Supporting start-ups and small businesses through all stages of their life cycle – from inception through exit.
Confluence Advisory Group
Confluence Advisory Group can assist your business throughout all stages of its life cycle. We work with start-ups, early stage companies and small businesses to address a wide array opportunities or challenges. CAG can assist with opportunities including launching a new business, capital raising, optimizing the performance of existing businesses, turnaround consulting when the road gets rocky, and preparing for the sale of a business. Many times, these opportunities or challenges require more time or resources than an owner or management team it able to dedicate; however, not enough time to justify the hiring of a full-time management team member. Additionally, challenges which are outside of management’s scope of expertise may exist and obtaining assistance from someone who has experience addressing these challenges can be very beneficial for your business. These are the types of situations where CAG can assist.
Brian Soeldner has a strong financial and strategic background that includes Founder, CEO, and Chairman of a bank and partner in a private equity fund. During his 25 years as an investor, lender and C-level executive, he has worked with hundreds of small and middle market businesses. He founded Confluence Advisory Group to assist start-ups, early stage companies and small businesses with a wide array opportunities or challenges throughout their lifecycle.
Brian’s diverse skill set includes business strategy, executive management, debt and equity capital raising, business acquisitions and divestitures, and distressed or turnaround situations. He brings a unique perspective as a lender, private equity investor and chief executive officer to his consulting engagements. He has also served as a board member, observer or advisor to more than 20 businesses.
Most recently, he served as the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fortis Private Bank. In 2010, he led the acquisition and recapitalization of a significantly distressed bank on the brink of failure. Following the acquisition, he led the workout of more than 50 troubled lending relationships and that shift of the bank’s business model from a traditional community bank to a private bank utilizing technology to experienced bankers to serve clients and their businesses in a more effective manner. Over the past ten years, he was responsible for raising approximately $70 million of capital to support the bank’s growth. Since 2010, Fortis Private Bank’s total assets have grown six-fold (23% CAGR) and the bank is now one of the largest Colorado-based banks. He left that day-to-day operations at Fortis in 2019 to launch Confluence Advisory Group. He continues to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Fortis.
Prior to Fortis Private Bank, Mr. Soeldner was a partner with the Chicago-based private equity firm Merit Capital Partners. With over $1 billion under management, Merit provides mezzanine and equity capital to middle market businesses to facilitate management buyouts, recapitalizations, acquisitions, shareholder liquidity events, and growth. At Merit, Mr. Soeldner was responsible for identifying investment opportunities, conducting due diligence, structuring and closing transactions, and ongoing monitoring of portfolio companies.
Brian began his career with a strong business, credit and finance foundation as an analyst and commercial lender at LaSalle Bank and Bank of America. Brian received his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Iowa and his graduate degree in Finance and Business Strategy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Start-ups or Early Stage Businesses
Launching a business requires significant preparation. You only get one opportunity in front of investors or lenders. It is critical that you clearly articulate, among other things, the market opportunity, your business model, the competitive landscape, potential risks and mitigants, capital needs, and financial projections.
Turnaround and Distressed Situations
Even the best companies can face significant challenges at various points in their life cycle. These challenges arise from a variety of sources including loss of a large customer, regulatory changes, key employee turnover, or something entirely different. The effects of these challenges can be widespread ranging from creditor issues to employee turnover. Getting help from someone who has been down this path before will help you navigate these issues and provide you with the peace of mind that you will be able to persevere through these challenging times.
An objective look at all aspects of your business has many benefits. It can help identify blind spots, ineffective business processes, and opportunities to improve profitability by recognizing unprofitable customers or even product lines. In addition, while value can be created through mergers and acquisitions; however, a poorly executed transaction can have a devastating effect on the value of your business. Similarly, the sale of your business without significant advance planning can result in leaving a substantial amount of value on the table.