Semper Buys and Grows Companies

Honest & Capable Successors
For Your Business
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Building on Owners' Accomplishments
and Preserving Their Legacies

We Buy and Grow Companies

Operators. Investors. Veterans.

We are mid-career business leaders and military veterans who buy and operate businesses for the long-term.  We admire business owners’ accomplishments, shoot straight, and work hard to secure an owner’s legacy after we buy their business.  We’re a great match for owners who care about their business’s future, need a successor to lead it, and want to sell to an honest and experienced partner.

We are self-funded and backed by successful business people who help us grow companies.  We have strong records, so owners can feel confident about their business’s future with us.  We pursue long-term growth, continual improvement, and rewarding work for employees.

Testimonials

  • Dave Miller
    "John is incredibly experienced at buying companies, seeking what is best to meet all parties' needs and ensure success.  He's trustworthy and really cared about our success and people.  After leading the purchase of our company, John helped us acquire two businesses that accelerated our growth.  Additionally, things that were discussed during the sale (employee retention, benefit equalization, etc.) occurred as we had discussed.  Often, this does not happen in acquisitions and is why I would be excited to work with him again."
    Dave Miller
    Co-Founder of JADAK
  • Alan Cox
    “John is a great guy to work with.  He not only has a strong background in M&A, but also a good understanding of technology.  He ensured that negotiations went smoothly by finding fair solutions to the inevitable differences of opinion that occurred.  He was always well organised, a ‘safe pair of hands’ and kept the process moving along smoothly.”
    Alan Cox
    Co-Founder, Laser Quantum
  • Rob Mastromattei
    "John was great to work with. His strong understanding of both technology and business really set him apart. Direct and to the point, John was always fair and at the same time tenacious. He never dropped the ball and always made you feel included and understood. He was an all-around good business partner and I recommend working with him."
    Rob Mastromattei
    Co-Founder of Applimotion
  • Lawrie Gloster
    “I worked closely with John when he was VP at the company to which we sold the business that I co-founded.  I found him focused, honest, clear-thinking and amiable.  Crucially, he is smart, fully understanding both our company and what mattered to us and the sale process. At the end of the acquisition, which was successful for all parties, we had formed not only a business partnership, but also a friendship.  This is why John succeeds.”
    Lawrie Gloster
    Co-Founder, Laser Quantum

Preserve Your Legacy

Selling a business is a huge decision.  Buyer types differ, so owners must consider what they most value to find the right buyer.  Semper is not the right buyer for every owner, but we’re perfect for some.  The info below will help you decide.

Business Buyer Comparison


Typical Private Equity FirmTypical Corporate Acquirer
GoalsGrow long-term cashflows; create jobs for veterans Maximize investor returns—and PE firm profitsIncrease corporate earnings
ApproachGrow and improve Try growing, then sell companyIntegrate your company; often cut employees/facility
Ownership PeriodLong-term4-5 yearsLong-term
Retain Culture & Preserve Legacy?MostlyUnlikely. Two new owners in just a few yearsUnlikely. Often a new name, leader, and culture
Operating ability and management planWe insert a new CEO with an excellent recordVaries. Most firms want management to stayVaries. May not care if management stays
FocusDedicated CEO and advisory board. Limited holdingsOwn many businesses; buy/sell constantlyCorporate results; often have quarterly focus
Counterparty's ‘Skin in the Game’Semper's team invests a large stake Very low. Almost all funds from outside investorsVery low, unless family or operator-owned
Owner Keeps Small Stake to Sell Later?Will consider if desired by owner Yes, this is commonUncommon

Common Seller Considerations

Many buyers erase owners’ legacies by consolidating facilities, cutting employees, and/or imposing their culture.  Semper preserves owners’ legacies by running the business well, keeping its name, and treating employees fairly.

Semper’s experience and straight-forward approach leads to efficiency and trust.  Many other buyers lack knowledge, change terms at the last minute, fake interest to view confidential info, or tie owners up with an offer then fail to close.

Many buyers plan to let people go and are more concerned with short-term results than employees.  Semper works with the existing team, grows capabilities, rewards appropriately, and holds each other accountable, if needed.

It often makes more financial sense for an owner not to sell.  When an owner is selling, Semper wants a win-win deal.  Occasionally, others pay more because they’re cutting costs (your employees or facility) or can otherwise grow earnings.

Leadership Transitions

Semper partners with owners of steady-performing businesses that fill durable customer needs.  We specialize in working with retiring owner-operators and family-owners whose business needs a new leader.

Company Traits

  • Consistent annual cashflows of $1M-$6M
  • Loyal customers with modest concentration
  • Skilled and committed employees

Owner Characteristics

  • Concerned about business’s long-term future
  • Committed to a successful transition
  • Willing to provide some seller financing

Industry Focus

  • B2B or B2G:
    • Niche manufacturers
    • Facility/industrial/home services
    • Value-add distributors

Other

  • Continental US focus
  • Avoid start-ups and declining industries
  • Pay market-based fees to intermediaries
  • Consider VOSBs and SDVOSBs

Building on Owners’ Successes

Semper's Story

Hi, I’m John Fox.  After spending my formative years on my family’s farm and in the Coast Guard, I led dozens of acquisitions and learned that business owners are often unsatisfied with traditional business buyers.  Unfortunately, most owners do not figure it out until it’s too late, so I formed Semper to create a better option for business sellers.

Semper transitions leadership from owner-operators to CEOs with deep business and military leadership experience.  We deal knowledgeably and fairly, invest for the long-haul, understand the many roles owner/operators fill, and work incredibly hard to preserve owners’ legacies.  America trusted us to lead its daughters and sons in challenging conditions; owners can trust us to lead their business through its next chapter.

Our Name

Semper comes from the Coast Guard’s motto, Semper Paratus, which is Latin for Always Ready.  It’s also part of the motto of the Marine Corps (Semper Fidelis), the Navy (Semper Fortis), as well as Army and Air Force units.  Semper is our name given our veteran focus, the importance of the Coast Guard in my life, and our long-term ownership plans.

We’re Excited You’re Considering Semper