MiddleGround Capital Announces Opening of European Office – MiddleGround Capital
January 23, 2023

MiddleGround Capital Announces Opening of European Office

LEXINGTON, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MiddleGround Capital (“MiddleGround”), an operationally focused private equity firm that makes control investments in middle market B2B industrial and specialty distribution companies, today announced the launch of its European office, alongside hires to lead the new office, as well as several key executive level promotions. The firm’s European strategy launched January 3, 2023, and is based in Amsterdam. Additionally, the promotions are part of MiddleGround’s strategic plan to expand its operating capabilities to meet the growing needs of global investors and portfolio investments.

New Hires to Spearhead the Ramp-Up of the Firm’s European Efforts

MiddleGround has hired Alexander van der Have, Anthony Denaix and Robert Jonkers to lead its European strategy. They report directly to John Stewart, MiddleGround’s Founding Partner. The firm’s European leadership team brings extensive experience across investing, business development and operations.

Alex van der Have, will serve as Managing Director and Head of the Investment Team. Van der Have joins the firm with extensive investment experience. His most recent role he was part of the management team running the Venture / Growth Capital & Private Equity business at Ingka Investments (part of IKEA group). Prior to that, he also served in various senior investment management roles in private equity and venture capital firms. Throughout his career he served as a board member in several companies active in mobility, additive manufacturing, logistics, financial services and cleantech markets. Van der Have holds a degree in Corporate & Commercial Law from Erasmus University Rotterdam in addition to his MBA from IE Business School.

Anthony Denaix, will serve as Managing Director and Head of Business Development. Denaix joins MiddleGround with a wealth of experience in business development and private equity client solutions from his time at both Orbit Partners, where he served as Managing Director of Global Business Development and Origination, as well as at GLG, where he held numerous leadership positions focused in EMEA. He also held a position as engagement manager at Calash, a full service energy consultancy providing strategy, business advisory and M&A services to private equity, banks, credit funds and corporates. Denaix holds a MSc from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate school as well as a Masters in Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris.

Robert Jonkers, will serve as Managing Director and Head of Operations. Jonkers brings a unique combination of hands-on operational experience with leadership roles in McKinsey’s supply chain practice, where he focused on elevating supply chain organizations and networks to unlock the strategic potential as a critical enabler of overall business performance. Prior to his time at McKinsey, Jonkers held senior positions at Nature’s Pride and PON amongst others. Over the course of his career, he has developed an invaluable skillset across verticals and his deep knowledge about operational value creations is an ideal addition to MiddleGround’s Operating team in Europe.
The European Team will be comprised of other Senior Management, including Brandon Hamel, who was a Senior Associate in North America and has been promoted to Vice President of the Transaction Team as well as Sarah Varghese, who was an Associate in North America and has been promoted to Senior Associate of the Transaction Team. Both Hamel and Varghese have accepted a rotational assignment in Amsterdam.

“We have already established a strong foothold in Europe, and the official launch of our European office marks the next stage of growth for our firm,” said John Stewart, MiddleGround’s Founding Partner. “MiddleGround Capital is putting boots on the ground in Europe, and our three new team members – Anthony, Robert and Alex – will lead the European Team. I look forward to working closely with them as we expand our efforts to ensure we replicate our success in North America and apply our operational expertise to transform industrial companies across Europe.”

The firm has hired a total of 15 professionals to be part of the European Team. MiddleGround Capital has an established track record of investing in companies with a European presence. By opening an office in Amsterdam, the firm is able to further capitalize on its existing relationships in Europe, access the region’s industrial manufacturing hubs, leverage the strong talent base locally, and seamlessly meet the needs of institutional investors across continental Europe and the United Kingdom.

“I know I speak for the full European Team when I say that we are thrilled to be on board and are ready to start to really ramp-up our expansion efforts and enhance our European presence,” said Denaix. “We all share MiddleGround Capital’s entrepreneurial spirit, and look forward to finding ways to capitalize on the firm’s existing groundwork already in place across Europe.”

Continuation of Existing Well-Established Culture and Investment Focus

As the firm continues to invest in its team to drive long-term success, MiddleGround Capital has nearly doubled its employee base over the past year, increasing from a team of 55, as of December 2021, to 100 employees as of December 2022. The firm has also maintained its commitment to diversity with 46% of employees being minority or women individuals.

Furthermore, the new office in Amsterdam is a key location that allows MiddleGround to enhance its European efforts considering the city is in the heart of the firm’s key markets, while also ensuring a cultural fit given a shared prioritization of holistic individual wellbeing and work-life balance. With significant experience partnering with market-leading companies and building transformational platform businesses, MiddleGround is well-positioned to leverage its established success in the United States and expand further into Europe. The European industrial sector is undergoing similar macroeconomic changes and secular manufacturing tailwinds as the United States market, resulting in similar pockets of opportunity.

About MiddleGround Capital

MiddleGround Capital is a private equity firm based in Lexington, KY with over $3.3 billion of Assets Under Management. MiddleGround makes control equity investments in middle market B2B industrial and specialty distribution businesses. MiddleGround works with its portfolio companies to create value through a hands-on operational approach and partners with its management teams to support long-term growth strategies. For more information, please visit: www.middlegroundcapital.com.