In his nearly eight years with Gibraltar Business Capital, Michael Conrad, senior vice president, business development officer, and team leader, has seen first-hand what it takes to provide businesses with innovative financing terms. Mike joined Gibraltar after a 25-year banking career, primarily at Wells Fargo and Bank of America. He is responsible for originations in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions and has originated many of the company’s successful financing partnerships. His most recent transaction closed was for Dynatronics, a publicly traded designer and manufacturer of orthopedic supplies and equipment.
We sat down with Mike to understand what companies value most about working with Gibraltar.
What have you seen that differentiates GBC in the lending industry?
We often hear from financial sponsors and borrowers how quickly we analyze a situation, provide a term sheet, and close the transaction in short order. We do that by bringing in senior leadership at the early stages of each transaction. This process translates into rapid decision-making. As such, our clients and financial partners are confident we can deliver on the initial terms and close on time. It is also why many former financial sponsor clients come back to us for multiple financing partnerships.
What do you find most rewarding about your work at Gibraltar?
Our focus is working with clients navigating special situations and turnarounds, and we are industry-agnostic for the most part. As a result, we are fortunate to be asked to evaluate a myriad of business models and industry sectors. This makes every day unique and intellectually challenging. Building on that, all our clients are managing through a transition or otherwise wouldn’t be engaged with us. Our ability to understand company-specific issues while utilizing the experience and knowledge base we have gained over thousands of transactions allows us to structure bespoke financing for clients. This gives our clients and their financial partners the flexibility to complete their plans while running their core business. In several cases, our funding has preserved jobs for the long run, which I find particularly rewarding.
What makes Gibraltar’s business model unique?
We believe there is no one-size-fits-all financing solution and often provide more flexibility than the competition. We look holistically at each potential borrower’s needs, evaluate the borrower’s history, examine the people involved, and attempt to create tailored capital solutions that best suit each client. We also provide significant flexibility in our credit structures, which allows our customers to continue to operate their businesses through their typical cycles, including any potential issues that may arise. We provide higher advance rates on certain assets, offer customizable amortization schedules on fixed assets, and offer over-advance tranches. We provide the same flexibility post-close as we realize turnarounds aren’t always completed on the original timetable. We can provide greater flexibility than the competition in many cases due to our very experienced originations and underwriting teams.
From a relationship and communication perspective, we focus on being direct and proactive. We pride ourselves on helping clients avoid surprises. We believe transparency and awareness are vital to achieving that goal. And, if a situation does not fit our financing capabilities, we provide a quick no, which clients and financial partners appreciate.
What has changed most in the past decade in this industry?
The most significant development I have seen is the general acceptance of the non-bank ABL product. Our product fills a valuable niche in the financing life cycle in both good and challenging economic cycles. I have spent much of the last eight years educating institutional investors on what our products can do for their investments when they had no idea a firm could provide such flexibility for a company, for example, that has had a significant decline in EBITDA or that we could underwrite and close a transaction with negative cash flow looking forward.
How has Gibraltar adapted to those changes?
Capital tends to follow good ideas, and our space has become much more competitive over this time. This has forced us all to improve what we do. Some of the changes we have made include lending on more types of assets on the balance sheet, such as real estate, and lending into evolving business models, such as e-commerce. In addition, we now do quite a bit of acquisition financing for performing companies, as we can be flexible regarding required equity contributions and include stretch tranches outside of the total asset value.
How does the team at Gibraltar foster a “DealMinded” culture?
The team at Gibraltar fosters a client-first culture that starts with always doing the right thing for the customer. We are very relationship-oriented, which has thankfully translated into repeat business from many professional investors, including private equity. Also significant is the credibility we have built with our clients over time, translating into many warm referrals to new clients from existing ones. It is also very impactful when trying to get mandated on a transaction with a new client to provide a long list of satisfied references.
To learn more about Mike and our experienced business development team, visit the sales team page on our website.