Standing Out: Auxilior Capital Partners Unveils Innovative, Service-Based Supply Chain Sales Model Built on People and Technology
by Rita E. Garwood Monitor Vol. 48 No. 6 2021
A team of familiar faces — led by Steve Grosso — has created a new supply chain sales catalyst company founded on people and technology. As a well-capitalized new entrant with an experienced management team, Auxilior Capital Partners is poised for exponential growth as it focuses on service, innovation and increasing the sales and market share of its partners.
Rita E. Garwood, Editor in Chief, Monitor
The first thing you see when you walk through the door of Auxilior Capital Partners’ office is the company’s logo, which features a scarlet prancing bull in the center of a cobalt shield, flanked by a pair of crossed swords, standing over the words “Above All Serve, Innovate, Solve.” Fittingly, the company’s name speaks to the first of those imperatives, as the Latin word auxilior means “to serve.”
Once through those doors, however, Auxilior President and CEO Steve Grosso contends that the newest player in equipment finance is reimagining the service model through a combination of bleeding-edge technology and holacratic management.
“Our intention is to be the leading supply chain sales catalyst in the North American market, and the foundation of that is service,” Grosso said.
Grosso is joined by a veteran “team of close-knit all-stars,” including Chief Operating Officer Don Campbell (who Grosso contends is the “Hall of Famer”), Chief Financial Officer Karthik Viswanathan, Chief Commercial Officer Jeremy Borkowski, Chief Legal Officer David Verlizzo, Chief Partner Advocacy Officer Marty Babicki, VP of Operating Systems and Technology Maryellen Barbarish, Chief Credit Officer Ken Sullivan and Chief Marketing Officer Kathie Capparelli.
Although Auxilior’s management team may look familiar to many in equipment finance, the team is building a company that is vastly different. Viswanathan says that Auxilior will be known for financial technology that enables growth powered by an open architecture unencumbered by legacy systems that can allow parties to streamline every aspect of major supply chain planning, such as order specifications, fulfillment, logistics and asset management.
“When manufacturers, distributors, dealers and end customers have the ability to transact quickly, all parties can grow and there’s a cascading benefit to everybody,” Viswanathan says. “I think of this value creation as lifting a whole lot of people up at the same time.”
Financed and Focused
Auxilior is incredibly well-capitalized, swinging the metaphorical weight of a stainless-steel, two-fisted sword due to investments from Mizuho (the world’s 14th largest bank), Marubeni Corporation (ranked No. 165 on the Fortune Global 500 Companies list) and Patriot Financial Partners (a private equity firm that invests in small and midcap banks throughout North America).
“The capital that we have raised is important for a company at this stage,” Campbell says, adding that the company’s initial capitalization has facilitated rapid access to the capital markets, which will support Auxilior’s anticipated high growth.
Auxilior has several prongs in its go-to market strategy, aligning both with original equipment manufacturers in the infrastructure and logistics space as well as their distribution channels to create different sales opportunities as equipment moves through the supply chain.
“That includes wholesale financing provided to the dealers with the OEM sponsorship, just like inventory finance report planning and a retail sale that happens at the dealership,” Borkowski says. “We want to be at that point of sale. And we have a commercial direct business focused upon major accounts, large corporations and luminary end-users in our targeted industries.”
According to Borkowski, Auxilior is currently active in three large vertical markets — construction and infrastructure, transportation and logistics and franchise finance — and the team is planning to activate two more — healthcare and financial institutions — in 2022.
Technology and Holacracy
Auxilior is built on two foundational elements: people and technology. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had a unique opportunity to focus on technology and was able to build a new model without the “legacy hangover” experienced by more established companies. Several members of Auxilior’s management team are quick to point out the influence of the rapid pace of consumer finance technology that is embedded, expected and capable of delivering to your door.
“Those trends are emerging on the capital equipment side,” Borkowksi says. “Our investment in technology provides the sales catalyst tools for equipment manufacturers where they can create a frictionless, easy experience for their customers, whether it’s at the dealership or directly online.”
“We intend to provide best-in-class service to customers with talented people and technology,” Verlizzo says. “That includes not only speed but accuracy. They’re not mutually exclusive. So that is our paradigm.”
Barbarish says Auxilior is building a culture that fosters innovation by encouraging associates to look at everything they do and measure their impact on others — both internally and with customers. “We believe our associates can best identify where pain points are and what needs to be addressed,” Barbarish says. “By encouraging them to come up with innovative ways to solve problems, we ultimately will get to a better solution, to more efficient platforms and a better customer experience.”
To achieve this, Auxilior has blended together a veteran leadership group that has either witnessed or driven virtually every inflection point in the equipment financing industry over the past three decades. “There is an enormous advantage when the right hand really does know what the left is doing,” Grosso says. “With the added support of newer associates that are younger and more diverse in backgrounds than is typical for the industry, it’s a unique mix of deep experience combined with new thinking.”
The key to this mixture being a success, Grosso says, is creating a culture of holacracy, one in which decisions are made quickly and decisively by smaller working groups and not weighed down by the regulations and compliance that staid, bureaucratic institutions might face. The goal, Grosso says, is to create an organization designed to be more effective in dealing with complex and dynamic economic, social and political environments. The result is increased transparency, agility and operational performance.
“When you have a holacratic team, it’s made up of people that have different skills and different subject matter expertise, and they’re bringing value that the team can then use to arrive at a consensus,” Grosso says. “My belief is this team knows what to do: Get the people in the room who need to be in the room and let them work on a project and get it done. You don’t need 25 people in the room.”
Auxilior has created an “Innovation and Collaboration Room” that no one may enter alone, which is typically filled with a small team represented by cross-functional department associates. Once that team reaches consensus and its recommendations are approved, it is empowered with autonomy to execute. With more efficient methods being employed internally, Auxilior can thoroughly serve its partner relationships.
“We’re a company of measurement,” Babicki says. “Most importantly, we measure what’s important to our customers and partners. We meet quarterly with the management of these companies and sometimes those meetings are intense with healthy debate, but they help us become better and that’s how you grow these relationships to be strong and durable.”
Fast Track to the Future
Looking ahead, the Auxilior team is excited about what they will create together.
“With the team that we have in place and the talented people who are joining, there’s no doubt that we’ll achieve our purpose to become the North American market leader in supply chain financial logistics,” Capparelli says. “We have highly energized, experienced industry people, and we have a lot of emerging leaders here — younger people who are super smart from an IQ and an EQ perspective who believe in service.”
Campbell says Auxilior chooses its partners selectively, not wanting “a thousand relationships that are three inches deep,” but larger, more visible programs with companies that rank at the top of their industries for which Auxilior can craft bespoke programs that build significant value. Despite being with Auxilior for a little more than six months, Campbell is astounded by what the company has accomplished. He says it would be disappointing if Auxilior has not reached the No. 3 position in its targeted markets within the next few years.
“With the rate of marketplace change and resulting opportunities, our progress has been remarkable and swift,” Grosso says. “By continuing to assemble a great team of people, attracting world-class capital and building disruptive, transformational technologies, I’m confident this is going to be a successful journey and a whole lot of fun!”
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