Up-and-Coming SkyKnight Capital Makes Money, Not Press

SkyKnight Capital may not be the best-known private equity firm out there but that doesn’t mean they aren’t quietly going about the business of building a portfolio of exceptional companies.

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Founded by Matthew Ebbel and Mara Hunt in 2015, SkyKnight Capital was originally seeded with funds from a California family office. Since then, the San Francisco-based company expanded their operations to include more staff members and now manage investments for nearly a dozen prominent institutional family offices and endowments – including those of the Crowley family.

SkyKnight is not a firm that seeks out the spotlight. They don’t discuss strategic partnerships with press release promises of infinite returns or publicly announce splashy successes on deals done in the past. Managing partner Matthew Ebbel and COO Mara Hunt may contribute capital to the rockstar Silicon Valley start-ups that are today’s society darlings but they do not make much ado about nothing.

Conversely, the firm favors a flexible, long-term approach in sectors that aren’t subject to the whims of economic ebb and flow. They list healthcare, TMT, transportation & logistics, and business sector services as among their industry specializations and tend to make equity commitments that range between $10 million to $200 million

SkyKnight most recently partnered with Clearlake Capital in December 2018 to acquire symplr – a provider of healthcare governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. A recent press release from their portfolio company announced their purchase of API Healthcare. Backed by the private equity firms, the company will be able to roll-out the only fully-integrated GRC and human capital management platform on the market.

“We are excited to join with API to set a new vision and standard for healthcare GRC,” said Rick Plezcko, CEO, and Tres Thompson, COO & CFO of symplr. “With the investment and support from Clearlake and SkyKnight, we are well-positioned to execute our growth strategy and help providers and payers meet regulatory compliance requirements and increase operational efficiency.”

SkyKnight staff also speak to how symplr’s acquisition of API dovetails with their own plans for future growth. “In pursuit of our buy and build strategy in healthcare GRC, the partnership created by symplr, Clearlake and SkyKnight has been exceptional as we continue to build a best-in-class SaaS platform,” said Jordan Milich and Claude Burton of SkyKnight.

“The addition of API’s HCM capabilities enhances symplr’s leadership in leveraging technology to drive efficiencies and improve care. The company’s vision of growth both organically and through its strategic M&A program is consistent with our philosophy of entrepreneurial ownership, and we are delighted to be symplr’s long-term partner,” they added.

Among SkyKnight’s other assets are Whitewater Express Car Wash, a chain of car wash operators based in Houston; Medvet Medical & Cancer Center for Pets, a chain of 21 vet hospitals; and Watco Cos LLC, a transportation company that purchased 20 bulk railroad terminals from Kinder Morgan in 2016.