02/12/2022

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Team of Investment Industry Veterans Launches o15 Capital Partners, a Mission-Driven Alternatives Investment Firm

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 8:00 AM CDT|Updated: 28 minutes ago

o15 combines capital with community to build a new model for supporting women and minority entrepreneurs

ATLANTA, June 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Finance veterans Colin Meadows, Kenneth Saffold, and Brian Morris, today announced the official launch of o15 Capital Partners (“o15”), a mission-driven alternatives investment firm that will provide capital to companies led by and serving undercapitalized entrepreneurs and communities. o15 seeks to provide institutions the opportunity to invest in a more diverse economy through credit and equity investments in lower-middle-market businesses in the United States, with a particular emphasis on businesses led by women or minorities. Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ), a global investment management firm with $1.6 trillion in assets under management (as of March 31, 2022), is a strategic partner and will serve as an investor in the firm’s o15 Emerging America Credit Opportunities Fund LP (the “Fund”).

From left to right: Colin Meadows, Kenneth Saffold, and Brian Morris(PRNewswire)

The founders draw from more than 80 years of combined experience at financial firms such as Invesco, BlackRock, and CapitalOne, and bring extensive and complementary investment management experience to o15. Kenneth and Brian have worked together at predecessor firms since 2015 with a shared passion for social and economic justice. Since 2011, the firm’s founders have committed $1.9 billion in more than 50 transactions directly related to o15’s investment strategy. The team collectively draws upon a robust set of relationships to source proprietary deal flow, including established networks at their legacy employers, strong connectivity to diverse communities, financial sponsors, intermediaries, and management teams.

“The existing structure of capital markets continues to challenge historically disadvantaged communities, with more than a third of minority entrepreneurs citing the lack of access to capital as their primary business concern1,” said Colin Meadows, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of o15. “We founded o15 to address that challenge. The name o15 is derived from Special Field Order 15, which famously promised ’40 acres and a mule’ to former slaves during the Civil War. For us, it stands for this idea that to fully participate in capitalism you need capital, which was understood over 150 years ago and remains true today.”

“Women- and minority-owned firms control only 1.4 % of the over $82 trillion managed by the US asset management industry2, combined with the historical underinvestment in diverse-led companies and communities, have created a supply-demand imbalance,” said Kenneth Saffold, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of o15. “o15 will invest exclusively in opportunities in the United States, with a particular focus on the Southeast given that this region has the largest share of Black and Hispanic-owned businesses, and creates a distinct advantage to working with businesses in this region3.”

“We’re pleased to be an anchor investor in o15’s first Fund, which will help meet the growing needs of entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs,” said Marty Flanagan, President and CEO of Invesco.  “This week is Juneteenth, which underscores the importance of our commitment to diversity and inclusion at every level of our global organization and within the communities in which we operate. Our support of o15 is part of our broad-based effort to continuously strengthen this commitment.”

o15 will empower entrepreneurs and communities of color through financial support and network building. The Fund will have the capability to invest across the capital structure and prioritize investments that have a disproportionate impact on minority communities, in the healthcare, education, business, and consumer services sectors where the team has prior investing experience. These companies will be led, owned, operated, or managed by women and/or members of historically undercapitalized ethnic minority groups, and/or providing a product or service that benefits those communities in particular.

“The diversity of the leadership team enables the firm to identify strong investment opportunities in undercapitalized markets that others may overlook,” added Brian Morris, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of o15. “o15 is well poised to capitalize on its sourcing, underwriting, diversity, geography, and will focus on delivering strong and consistent risk-adjusted returns and societal impact.”

1 Small Business Credit Survey, Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta (and others), 2021 report on firms owned by people of color.
2 Forbes online, “Want to Invest in Asset Managers Owned and Led by Women and Minorities? Here’s How,” Jan. 12, 2022.
3 Small Business Credit Survey, Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta (and others), 2021 report on firms owned by people of color.

About o15 Capital Partners

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, o15 is an alternatives investment firm with a mission to provide growth capital to companies led by and serving undercapitalized entrepreneurs and communities. Established in 2021 by Colin Meadows, Kenneth Saffold, and Brian Morris, the founders bring extensive executive management and investment experience, networks, and resources to build a more diverse economy through credit and equity investments in lower-middle-market businesses in the United States. For more information, visit https://www.o15.com/

Prior to co-founding o15, Colin was a Senior Managing Director with Invesco where he served for 15 years. At Invesco, Colin held a variety of business and functional leadership roles including Head of Invesco Private Markets, Head of Invesco Global Institutional, Head of Invesco Digital Ventures, and Chief Administrative Officer. Colin also served as a director on the boards of Invesco Mortgage Capital (NYSE: IVR), Invesco’s publicly traded agency REIT, and Invesco Van Kampen closed-end funds.

Before joining Invesco, Colin worked at GE Capital, Wells Fargo, and McKinsey & Company. Colin earned his BA in Economics and English Literature from Andrews University and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Prior to co-founding o15, Kenneth Saffold was a Managing Director and a member of BlackRock’s Global Credit Platform where he was responsible for originating and executing private credit investment opportunities across the United States out of the group’s $30 billion in AUM. Kenneth also served as an Investment Committee Member for the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund, a $1 billion multi-private asset class fund focused on making investments in underserved ethnic group businesses and communities. He was also on the Senior Leadership Team of the BlackRock Atlanta Office.

Before joining BlackRock, Kenneth held roles with GE Capital and Goldman Sachs. Kenneth earned his BA from Morehouse College and an MBA from The Wharton School.

Prior to co-founding o15, Brian was the head of healthcare banking for BankUnited where he led origination and execution of healthcare financings as well as overseeing the bank’s healthcare portfolio activities.  Before BankUnited, Brian was a Senior Managing Director at CapitalOne where he held various roles including sponsor finance team lead, head of healthcare originations, head of senior bank loan originations, and had responsibility for all healthcare cash flow underwriting and portfolio management.

Brian also held similar positions with Capital Source, GE Capital, and Bank of America. Brian earned his BBA from The George Washington University and his MBA from Emory University.

Media Contact: Jeaneen Terrio, 917.714.0358, jeaneen@o15.com

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