Longtime friends launch Hidden Harbor Capital Partners

May 17, 2016 View comment (1)

The idea was born 20 years ago, when John Caple and David Block first met at Bain & Company fresh out of business school.

“Since then, it’s always been a dream of both of ours to work together and start our own thing,” Caple told PitchBook in a phone interview.

The two longtime friends can stop dreaming. As of this week, they’ve officially launched Hidden Harbor Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Boca Raton, FL, that will focus on the lower middle market.

More specifically, Hidden Harbor will pursue platform investment opportunities in North America, backing companies with revenues between $50 million and $500 million and EBITDA of up to $25 million. The firm's industries of focus are industrials, transportation & logistics, consumer products, retail and business services.

What sets Hidden Harbor apart, according to its founders, is a focus on the importance of human relationships serving as the backbone of a business.

“One of the things that’s really driven us to want to start our own firm is the ability to do it our way,” Caple said. “What we’ve found is that what really makes firms work is the people there, not anything else. So we’re very focused on creating a firm that focuses on winning as a team, being willing to admit mistakes—those kind of things that we think are gonna really help drive our investments.”

After spending about six years together at Bain & Company, Caple and Block went their separate ways before reuniting for a stint at H.I.G. Capital. Most recently, Block worked as president and CEO of Swiss Watch International, an ecommerce watch company, while Caple was a partner at Comvest Partners.

They’ll combine their areas of expertise at Hidden Harbor, with Caple boasting a lengthy investment track record and Block bringing 15 years of experience working with portfolio companies.

“I’d say I’m gonna be 75% of the investment side, 25% of the portfolio side, and David’s probably gonna be about the inverse,” Caple said.

Caple also said the firm expects further personnel announcements within the next 60 days. He declined to comment on fundraising.

After two decades of waiting, though, he and Block can’t wait to get started.

“It just felt like the right time to do this,” Caple said.

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