PE-backed SixAxis buys Upside Innovations

SixAxis LLC, a portfolio company of Falfurrias Capital Partners, has acquired West Chester, Ohio-based Upside Innovations, a provider of modular, customized aluminum stairs, ramps and canopies.

SixAxis LLC, a portfolio company of Falfurrias Capital Partners, has acquired West Chester, Ohio-based Upside Innovations, a provider of modular, customized aluminum stairs, ramps and canopies. No financial terms were disclosed.

PRESS RELEASE

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (June 2, 2021) – Charlotte-based private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners today announced it has facilitated the add-on acquisition of Upside Innovations by its portfolio company SixAxis LLC, which is headquartered in Andrews, South Carolina. Terms were not disclosed.

Based in the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester, Ohio, Upside Innovations designs, manufactures and installs modular, customized aluminum stairs, ramps and canopies. The company’s product line is a perfect complement for SixAxis, the leading manufacturer of safety and fall protection equipment, loading racks and other industrial solutions that was purchased by Falfurrias in 2017.

“Upside Innovations does for accessibility what SixAxis does for workplace safety, so the businesses are extremely compatible,” said SixAxis CEO Rob Honeycutt, who says his firm of 300+ employees had been looking for its first acquisition for some time. “Both companies share a similar DNA, an entrepreneurial spirit and a customer-centric philosophy. We both rely upon advanced modular design and manufacturing capabilities to produce sound, highly engineered solutions in a fraction of the time a true custom fabrication would require, which is a significant competitive advantage in the market.”

Upside Innovations founder Kevin Sharp will remain as president, reporting to Honeycutt, and the company’s 65-person headquarters and manufacturing facility will remain in West Chester. No workforce reductions are anticipated as a result of the merger; in fact, the principals anticipate considerable growth potential from the new partnership.

“We are excited to be joining a company where we can benefit from their advanced capabilities in product design, materials sourcing, sales and marketing, human resources and other resources that will help us grow,” said Sharp, a mechanical engineer who was inspired to start the company by the accessibility challenges facing his polio-surviving grandfather. “This partnership promises tremendous growth opportunities for our company and our people.”

The deal is consistent with Falfurrias’ “Industry First” investment approach of identifying categories with significant growth potential, then making strategic acquisitions that yield enhanced intellectual and operational efficiencies for greater financial performance.

“We see tremendous synergies between these two companies,” said Falfurrias Partner Chip Johnson. “They employ many of the same design and manufacturing principles but target different yet complementary customers. And Upside’s location in Ohio will be advantageous in terms of access to materials, shipping and human capital. This partnership makes us better positioned to capitalize on the multibillion-dollar market for highly engineered safety and accessibility solutions.”

About SixAxis LLC
SixAxis was founded by Fred Harmon and Rob Honeycutt in 2002 to deliver high-quality loading rack and fall protection solutions to companies around the world. The company has developed a portfolio of 13 diverse brands including SafeRack, ErectaStep, RollaStep, PerfectaStep, AeroStep and MarinaStep, all created to engineer and manufacture advanced products that increase safety and boost productivity. Additionally, SixAxis software solutions are engineered to simplify technology and propel industry leaders worldwide. For more information about how SixAxis is changing the world of manufacturing with a diverse array of innovative products and solutions that are made to give your business a competitive edge, visit www.sixaxisllc.com.

About Upside Innovations
Upside Innovations was founded in 2009 by Kevin Sharp, a mechanical engineer who who grew up watching his grandfather, a World War II and polio survivor, struggle to gain access to everyday places. That experience was the inspiration used to find better solutions for designing and building ADA-compliant ramp and step systems. Since the beginning, Upside’s focus has been to fill a gap in the market by providing a high quality, attractive ramp system, while providing world-class service to the industry. For more information about the company, visit www.upsideinnovations.com.

About Falfurrias Capital Partners
Falfurrias Capital Partners is a Charlotte-based private equity investment firm founded in 2006 by Hugh McColl Jr., former chairman and CEO of Bank of America; Marc Oken, former CFO of Bank of America; and Managing Partner Ed McMahan. The firm has raised approximately $1 billion across four funds and invests in growing, middle-market businesses in sectors where the firm’s operational resources, relationships and sector expertise can be employed to complement portfolio company executive teams in support of growth objectives. Falfurrias Capital Partners employs a proprietary, research-based process called “Industry First” to identify markets with durable growth trends, construct a thesis based on research findings, and partner with management teams to create strategic value. For more information, visit www.falfurriascapital.com.