value range typically requiring $3 - $25 million in equity

  • Willing to selectively consider later stage, growth capital investments

Talented, entrepreneurial management teams passionate about their business

  • Willing to consider selected situations where senior management or selling shareholders seek to exit the company assuming a strong core team will remain

International sales and marketing potential

Non-union or union-friendly

Companies with primary operations located in the United States or Canada

"I have known Ken and Steve for nearly a decade.  My firm, Peninsula Capital Partners, first invested alongside Rock Gate in the acquisition of Walpar.  We continue to be impressed by Ken and Steve’s unwavering commitment to not only the long-term success of the business, but also to the personal success of every member of the Walpar team.  

Our belief in Rock Gate’s business principals and philosophy, has led us to invest with their team in several additional investments.  Each of these investments have performed well beyond our underwriting expectations. 

Peninsula has been backing investors and management teams in middle-market businesses for over 22 years, and Rock Gate is at the top of our list in terms of performance, capability, effort and their commitment to partnership."

Karl E. LaPeer
Peninsula Capital Partners


Industry Sectors

Industry Sectors

We are generalists; however, over time we have focused a majority of our time on opportunities in the following categories:

  • Engineered Products
  • Infrastructure Products & Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Organic and Specialty, Food Beverage & Agricultural Products (learn more)
  • Specialized Business Services
  • Value-Added Distribution and E-Commerce

"I had the opportunity to work with Rock Gate during the depths of the great recession of ’08 – ‘09.  Their team was willing to dig in and really understand the business at a deeper level while others were seeking to re-trade terms.  Despite the challenging environment, they worked diligently to execute a fair and equitable deal for all parties."

Duane P. Donner II
Managing Partner
Founders Investment Banking LLC
Sellers' Investment Banker


Investment Types

Investment Types

  • Recapitalizations
  • Buyouts
  • Corporate divestitures
  • Industry consolidations, and
  • Later stage growth capital investments
  • Add-on acquisitions for platform companies

"Rock Gate said what they were going to do, and did it. It’s refreshing to work with a buyer who understands the big picture, but can also dig into important details without getting caught up in unimportant minutiae.  While fair, Ken was a firm negotiator and represented his partners' interests with integrity and assertiveness."

Darrell Butler
Managing Director
Billow Butler & Company
Sellers' Investment Banker