There are many small, local companies founded by people who have great respect for their employees, their customers and suppliers, their communities and the environment. In many of these small businesses, the founders and managers, who are knowledgeable and skilled in their products and services, may lack the financial and business expertise and the capital needed to grow their businesses. When they lack these resources, small businesses often stagnate or fail to take advantage of opportunities that will lead to sustainable growth. As a corollary, many small business owners often are so focused on day-to-day operations that they do not have the time or do not dedicate the resources to implement practices that would enhance their businesses. These businesses need help in order to grow and prosper.
There are other small businesses whose founders are looking for an opportunity to sell their companies and step out of management. While these founders naturally want to get fair value for what they have built, they are also concerned about the impact of an ownership change on their employees, their communities and the environment. What they are looking for is a new owner who will continue their legacy and build on their success. These founders want to sell, but not sell out. This is where Upstream 21 comes in. We acquire Upstream Companies that have demonstrated potential for growth and financial success. We believe that the owners of some of these companies will view being part of the Upstream 21 family as helping them with their continued growth and success. For other owners seeking a transition for their legacy, having their company become part of the Upstream 21 family should offer a preferred alternative to selling to other potential purchasers, not only because of the financial and other resources available, but also because of the core principle of a broad definition of “best interests” that governs our decision-making.
Company Selection Criteria
Upstream 21 is seeking to acquire businesses located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California and British Columbia. As we grow, we may consider businesses in other geographic areas, but only if we believe we can do so while maintaining a close working relationship with all of our subsidiaries.
A typical acquisition is an operating business with annual sales in the range of $1-15 million, with positive financial performance over at least the past two fiscal years and reasonable projections for similar performance in the future. This template, however, is not inflexible, and we may acquire companies with limited operating histories if we determine that they meet the qualifications listed below. In addition, as Upstream 21 grows, acquisitions may include companies with annual sales of more than $15 million, subject to the availability of capital to finance such acquisitions.
Potential acquisitions need not possess all of the following characteristics, but Upstream 21 will acquire only businesses having these characteristics OR businesses that we believe can develop these characteristics with our help. Upstream Companies:
-Place high value on being a local/regional presence.
-Recognize and value the role of their employees in the success of their businesses.
-Demonstrate a commitment to transparency, openness and integrity.
-Have a solid management team.
-Prefer strategic growth that emphasizes regional and sustainable production rather than “growth at any price.”
-Manage a values-driven business model that produces solid profitability, cash flow and balance sheets.
-Offer attractive products and services for a sustainable future.
-Understand the ecological crisis and the need to take meaningful steps toward environmental sustainability.
-Can benefit from the Company’s expertise and resources.