Investor Mindset: Maddix Capital Accelerates Rapid Growth for Late-Stage Startups
Following the closure of SkyLab Ventures Fund I, co-founder and former president Jesse Silva has founded Maddix Capital, a new and separate entity “born from SkyLab’s success.” The hybrid venture/PE model seeks to disrupt traditional venture via offering value-added shared services to help partners achieve and exceed their goals. The Salt Lake City-based investment firm offers entrepreneurs a potent 2- to 3-year injection at key “inflection points” in their startup journey—acting as strategic partners for investments, majority buyouts, and growth-to-exit strategy.
As Jake Gubler, Director of Maddix Capital, puts it: “SkyLab tested, executed, and proved the thesis, leading to great outcomes for entrepreneurs and investors alike. With the second fund, we’re double-clicking on that success.”
According to Silva, Maddix’s investment thesis can be summed up like so: Same thesis, later stage, bigger checks. “And we’re not easily defined,” he adds. “We’re neither traditional private equity nor traditional venture capital. We’re an innovative hybrid of growth stage venture capital and private equity combined into one.”
Geography-wise, Silva continues, Maddix Capital is a “big supporter” of Utah entrepreneurs. “A lot of the operators that we do business with are in Utah; we try to help build and expand the ecosystem as much as we can,” he explains. “That being said, we don’t put ourselves in a box. We'll go anywhere and everywhere to back the right founder or company.”
Maddix Capital primarily partners for a short but high-impact phase with growth-stage companies that are profitable and functional, but in need of a key investment partner to springboard to the next phase of operations.
“We're not your typical fund that's been around for fifteen years, strapping debt on an entrepreneur, and continuing to draw from the honey hole for a decade or two—we’re staying true to the three-year liquidity thesis,” says Silva. “We’re lightning in a bottle: We only invest in companies at a critical inflection point where we can help exit within an expedited time frame. This translates to a unique stage where companies haven't gone stagnant, but need a defining next move. We come in to support operators to that next level of marketing, operations, funding, and expansion.”
Plenty of founders end up as de facto CEOs, Silva and Gubler explain, but that doesn’t mean they’ve mastered the “Big Six” of successful startup operations. At these “inflection points,” Maddix Capital adds traction with shared services: strategic marketing partnerships, specialized consultation programs, FP&A (Financial Planning & Analysis) support, and metrics-driven “playbooks” to maximize growth in time for a liquidity event. Whether a founder needs incremental wherewithal, bandwidth, or schematics support, Maddix brings the hands-on experience and capital to, as Gubler puts it, “spur them from C to Z.”
While they primarily focus on SaaS, ecommerce, and direct-to-consumer industries, Maddix Capital approaches most deals with an open mind. “We look to where we feel we can be a true operational and value-added partner,” says Gubler. “It's more situational than asset-specific. There are KPIs and thresholds we like; trends we track; and a healthy due diligence process—but we’re less ‘check the box’ oriented and more context-happy. If we feel we have a solid management team and product-market fit, that’s the jockey and horse we want to back.”
Part of Maddix Capital’s due diligence includes auditing the product and team, researching market and competitive dynamics, and even speaking with strategic buyers in anticipation of an exit. “There are a lot of founders who need a bit more help with late-stage growth, and money isn’t the only solution,” explains Silva. “Our team knows who to hire, what KPIs need to be met for specific industries, and how to deploy the formula for a successful liquidity event. These are all just as critical as cutting a check.”
This Maddix formula requires intense data management and tracking. “Pattern recognition and time management are key to our operations,” Gubler explains. “There’s no shortage of companies looking to sell or raise capital. We need to be specific and targeted about where and how to add value, while considering the bigger picture.”
“I’ve been an entrepreneur; I know the struggle,” Silva concludes. “I wish the fund that acquired my company better understood the time and investment I put into scaling the business and instilling a strong culture. It’s trendy for firms to say they’re big on founders, and that may be true. But we've been founders and operators for over a decade. I like working with businesses. I like working with founders. We only want to get involved in businesses that we can truly help. ”