Ex-Roark exec Toby Chambers forms independent shop

  • Toby Chambers worked at Roark for 11 years
  • Worked on deals like Schlotzsky’s Deli and Moe’s Southwest Grill
  • Red Dog has aspirations to raise an external fund

Toby Chambers, a former Roark Capital Group executive, recently left the firm and formed his own shop, Red Dog Equity, to partner with managers and founders looking to grow their businesses.

Chambers worked at Roark for 11 years, prior to which he worked at Rhone Group for six years.

At Roark, Chambers was actively involved in investments like Batteries Plus Bulbs and Quala, an archived version of Roark’s website shows.

He also served on the McAlister’s Deli board and worked on investments in Schlotzsky’s Deli and Moe’s Southwest Grill, the website said.

Chambers formed Red Dog along with Tom Connolly, who previously was senior vice president at XPO Logistics. He spent eight years as a managing director at EVE Partners.

Red Dog at first plans to invest on a deal-by-deal basis before attempting to raise an external fund, possibly starting next year, sources said.

It will target industries including infrastructure services, business services, restaurants, consumer services, specialty retail, retail medical, specialty distribution, light manufacturing and industrial and environmental services.

The firm will seek companies in the lower-middle market, typically with between $2 million and $20 million of Ebitda.

Core to Red Dog’s strategy is partnering with founders and managers who are looking for growth but want to retain operational control of their companies.

The firm characterizes the strategy as partnering with “red dogs,” a term it borrowed from author Tom Wolfe that describes driven, talented entrepreneurs where formal education is less important than business savvy and experience.

Chambers did not respond to a request for comment.

Red Dog is one among several independent-sponsor shops formed by well-known executives leaving bigger shops.

Another such firm getting LP attention in the market is GHK Capital Partners, launched by ex-Goldman Sachs executive Gilbert Klemann.

GHK targets investments in the lower-middle-market industrial sector. The firm plans to raise a traditional fund in 18 to 24 months, Klemann told Buyouts in a prior interview.

Action Item: Read more about Red Dog here: http://reddogequity.com/red-dog/