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Growing Companies from 5 to 50 Million with John Raeder, Vice Chairman of Bow River Capital

Photo-John Raeder
John Raeder

Episode Summary

Bow River Capital is an employee-owned diversified investment platform that specializes in the lower middle market. John Raeder, the Vice Chairman and Head of Software Investments, launched the Maiden Fund in 2018, a Software Growth equity fund at Bow River, which was oversubscribed by $160 million dollars. John focuses on what he sees as a capital gap in the lower middle market, helping SaaS companies grow from $5 to $50 million by strategically investing to accelerate their growth. Clearly, his strategy is working, as five of Bow River’s seven SaaS companies are growing subscription revenues at 100%, and Bow River is one of the top ten funds in the US.

Episode Notes

You can't fix bad industries 
John stresses that while you can fix bad companies, you can't fix bad industries. This perspective drives the efforts of John and the Bow River Capital team in rigorously evaluating and scrutinizing industries before investment. He and his team are attracted to companies in human capital management, fintech and construction tech because these technologies help solve operational efficiencies and improve cost structure monitoring.  By exercising caution during periods of prosperity, investors can minimize the effects of inevitable downturns. 

Founders should lean on the expertise of their investors
John says that founders need to trust and rely on the expertise of their investors. The Bow River team has 80 years of operational experience and puts each company they plan to invest in through a rigorous diligence process. Once they’ve decided to invest, Bow River Capital focuses on building strong relationships with its founders. This approach ensures that, in times of adversity, established relationships serve as valuable resources, offering guidance and specialized knowledge.

You can’t brand your way to growth
John believes that branding alone cannot grow a company from $5 to $50 million. When investing, John and his team don’t invest in TV commercials or print ads. Instead, they allocate roughly 40% of the capital to sales and marketing acceleration and roughly the same to innovation and product-led growth. 

CIBC Innovation Banking is a trusted financial partner to entrepreneurs and investors. Get in touch with our team at cibc.com/innovationbanking.

Show Contributors: 

John Raeder

Bow River Capital

Michael Hainsworth


CIBC Innovation Banking