Center Stage with CohnReznick: Hullson Partners
The independent sponsor community is growing in size and relevance. Independent sponsors face a variety of unique challenges, including sourcing transactions, raising capital, and maximizing the value of their investments. In our experience, we’ve noticed that successful independent sponsors meet unique challenges with unique solutions. Center Stage with CohnReznick is a program designed to elevate members of the independent sponsor community for their achievements, contributions, and unique approach to achieving their goals.
This month we’re featuring Sam Henderson and Michael Hullings of Hullson Partners.
ABOUT HULLSON PARTNERS
Years in business
- Launched in June 2022
Number of investments
- None yet
Typical size of investments:
- Check sizes can range from $5 million to $25 million.
- We are generally industry-agnostic but have a preference for Business Services and Niche Manufacturing companies.
Q&A WITH SAM HENDERSON AND MICHAEL HULLINGS, CO-FOUNDERS AND PARTNERS
What motivated you to strike out on your own as an independent sponsor?
We founded Hullson because we are entrepreneurial-minded investors who have a passion for working with business owners and management teams who have built great companies with strong foundations to scale.
What advice do you have for those who are just getting started?
Our two biggest pieces of advice are 1) find great partner(s) and 2) have lots of conversations. It can be daunting and challenging to go out on your own to start any business, but having great partners on your side makes the journey that much easier and that much more enjoyable. Before we officially launched Hullson, we had close to a hundred meetings or calls with people within our network who we looked to for advice. We were pleasantly surprised with how all of these individuals were so willing to listen to us, share feedback, and be sounding boards.
To date, what has been one of your greatest breakthrough moments?
The greatest breakthrough thus far has been officially launching – it took a lot of time and effort to get us to that point, and we are very excited for what lies ahead.
When compared to other investors, what do you consider your key differentiators?
We are Investors in Culture. We seek out management teams who are passionate about collaborating on long-term value creation, and who may not have had the resources to build out an institutional growth strategy. Driven by this common purpose, we seek to continue to build on the legacy of our owner and operating partners.
What are some of the best reasons that capital providers should be attracted to you?
Some of the most dynamic private markets opportunities are found away from the traditional fund model. We believe that being an active capital partner can provide opportunistic returns to our LPs, who maintain the discretion to evaluate each of our opportunities on a deal-by-deal basis.
What are your greatest challenges right now?
Managing our time. In our early stage we are very focused on continuing to expand our pipeline of opportunities/intermediary relationships, evaluating new platform investments, and simultaneously managing our investor relationships.
What are some of the things you love about being an independent sponsor?
We are constantly motivated by our conversations with operators, who often represent a second- or third-generation management team that is poised for their next stage of growth. It is these calls and meetings that reinforce our commitment to being active capital partners alongside these skilled operators.
Favorite ice cream flavor
- Sam: Mint chocolate chip
- Michael: Chocolate peanut butter cup
- Sam: Chips and salsa
- Michael: String cheese
Name of your first or current pet
- Sam: Tucker (Weimaraner)
- Michael: Henry (Golden Retriever)
- Sam: “Goldfinger” (I’m a James Bond fanatic)
- Michael: “The King’s Speech”
Best business book
- Sam: “Originals” by Adam Grant
- Michael: “Liar’s Poker” by Michael Lewis
Best vacation spot
- Sam: St. Barths
- Michael: Bermuda
- Sam: Parc in Philadelphia
- Michael: Our kitchen, my wife is an amazing cook! A close second would be Savona in suburban Philadelphia.
Favorite charitable organization
- Sam: SPCA
- Michael: Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals
Best concert you ever saw
- Sam: Bruce Springsteen
- Michael: Elton John
Favorite beverage (adult or otherwise)
- Sam: Dirty Martini
- Michael: Tito’s over ice with lemon garnish
Most surprising thing about you that nobody would guess
- Sam: I love to cook.
- Michael: I love to cut the grass and maintain our yard. It can be cathartic!
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