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Private Equity
FINANCE | Investment Firms & Funds
lfecapital.com

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Investments

16

Portfolio Exits

4

Funds

2

Partners & Customers

1

About LFE Capital

LFE Capital provides expansion or buyout capital to high-growth companies with revenues of $2-20 million. The firm’s strategy encompasses products and services that promote healthy living and improve healthcare, with a particular focus in businesses with female ownership or management that also serve female consumers.

LFE Capital Headquarters Location

649 Fifth Avenue South Suite 226

Naples, Florida, 34102,

United States

612-752-1809

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Latest LFE Capital News

Pioneering private equity shop focusing on female-run firms strikes alliance

Feb 5, 2022

Leslie Frecon was a pioneer when she worked her way up to senior vice president of corporate finance at General Mills in the early 1990s. She left after 20 years to open her own private-equity investment boutique in 2001 and focus on female-owned businesses. Frecon is still breaking new ground at her LFE Capital in Wayzata. Stifel Financial, the large St. Louis-based brokerage and financial services firm, has invested in LFE and is now a minority shareholder. Moreover, Stifel is investing in Frecon's fourth fund, which she expects to grow to $100 million. This is significant because it allows LFE to add investment staff. And its fourth fund should be larger than the three previous combined. "Raising capital for the small number of female-headed private-equity businesses like LFE remains a challenge," Frecon said last week. "That's due to the smaller size of funds, the constraints of institutional investors and the lack of women in decision-making positions. "Stifel has recognized the market opportunity and LFE's track record and capabilities. And leveraging their capital, expertise and national networks will enable LFE to expand its reach and impact." Leslie Frecon Leslie Frecon, founder of LFE Capital Stifel declined to quantify the investment, but the financial giant has capacity. Stifel reported improved 2021 net earnings of $252 million on record revenue of $4.7 billion. Frecon invests — typically in amounts up to $7 million — in women-led businesses with revenue of $2 million to $20 million and a focus on tech-enabled products and services in the health and wellness industry. LFE's patient performance has been superior. The firm has realized cash-on-cash returns of 3.5 times invested capital over the years. The firm is one of the longest standing of the small nationwide niche of female investment firms that back female entrepreneurs. "We are committed to LFE Capital's mission to expand access to capital and networks to facilitate the continued success of the women's business community," Victor Nesi, co-president of Stifel and head of its institutional business, said in a January statement. "We admire Leslie's foresight and tenacity." Businesses owned by women get just 2% of capital from venture capital and private equity outfits, according to PitchBook and other sources. However, Boston Consulting Group research shows women-owned startups generated twice as much revenue per dollar invested and 10% more in cumulative revenue than all startups over a recent five-year period. For Frecon, the investment gap is easy to explain. "There are not enough female decision makers at PE firms," Frecon said. "Supporting women-owned and -managed fund advisers is key to solving issues because these funds get scarce capital to women-led companies that grow." Frecon has a good track record to sell — one of the reasons her firm secured the Stifel partnership, she said. "We're selling our businesses for three to eight times their revenues," she said. "That's a nice return for shareholders and LFE limited partner investors. We're keen on the health and wellness market, and women start a large percentage of those businesses.'' LFE also is licensed by the Small Business Administration as a small business investment company, which permits banks to invest in both the firm and its funds. That includes the banking units of Wells Fargo, BMO Harris, American Express and Morgan Stanley. Avant Healthcare faced several challenges, including the Great Recession and Trump-era immigration restrictions. But the company persevered, performed and resulted in a nice payday when it was acquired several years ago, Other current and past holdings include names such as Inlet Medical, Halo Innovations and Wellbeats. "Those tech-rooted companies scale faster and have higher margins," Frecon said. In 2019, LFE invested in Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee. Peace Coffee is a fair trade coffee company established by a nonprofit in a basement years ago. It was purchased in 2018 by longtime CEO Lee Wallace and investor Kent Pilakowski, now an independent adviser who had been a marketer at General Mills. Wallace has shuttered the higher cost, slower growing coffee shop business, a strategy accelerated during the pandemic, to focus on double-digit growth since 2019 in the wholesale and consumer-direct businesses. "Everybody drinks coffee at home since the pandemic," said Frecon, who wasn't expecting such explosive growth when she invested. "It's a fabulous, premium brand that's fast growing under Lee, a great CEO, and a fabulous management team." LFE Capital isn't the only female-led equity group in town. CEO Cathy Connett's Sophia Fund has invested $10 million-plus in early-stage, female-run startups. LFE has been a later-stage investor in several of those businesses. Neal St. Anthony has been a Star Tribune business columnist/reporter since 1984.

