PE HUB Wire Highlights, 7.8.19

Factory floor to private equity manager: a first-time funds story

Happy Monday!

This is Chris, on the Wire today and tomorrow for Luisa, who is on vacation.

What do you have going this week? What kind of drama is going on out there this summer?

First-timers: Our annual first-time funds feature is out this morning. Here’s some snippets from the article. Check out the full piece, including our list of 65 or so first-time funds in market, here:

How do you go from a job installing bumpers at a Toyota factory in Kentucky to managing hundreds of millions of dollars for a private equity fund?

It’s a compelling story, and one that John Stewart is happy to share when he talks to limited partners. It flows nicely into his pitch for emerging manager MiddleGround Capital: As experienced operators at manufacturing companies, Stewart and his two partners can honestly tell would-be portfolio companies: “We understand the problems that face employees working in industrial businesses.”

Just getting an LP’s attention, especially for a first-time fund manager, is hard. So it helps when you have an interesting story to tell, like Stewart, co-founder of MiddleGround. Prior to forming MiddleGround, Stewart spent more than a decade at Monomoy Capital Partners.

Stewart’s professional career started on the shop floor of a Toyota plant. He began as an hourly worker on the second shift, installing bumpers on the Toyota Camry. From there, he completed an undergraduate degree through a program offered by Toyota and rose through the ranks of the organization. Along the way, he learned a lot from the Japanese mentors the company brought in to work with the American workforce.


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