Castlelake, an alternative investment manager, and Aequum Capital, a technology-enabled specialty finance lender, entered a partnership to establish a new commercial lending platform for the origination and servicing of senior asset-backed loans to small and medium-sized businesses in the United States.
The platform, which will operate under the Aequum brand, will leverage Castlelake’s asset experience and the sector knowledge of the Aequum team to offer lending solutions that seek to address borrowers’ needs for working capital, growth, acquisitions, recapitalizations, turnarounds and other situations. Typical loan sizes are expected to range from $1 million to $10 million and span a variety of industries.
“In today’s environment, we believe it is increasingly challenging for small- and medium-sized businesses to find the financing and capital solutions they need from traditional bank channels,” Matt Little, partner for global specialty finance and head of business development at Castlelake, said. “We’re pleased to partner with the experienced Aequum team to expand our reach to these borrowers while offering our investors interesting exposure to an income-oriented, asset-rich investment pipeline.”
Aequum was founded by specialty finance veterans John Stanfield, Orasio Becerra, Michael Keenan, John Ross and Rick Kaufmann, whose collective professional experience includes working within banking institutions, family offices and specialty finance companies.
In a joint statement, the Aequum principals expressed their motivation to launch the platform with Castlelake: “Together, we founded Aequum Capital under three guiding principles: First, we believe we can provide a necessary service to an underserved segment of the market through our long-standing relationships and knowledge of the industry; second, we are committed to creating a firm with a culture of execution that allows us to offer flexibility while maintaining a core emphasis on credit; and third, we are focused on bringing together the individual skill sets of top talent to work in a quick and efficient manner.”
Castlelake has completed more than $3 billion of specialty finance investments since 2015, including a recent agreement to acquire up to $400 million of diversified equipment loan and lease receivables. Its specialty finance activity has also included acquiring or financing more than 3,500 commercial and industrial loans and more than 5 million consumer receivable accounts. Castlelake launched its asset-backed direct lending strategy in 2020 and has since provided nearly $6 billion in loans to borrowers.
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