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Supporting start-ups and small businesses through all stages of their life cycle – from inception through exit.
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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.

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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.

Feasibility Studies

Before investing your time and money in a new business idea, it is important that you take a critical look at the feasibility of your idea. Emotional attachments and business do not mix. An independent review will give you confidence to proceed or help you avoid a bad investment.

Business Strategy

A clear vision, strategy and roadmap to accomplishing objectives are the foundation of success. A well-defined strategy ensures alignment among shareholders, management and employees thereby increasing your probability of achieving success.

Business Plans

Developing a concise yet comprehensive business plan is critical in raising equity or debt capital for your business. The plan should address key aspects of your business including market opportunity, competition, key risks and mitigants, financial projections and capital requirements.

Investor Pitch Decks

Summarizing your business plan in a compelling pitch deck will give potential investors confidence in your business. A successful deck will address key aspects of your business strategy while also providing a sound investment thesis to attract the right capital partners.

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.

Debt Restructuring

An effective debt restructuring will provide breathing room to focus on the root cause of your business’s issues. Working with your creditors on a restructure can also help to avoid business bankruptcy.

Performance and Profitability Improvement

Distressed businesses can face challenges from both internal and external sources. Identifying and addressing the root causes of these issues will allow you to improve the short and long-term prospects of your business.

Liquidity Management

Your business cannot survive a distressed situation without proper liquidity management. Assistance managing liquidity and cash flow will allow you to focus on your business and give your creditors added comfort.

Interim Management

Most businesses operate with limited resources. Often there are opportunities or challenges which require additional resources. Hiring a permanent manager may be cost-prohibitive. In these situations, interim help is an effective solution.

Established Businesses

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.

Strategic Business Assessments

An objective assessment can help identify risks, opportunities and areas for improvement. You will receive unbiased feedback to assist in making informed decisions about the strategic direction of your business.

Transaction Due Diligence and Advisory

Understanding risks and opportunities prior to closing is critical. Services include quality of earnings assessment, identification of key business drivers and primary areas of risk.

Key Performance Indicators and Organizational Alignment

Identifying key drivers of your business’s performance will help optimize performance. Active monitoring KPI’s will provide early warning signs and allow you to proactively address potential issues.

Exit and Succession Planning

The process of maximizing the exit value of a business should begin well in advance of the decision to sell. Addressing potential issues such as succession planning can help maximize value.