Beyond the Numbers: How our financial strategy propels success

By Chad Utrup


Long before we add a company to our portfolio, our financial partnership with them begins.

Our relationship starts during the exploration stage, when our team works closely with leaders and employees from the partner company to establish authentic relationships and ask critical questions. We want to know about so much more than numbers.

What’s the vision? What’s getting in the way? Where can we help?

The answers to those questions and more help us determine the optimal capital and financial support structure for that business—the foundation that will help it succeed.

With a deep understanding of the business, its goals, and potential hurdles, our financial team is much better equipped to help achieve success every step of the way.

After an initial equity investment, we focus our guidance on improving processes and instilling a culture of metrics to create value. Our approach is customized to the needs and strategy of the business, and we relish getting creative. Our financial team can then focus on applying financial systems and tools that help the business be more efficient, scalable, and successful.

It’s important to note that our aim isn’t to run the day-to-day operations of a business. We’re plugged in on a big-picture level, as an extension of a leadership team, providing guidance from economic education and data analysis to long-range planning and mergers and acquisitions.  At the same time, we are always ready to roll up our sleeves and step in anywhere our partners may have a need.

This has led to several successful outcomes for our portfolio companies.

Our Pet Paradise holding, a high-growth business, experienced a significant drop off in demand at the onset of the pandemic. In this economic environment, we were able to utilize Crane Group’s flexible capital strategy to enable the company’s expansion plans without missing a beat. It was a tough time for many, and we were no exception, but our team dug in to help find the right plan for that business. Ultimately, between July 2020 and 2021, the incredible team at Pet Paradise opened eight new locations—right on target with their aggressive growth goals.

We were also deeply embedded in the Screen Machine acquisition of Diamond Z, coming alongside the leadership team to help guide the process, as well as providing meaningful support in the processes to drive operations and continuous improvement in the business over our nearly 10-year partnership.

These results were thanks in large part to our partnership approach with both companies and their leadership teams. Without understanding the business, its strategic goals, and its roadblocks, we would have missed out on crucial context to help shape our guidance and shift our focus to creating value.

It’s true that Crane Group defines and approaches financial support differently than other investors. Because we know it helps our partners win. And that is why we’re here.

Chad Utrup is CFO and COO of Crane Group. He oversees financial planning and company operations, and enjoys collaborating with leaders from our business units to create value for them and the company at large.