For Infinity: What’s Beyond - 405 Magazine

For Infinity: What’s Beyond

Infinity Capital began a mere seven years ago and recently surpassed more than $1 billion in completed transactions.

Infinity Capital began a mere seven years ago and recently surpassed more than $1 billion in completed transactions. Strong growth projections continue, as the firm focuses on areas typically underserved by larger out-of-state investment banks.

Infinity Capital, the first full-service investment bank in the Oklahoma City metro area that began in 2016, has seen a five-year revenue compounded annual growth rate of 59%. 

To put that massive growth into perspective, that’s more than $1 billion in completed transactions in seven years bringing in about $800 million of capital from out-of-state investors investing in Oklahoma companies. The firm has closed more than 30 transactions across a variety of industries in that time, including the largescale sale of Dippin’ Dots to J&J Snack Foods Corp. for $222 million in May 2022.

And, as a firm looking to help business owners execute the sale, transition or expansion of their business, the founders of Infinity Capital say the Oklahoma City market – and the state of Oklahoma – is dramatically underserved, meaning they expect more significant growth in the years to come.

“We’ve obviously grown a lot in the last five years,” said Chris Lee, managing partner of Infinity Capital Partners. “I think we will continue to probably accelerate the pace of which we grow.”

He said the firm is looking to add staff, expand into different markets and keep pace with the significant growth they’ve seen and expect to see. 

“We’re still trying to figure out what that looks like when we grow up,” he said. “Whether that’s an office in different markets, whether we just have a business development person in different markets, where we have hired staff there, but I think that’s on our roadmap to sort of become more of a regional investment bank than just kind of an Oklahoma City investment bank.”

Growing up as Oklahoma City continues to grow up is one of the reasons for their success. Dallas and other cities with more sophisticated economies are saturated with firms similar to Infinity Capital, but the OKC-based firm is calling on clients who never knew the options they provide exist, said managing partner Evan Grace.

“There’s a lot of markets we believe, like Oklahoma City that are underserved from what we provide the business owners,” Grace said. “We have significant traction in these tertiary markets. But that’s just almost accidental referrals, and we’re going to focus on a strategy to become a regional investment bank to continue to serve because we feel like we’ve carved out a little bit of a niche.”

Being from this part of the country and serving those that are in this part of the country sets this group apart from the New York firms that often find their way in to bid to buy businesses, Managing Partner Bryan Vahlberg said. Vahlberg said not only making sure clients know their options but also that they create the optimal competitive market for their business to earn them the value deserved for their business. 

“Our role is to make sure that there are more eyeballs on that deal so that there’s competition that increases the value to the sellers,” he said. “That’s Investment Banking 101, but that’s what we’re doing. That’s why we benefit and that’s why our clients benefit because all of these eyeballs are competing for these deals, and they all want to not compete for the deals because that’s how they get a better deal.”

And, a lot of times, these deals are created that would not have happened because the business owner didn’t know they could create competition of their business.

“And that’s been sort of our ethos is primarily educating business owners that you can create competition,” he said. “We can help you create competition. You can do it yourself. It’s a very complex process. But we would suggest you obviously talk to us or another advisor like us, so that you are in that competition.”

Another reason for Infinity Capital’s growth is tied to the increase in capital being allocated to private equity, Vahlberg said. In 2000, assets under management for private equity was less than $700 billion, and now, that figure has grown to $11.71 trillion.

Obviously, that’s a significant increase and significant increase in capital to invest. Grace said businesses that wouldn’t be on the radar for investors to purchase now are – and they are getting calls they aren’t expecting and need help navigating options. 

“So a lot of instances, we’re getting a call because that business owner in Ponca City is getting called on directly by a lot of private equity funds,” he said. “Whereas a decade ago, they may be weren’t being called on and so didn’t think about selling or they had an idea of what selling could look like. They thought, ‘I’ll just sell it to my family.’ But just the more people who are these business owners are getting bombarded with outreach and so that is spurning conversation. It is a shift in how the universe is investing dollars. Twenty years ago, it was stocks and bonds.”

Increasing investment bank options works to rise all the boats in the private equity tide, Vahlberg said.

“We’re just a part of the ecosystem here,” Vahlberg said. “Only part of it. Our job, our hope, is to raise awareness across the ecosystem, because there’s different companies in different stages that need to understand this information, to better understand how to go exit their business when it’s time whether they’re a startup, a growing business, a mature business or a dying or struggling business. They all need to understand what those nuances and capital options are.”