There’s really something special about empowering mid-sized companies to grow and prosper. These companies help drive the American economy and create many of the great success stories that we all aspire to emulate.
David Gagliardi joined Fort Point Capital in 2015 as an Associate.
David came to Fort Point Capital from Stifel, where he primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions for middle market companies in Aerospace, Defense and Government Services. He began his career at Davenport and Company, helping local governments, non-profits and utilities raise capital through public and private markets.
David received a B.S. in business administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys outdoor sports, traveling and being a passionate supporter of Tar Heel athletics.
How did middle market private equity pique your interest?
Since my time as an undergraduate, I’ve been drawn to the long-term vision and strategic planning involved in a successful buyout. Working in private equity provides a unique perspective into identifying and building successful businesses. On a personal level, I have opportunities every day to learn and grow. It’s rewarding to be able to provide resources to help talented entrepreneurs and management teams realize their goals and execute on their visions.
From an investor’s perspective, the lower middle market provides some unique and compelling opportunities to find success. These companies help drive the American economy and create many of the great success stories that we all aspire to emulate. They can be very rewarding to work with as well. Throughout my career, I’ve seen the positive influence the best private equity owners can have on their portfolio companies. There’s really something special about empowering mid-sized companies to grow and prosper.
What motivated you to choose Fort Point?
The short answer is the people here. From my early discussions with the Fort Point partners, I was very impressed. Beyond the extraordinary resumes, they brought a thoughtful and disciplined approach to private equity investing. It quickly became clear to me why the team has been and will continue to be so successful. The partners had a vision when they started the firm and they have all of the necessary tools to execute and assemble a first-class group of portfolio companies.
I was also excited about the opportunity to work on a lean team with an entrepreneurial culture. Having been a part of larger organizations in my career, I wanted to join a firm where I knew I could make a meaningful impact. Fort Point relies on each individual to bring a unique perspective to the decision process. This approach requires a lot of trust and responsibility, but it also allows for endless opportunities to learn, grow and contribute. Even before my first day, I felt like an important part of the team. When you have such a talented group of people working toward common objectives, it makes it really exciting to come to work every day.
How does Fort Point approach relationships with portfolio companies?
While most private equity firms use the same buzz words when describing their relationships, each one approaches things a little differently. Fort Point emphasizes partnering with exceptional management teams to provide them with the resources to execute their strategies for value creation and growth. Through years of investing experience, Fort Point has refined a disciplined approach to investing that will continue to benefit our portfolio companies and investors. Companies in the lower middle market face many similar challenges, so we seek out those that can gain from our experience and long-term strategic thinking. Much in the same way that every member of the Fort Point team plays valuable role, we ask all our executives to challenge themselves to propel their companies to new heights.
What is the most important part of your job?
We are most successful when we’re able to identify the right people and galvanize them around a shared set of goals. As investors in service companies, our most valuable assets walk in and out of the workplace every day. Fort Point understands that all the financial analysis in the world isn’t a substitute for having talented and motivated individuals in the right roles. Once we have them on board, it’s essential to keep everyone moving in the right direction. The support I provide our portfolio companies can take a lot of forms, but typically involves open communication and regular collaboration. We seek to extend to our portfolio companies a culture where every opinion is valued, and I think it’s that intellectual freedom that ultimately leads to the best outcomes for everyone.
Is there one transaction that you worked on that makes you especially proud?
As with many things in life, the first one left quite an impression. It involved a family-owned company that had operated for 50 years and was run by the son of the founder. The organization had experienced tremendous growth, to the point that it knew it needed a new partner to help realize its full potential. For the owner, this wasn't just another transaction, but an opportunity to continue the legacy that his father and he had built. That made a successful transaction all the more rewarding. The experience really helped shape my career path and lead me to Fort Point.
What’s your favorite way to spend some time off?
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to travel. In between trips, I’m often found talking about travel, planning travel, and trying to recruit friends to travel. My time in business school offered some great opportunities to see new places and expand my horizons. Highlights included trekking in Antarctica, interning in Mexico City and completing an exchange in Singapore. I finished the program having visited all seven continents and created some incredible memories along the way.
As much as I love going abroad, one of the great things about Boston is how much we have within a few-hour drive. Whether skiing in the mountains or exploring the beautiful coastline, there are always great options for a quick getaway. I also enjoy a day at the golf course, where I can put my mediocre skills on display at one of the many great tracks in the Boston area.