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Verhelle’s Harvard Partners Announces Investment Interests in Commercial Finance

October 19, 2017, 07:31 AM
Filed Under: Industry News

Harvard Partners CEO Bill Verhelle announced his firm is seeking to invest in, or purchase, small innovative U.S.-based commercial finance firms. Interest is not limited to companies already in the equipment leasing and finance industry, though he will be at that industry’s annual convention next week.

Harvard Partners is specifically interested in companies with demonstrated experience and capable management teams employing new business models. Harvard Partners’ first equity investment this year, along with another private equity investor, involved a West Coast business lending and equipment finance firm with advanced financial technology (fintech) capabilities.

"We believe there has never been a more exciting time for small, independent finance companies," said Verhelle. He noted that many nimble, technology-savvy companies are developing new business models, while many larger firms continue to be hamstrung by legacy operations and bureaucracy.

For decades, the prevailing business strategy in commercial finance was “cost leadership,” said Verhelle. “That strategy drove acquisition, consolidation and cost-control, effectively favoring the largest firms with the lowest costs.” He said it has become increasingly clear in the past five years that new technology and changing customer-buying preferences are transforming the industry, while also favoring smaller, more nimble, technology savvy commercial finance firms.

"We want to support ambitious, talented management teams building new solutions that will be the future of commercial finance,” he added.

Verhelle has a proven record of inspiring and leading executive teams in the equipment leasing and finance industry. Before founding Harvard Partners, he was the 20-year CEO of First American Equipment Finance (FAEF) based in Fairport, NY.  While leading FAEF, it was recognized by Fortune magazine as a top-20 place for Millenials to work in financial services, and was ranked eight times in the INC 500 as one of the fastest growing private companies in America.

Currently, he is chairman of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC, dedicated to inspiring innovation and contributing to the betterment of the equipment leasing and finance industry.

In 2008, Verhelle was chairman of the industry’s largest trade association, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), also based in Washington, D.C. He will be a presenter at the ELFA’s annual convention in Orlando Oct. 22-24. 

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