Wind Point Partners Named In Inc.’s 2020 Private Equity 50 List

November 2020

Annual roundup of founder-friendly private equity firms that treat entrepreneurs as partners

Chicago, Illinois, November 10, 2020 – Inc. today announced its second annual Private Equity 50 list, honoring the most founder-friendly private equity firms that help founder-led businesses thrive, even in the face of unprecedented challenges. The final list recognizes 50 firms that entrepreneurs can trust, collaborate with on new strategies, and look to help in financing acquisitions during these uncertain times.

Wind Point has been focused on partnering with entrepreneurs and family business owners dating back to the firm’s founding in 1984. Since then, the firm has completed more than 100 platform acquisitions and 300 add-on acquisitions across nine private equity funds. Wind Point was an early pioneer in the forming of a network of executive partners to work closely with the firm on due diligence, value creation planning and execution, and board governance. Today, Wind Point’s network of executives, referred to as the firm’s Executive Advisor Partner (“EAP”) program, consists of over 40 active, closely-aligned and highly successful executives who play a key role in bolstering the firm’s reputation as a preferred partner to founders and business owners.

One such example is Chris Hornung, who has a unique perspective on Wind Point as first the founder of Pacific Cycle, a business in which Wind Point made an investment, and later as a member of the firm’s EAP program. Founded in 1982 and based in Madison, Wisconsin, Pacific Cycle designed and produced bicycles and other recreational products under brands like Schwinn and Mongoose. Wind Point acquired a majority stake in the company in 1998 and supported Pacific Cycle in its pursuit of a variety of strategic initiatives, including an acquisition strategy as the industry was undergoing significant consolidation. In approximately five years under Wind Point’s ownership and Chris’ leadership, Pacific Cycle’s revenue more than quadrupled through a combination of organic growth and three strategic acquisitions. Furthermore, the company’s margins increased nearly 300 bps while its customer base became much more diversified. In 2004, the company was sold to Dorel Industries Ltd., a publicly-traded consumer products company, where it continued to thrive.

Chris commented, “By the time we achieved our value creation plan and exited Pacific Cycle, the company had undergone a significant transformation. We were a much stronger organization and had become the largest seller of bicycles in the U.S. As the company’s founder, I viewed Wind Point as the right cultural fit given their executive-oriented approach and focus on founder- and family-run businesses. Wind Point helped us build capabilities to reach certain goals we could not achieve on our own.” He added, “After our shared success with Pacific Cycle, I was able to extend my partnership with the Wind Point team by joining the EAP program. It has been a very rewarding partnership that has lasted more than 20 years, and I get tremendous joy having the opportunity to advise other founders as they seek to navigate the important decisions that come with a new financial partner and growth strategy.”

Wind Point EAPs possess significant senior leadership experience in the firm’s three targeted industries of consumer products, industrial products, and business services, having held various roles across many of North America’s largest and most successful private and public businesses. Through the firm’s EAP network, the Wind Point team has access to senior executives covering 76% of S&P 500 companies relevant to the firm’s three sectors. The breadth of this extended network serves as a significant advantage as related to due diligence activity and the sourcing of new investments and executive relationships.

Introduced in 2019, the 50 Founder-Friendly Private Equity Firms list quickly established itself as one of Inc.’s most resourceful franchises. It has become a go-to guide for entrepreneurs who want to grow their companies while retaining an ownership stake. To compile this year’s Top 50 list, Inc. reviewed transaction volumes and then went straight to the source: entrepreneurs who have sold to private equity. Founders filled out a questionnaire and participated in reference calls to describe their experiences partnering with private equity firms, including data on how their portfolio companies have grown during these partnerships.

The November 2020 issue of Inc. magazine is available online now at and via newsstands as of October 27. To see the complete Top 50 list, go to:

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