Providing advice based on experience: Comvest Partners
"I trust them to ask questions, to challenge us. They're pretty fundamental to everything we do"
― Shahriyar Rahmati, Managing Director, Comvest Partners
Founded in 2000, Comvest Partners has evolved from a merchant banking firm to a multi-strategy private equity firm providing equity and debt capital to middle market companies across North America. Today, the firm’s funds have over $2.5 billion of assets under management. The majority of the firm’s personnel are located in South Florida, and there are Comvest offices in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.
“We focus on middle market,” says Shahriyar Rahmati, managing director of the Operating Advisors Group (OAG), the consulting division exclusively dedicated to Comvest’s portfolio companies. “We concentrate on partnerships with management teams or corporations where we're able to provide not just a capital solution, but a real partnership across multiple different dimensions to help take the business and the investment to the next level.”
Engaging RSM, again
Given the diversity of its portfolios, Comvest was hoping to capitalize on the efficiencies gained from working with a single firm that could address a multitude of needs. “What we were looking for was someone who could work with us for the long-term,” Rahmati recalls. They wanted a professional services firm that could not only help them across the entire portfolio that they purchased, but one they could also rely on for a wide range of resources and services.
“I was actually familiar with RSM before coming to Comvest,” says Rahmati. “I had worked with them in a previous private equity firm and they had done a very good job in that environment, so I'd had a bit of a positive bias about the firm coming into my current role.”
A single point of contact
“We're able to get one key relationship point of contact that has real capability and resource command across the entire organization,” notes Rahmati. “When we need something, we're able to have a conversation with one person and they're able to reach out within their organization for whatever resources are required to answer the question and to execute. Not just to give us a response but to carry it all the way through over the finish line.”
He cites a recent first-year audit of a health care company that Comvest purchased in South Florida as an example of RSM’s capabilities. “We did a lot of work with the RSM team to identify a lot of the technical nuances of how the accounting works and should work in that environment. It went far beyond just their views on accounting pronouncements but actually carried through to the operational implications and the management approach going forward. We found that to be invaluable.”
Addressing problems together
“We think about things together; we problem-solve together,” says Rahmati. “Now, I do understand the whole nature of independence. But if there is an issue, then I'd like to be able to talk about it. I'd like to understand their points of view, the pros and cons, and to really debate it.
“I trust RSM to care enough to ask questions, to challenge us when we're not right, and to think about the things that we might not be thinking about—as an extra set of eyes and ears for us. They're pretty foundational and fundamental to everything we do.
“If I were to describe RSM and our relationship in three words, it would be teamwork, transparency and accountability. If I couldn't describe somebody with those three attributes, I probably wouldn't be doing business with them.”