“2020 was quite the roller coaster ride for almost everyone in our industry. While the low valleys were often the main focus, we experienced numerous peaks along the way as well.”
Each month, Charles Town Holdings profiles a member of our investment banking team. This month we get to know Robert Taylor.
Robert focuses on business development and distribution across the multiple industry verticals covered at CTH and also leads the firm’s private equity coverage. Robert has spent the majority of his 15-year career within the finance sector, having served in multiple capacities across securities trading, investment banking and private equity with such firms as JPMorganChase, Wells Fargo Securities and Bayview Asset Management. In 2017, he founded Bray Ventures to support lower-middle market companies with implementation of strategic, operational and capital efficiencies within their existing business models. Robert holds an MBA from Wake Forest University and a BA in Journalism/Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He maintains a FINRA Series 7 securities license.
2020 turned out to be a pretty good year for CTH. Tell us about some of the deals you worked on.
2020 was quite the roller coaster ride for almost everyone in our industry. While the low valleys were often the main focus, we experienced numerous peaks along the way as well. Bringing a new growth capital placement mandate to market in mid-March was quite challenging, especially with the nearly-complete shutdown of new deal activity in the 2nd and early 3rd quarter. We started to see renewed momentum toward the end of summer and early fall, and fortunately ended with a successful 4th quarter push with several closings at the firm.
As head of CTH’s PEG coverage, what are you hearing from funds regarding expectations for 2021?
The response I receive from most funds when asking this question is overwhelmingly bullish as they look toward 2021 and even into 2022. Many firms closed on new funds prior to COVID, but it has been surprising and quite reassuring to the strength of the market to also hear how many persevered and elected to raise and close on new funds amidst the pandemic. There is an obvious appetite right now, as I receive inbound requests and engage in continual discussions with financial and strategic investors and buyers each week who are actively seeking a place to land their capital.
What are some of the deals you are currently working on?
I am very encouraged and excited about several of the growth equity and M&A deals we are working on at the firm to start the first quarter of 2021. We have several mandates in the DTC consumer and apparel space, one in retail, a commercial landscape supply company, direct-to-home food delivery platform, amongst others. One of the more interesting active engagements is in the live entertainment space, believe it or not. This particular company was able to thrive under the dark shadow cast across the live show industry by providing a drive-through experience that appealed to the health and safety standards in place for its customers.
What should a client expect when moving forward with an M & A engagement or private placement?
The most important aspect of any deal continues to be setting proper expectations with the management team for what a distribution is going to look like once in market, including estimated timeline, valuation and potential deal structures. Obviously, timing and valuation expectations were difficult conversations to have last spring and summer since the market was very fluid and in flux, but with the recent swing back to ‘normal’ conditions, setting those proper and more accurate expectations is once again paramount. We are hired to lift the burden of finding an investor or buyer off our clients’ shoulders so they can continue to work on and in their business during this time.
Tell us three things that most people don’t know about Robert Taylor.
- I started my career in pursuit of the sports and entertainment industry from the marketing/PR side, having worked for the UNC Athletic Department and US Olympic Committee during my undergrad studies in Chapel Hill. This is one of the big reasons why I was so attracted to the CTH platform, because of the experience and focus we as a firm have in the sports, media and entertainment space.
- As a native to Asheville, NC, I have a passion for traveling to both the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, so it’s been challenging dealing with limited opportunities to do so during the pandemic.
- But in the end, it’s all about family. I love spending free time with my wife and two daughters (8 &11yrs) and getting lost in all of their weekly activities, as they definitely keep us busy!