Investing in the ‘Synapse’ connection

Skyway Capital Markets is back on board as the Synapse VIP sponsor for its 2023 summit.

For a company that works in the mergers and acquisitions space, it may seem like a head-scratcher, but really, it’s a form of a brilliant investment from a branding and name recognition perspective.

“We want people to know us and we want to be involved in the business community,” says Roger Overby, senior managing director at Skyway Capital. “We want people to understand what we do and meet companies at an early stage so that we know them as they grow up and can be helpful to them if they get to a point when they decide they’re ready to exit their business.”

Skyway Capital Markets, previously named Skyway Advisors, has been around since 2002. In 2016, it changed hands along with its name. At the time it had about eight employees and today, it has closer to 40.

It’s a lower-middle-market investment bank that deals with mergers and acquisitions, with a hyperfocus on family-owned businesses and founder-owned businesses that have decided to sell either a part of their business or all of their business.

“In most cases, the founders are running the business, or the original family is running it, or maybe it’s in the hands of the second generation. In any case, they have never been through a sale process,” Overby says.

Skyway, Overby says, works with businesses in any industry, and all over the country, but it is uniquely positioned, and intentional, about working with lower-middle-market businesses.

“In the middle market space, every firm in New York is a competitor. Every big firm in the United States is calling on those firms,” Overby says. “The lower-middle market is underserved. We thought, if we’re going to get into that business, this feels like the best niche for us.”

And it has worked well for Skyway.

“In the middle market, everybody’s got an audit. Everybody’s thought about their systems. They have outside advisers, and have set up a board of directors –  all of that creates value” Overby says. “And, whereas, the entrepreneur who has had his head down for  20 years just running a company, hasn’t been given the same playbook. He’s just focused on growing his business and might even still be using QuickBooks.”

That’s Skyway’s specialty. They provide the resources and intel to help those businesses move from point A to point B to develop systems that can be monetized if, or when, they decide they want to sell or reorganize.

Enter the Synapse connection. The companies that frequent Synapse are the potential future clients for Skyway.

“You have to get in front of them early. Because if they don’t know us and they grow up and build this fabulous company, then everybody knows who they are, everybody’s calling them and they’re going to build a relationship with someone,” Overby says. “If we don’t build connections early, somebody else will. And somebody else would benefit from doing what we don’t.”

It’s that long-term, strategic thinking that has served Skyway Capital Markets well. And the most rewarding part of the job? When the company can help someone.

“When we call on these types of potential clients. And we ask them, have you ever thought about selling your business? They’ve thought about it, but they don’t know how to do it,” Overby says. “They don’t know who to call or who to contact, so we get on the phone with them, and eventually we get to, ‘What do you think your company is worth? What would you sell it for today?’ We are always surprised they don’t know. But we know the market, we understand what their business is worth and we can bring value and help them get to the best outcomes.”

Getting in front of these early-stage players is a part of the value that Synapse brings to Skyway Capital Markets. When those companies hit the big time, Overby says, he hopes they think of Skyway.

“You want to meet [these businesses] now,” he says. “We are encouraged by some people we know, and respect and they tell us, ‘It’s smart of you guys to get involved in Synapse.’”

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