Oct 31, 2023

We are proud to announce that for the fourth consecutive year, Kian has been named to Inc. Magazine’s fifth annual Founder-Friendly Investors list honoring the private equity, venture capital and debt firms with the best track records of success backing entrepreneurs.

“Since day one, we’ve found that marrying trust with partnership and transparency leads to transformation,” said Kian Co-Founder and Managing Partner Rick Cravey. “We seek to create a sense of shared alignment with our management teams that enables us to find the best solution in every situation — which has led to our own continued growth as an investment firm. Receiving this recognition for the fourth year in a row is humbling and inspires us to continue to empower our portfolio companies with the experience and resources they need to accelerate growth, strive for long-term success and realize their aspirations.”

To compile the list, Inc. went straight to the source: entrepreneurs who have sold to private equity and venture capital firms. Founders filled out a questionnaire about their experiences partnering with private equity, venture capital and debt firms and shared data on how their portfolio companies have grown during these partnerships.

We are grateful for the partnerships we have with Kian portfolio company management teams. Below are some of their thoughts about working with Kian:

Bryan Brown, CEO, PARC Auto: “Kian’s impressive track record in the automotive space and founder-friendly approach solidified my decision when choosing a partner. I am proud of the reputation we’ve built and the high-quality service we’ve provided to our customers over the last 27 years. We’ve hit many exciting milestones already, and I am confident that with Kian we can accelerate our growth to reach new heights.”

Jeff Wallace, President and CEO, Team Air Distributing: “At Team Air, we’ve always been committed to being the best partner possible to each and every customer. When the search began to find the best possible partner for Team Air, it was of vital importance to find one with the same values, commitment to excellence and willingness to help us achieve our goals to expand into new geographies and take advantage of opportunities as quickly as possible. From the moment we met the team at Kian, it was obvious that they believed in backing the business as well as the people who make it happen every day. They are 100% focused on supporting my vision for growth, and I am confident that they can provide the resources, support, expertise and relationships to help us build an acquisition program coupled with our vision for organic growth that will make Team Air the #1 distributor in the Southeast.”

Joe Stephens, CEO, Motor City Industrial: “The team at Kian were true partners, providing critical guidance as we navigated meaningful growth and a challenging operating environment brought on by COVID. They showed unwavering support for our company and people, investing the capital and time needed to maximize Motor City’s potential, seize opportunities and fortify the business. This support, combined with the team’s hard work, led to a successful outcome for the company’s stakeholders and a new partnership that will set us up for continued success in the years to come.”

    Kian is a lower-middle-market focused investment firm with $825 million of capital under management and a focus on four core industry sectors: consumer, services, value-added distribution and specialty manufacturing. Our team of seasoned investors has over 100 years of collective experience providing transformational capital solutions and board-level strategic and operational guidance to founder/owner-operated businesses.

    “Our culture drives success for not only our firm but more importantly, for our portfolio company partners,” added Kevin McCarthy, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Kian. “We believe in a combination of humility, hard work and dedication and we see that it transcends the entire organization, driving success and positively impacting our relationship with our portfolio company management teams. This award is a testament that our approach works.”

    The full list of firms and accompanying article can be viewed here.

    Inc.’s Founder-Friendly Investor list comprises firms identified by Inc.‘s editors or submitted to Inc. through an application process. Kian Capital applied to be considered. Inc. gathers data on how the firms’ portfolio companies have grown and interviews founders about their experiences with the firms to establish the annual list. The list recognizes firms with a track record of backing entrepreneurs by providing the financial support needed to help businesses accelerate growth while remaining actively involved following the firm’s investment. Kian Capital paid for both the fee to participate and to acquire rights to the Inc. logo for the years 2020 - 2023.

    Receiving this recognition for the fourth year in a row is humbling and inspires us to continue to empower our portfolio companies with the experience and resources they need to accelerate growth, strive for long-term success and realize their aspirations.

    Rick Cravey
    Co-Founder & Managing Partner