LFE Capital Investments

16 Investments

LFE Capital has made 16 investments. Their latest investment was in ZhenGe Biotech as part of their Series C on January 1, 2022.

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LFE Capital Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

1/11/2022

Series C

ZhenGe Biotech

$100M

Yes

16

10/26/2016

Series B

eMindful

$6.85M

Yes

9

1/11/2016

Series A

The Big Know

$3M

Yes

4

12/13/2010

Series B

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$99M

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0

2/5/2009

Series B

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$99M

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0

Date

1/11/2022

10/26/2016

1/11/2016

12/13/2010

2/5/2009

Round

Series C

Series B

Series A

Series B

Series B

Company

ZhenGe Biotech

eMindful

The Big Know

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Amount

$100M

$6.85M

$3M

$99M

$99M

New?

Yes

Yes

Yes

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Co-Investors

Sources

16

9

4

0

0

LFE Capital Portfolio Exits

4 Portfolio Exits

LFE Capital has 4 portfolio exits. Their latest portfolio exit was eMindful on July 20, 2021.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

7/20/2021

Acquired

$99M

1

1/19/2021

Acquired

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$99M

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10

7/14/2016

Acquired

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$99M

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10

3/13/2014

Acquired

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$99M

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10

Date

7/20/2021

1/19/2021

7/14/2016

3/13/2014

Exit

Acquired

Acquired

Acquired

Acquired

Companies

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Valuation

$99M

$99M

$99M

$99M

Acquirer

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Sources

1

10

10

10

LFE Capital Acquisitions

1 Acquisition

LFE Capital acquired 1 company. Their latest acquisition was FoodChain ID on January 01, 1970.

Date

Investment Stage

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Total Funding

Note

Sources

1/1/1970

Debt

$99M

Acq - Fin

Date

1/1/1970

Investment Stage

Debt

Companies

Valuation

$99M

Total Funding

Note

Acq - Fin

Sources

LFE Capital Fund History

2 Fund Histories

LFE Capital has 2 funds, including LFE Capital I.

Closing Date

Fund

Fund Type

Status

Amount

Sources

12/31/2002

LFE Capital I

Expansions & Growth

Closed

$10M

1

LFE Capital II

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10

Closing Date

12/31/2002

Fund

LFE Capital I

LFE Capital II

Fund Type

Expansions & Growth

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Status

Closed

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Amount

$10M

Sources

1

10

LFE Capital Partners & Customers

1 Partners and customers

LFE Capital has 1 strategic partners and customers. LFE Capital recently partnered with Stifel Financial on January 1, 2022.

Date

Type

Business Partner

Country

News Snippet

Sources

1/27/2022

Partner

United States

Stifel Announces Alliance with LFE Capital

As part of this partnership , Stifel Financial Corp. is making a minority investment in LFE Capital and becoming an LP in its fourth fund .

1

Date

1/27/2022

Type

Partner

Business Partner

Country

United States

News Snippet

Stifel Announces Alliance with LFE Capital

As part of this partnership , Stifel Financial Corp. is making a minority investment in LFE Capital and becoming an LP in its fourth fund .

Sources

1

LFE Capital Team

4 Team Members

LFE Capital has 4 team members, including current Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Partner, Leslie Frecon.

Name

Work History

Title

Status

Leslie Frecon

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Partner

Current

Laurent Frecon

Chief Executive Officer

Current

Kellie Bauer

Chief Financial Officer

Current

Duane Harris

Chief Administrative Officer

Former

Name

Leslie Frecon

Laurent Frecon

Kellie Bauer

Duane Harris

Work History

Title

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Partner

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Administrative Officer

Status

Current

Current

Current

Former

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