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Top 20 Lower Middle Market Investment Banks [Q1]


We are excited to release Axial’s Q1 2019 Lower Middle Market League Tables.

Axial league tables take into account three main characteristics: client quality, buy-side targeting, and process effectiveness (for detailed methodology, see the end of this post).

For CEOs and dealmakers in the lower middle market, these league tables are a useful barometer to measure how an investment bank ranks against its peers, and how effective it is in financing and selling lower middle market businesses in various sectors.

767 investment banks brought deals to market using Axial in Q1. 

Here are the top 20.

Top 20 Investment Banks


Rank Firm HQ Score
1 Hilliard Lyons KY .99
2 Peakstone Group IL .98
3 Evangeline Securities LA .97
4 Osage Advisors CT .96
5 FourBridges Capital TN .95
6 Tully & Holland MA .95
7 SDR Ventures CO .94
8 RLS Associates DE .94
9 Solganick & Co. CA .93
10 FirePower Capital ON .93
11 Spektrum Capital Advisors PA .93
12 Capello Global CA .93
13 Strategic Finance CO .92
14 Baker Tilly Capital IL .92
15 martinwolf M&A Advisors AZ .92
16 League Park Advisors OH .91
17 Roadmap Advisors VA .91
18 Loop Capital Markets NY .91
19 Allied Millennial Partners NY .91
20 Insight Advisory Partners IL .91


Honorable Mentions

Client Quality

Firm HQ
CSG Partners NY
Objective Capital Partners CA
Harbinger Ventures Group NY
CCC Investment Banking BC
Cascadia Capital WA


Buyer Targeting

Firm HQ
Capital Research Partners CT
Triangle Capital NY
Lantern Advisors GA
Inverness Advisors CA
Spencer Clarke NY


Process Effectiveness

Firm HQ
CTX Capital TX
41 North CA
Mariner Capital Advisors KS
The London Manhatten Co. NY
Bryant Park Capital WA


About the Top 20



“Hilliard Lyons Investment Banking employs a full-service model that brings “Wall Street” resources and experience to emerging growth and middle market companies. With offices in Louisville and Cincinnati, our bankers specialize in advising clients in M&A, capital raising, and business valuation across the country. Hilliard Lyons Investment Banking is a division of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC, a full-service wealth management firm with over $50 billion in client assets, headquartered in Louisville, KY.” Visit Hilliard Lyons’ Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Financial Services, Technology, Energy & Utilities, Business Services, Distribution, Industrials, Healthcare, Real Estate


“The Peakstone Group is an investment bank that specializes in mergers and acquisitions advisory and capital raising for middle market clients. Our team is comprised of senior investment banking professionals and operating executives, all of whom have decades of experience and have executed hundreds of transactions totaling billions of dollars.” Visit Peakstone’s Profile


Industries: Business Services, Consumer & Retail, Distribution, Financial Services, Food & Beverage, Health & Wellness, Healthcare, Industrials & Manufacturing, Metals & Mining, Mortgage Banking, Paper, Plastics & Packaging, Real Estate, Technology & Data Services, Transportation & Logistics



“Evangeline Securities provides investment banking services to lower middle market companies across a broad spectrum of industries. With offices in Lafayette and New Orleans, LA, the firm offers corporate finance, securities placement, M&A and restructuring expertise. Evangeline professionals bring their collective decades of experience to each assignment, having raised institutional capital and performed advisory services for deal sizes ranging from $10 million to over $100 million.” Visit Evangeline Securities’ Profile


Industries: Consumer & Retail, Energy, Gaming & Leisure, Healthcare, Industrial Services, Manufacturing, Technology, IT Services, Real Estate, Business Services



“Founded in 2001, Osage Advisors is a boutique Investment Banking firm dedicated to helping business owners receive the maximum value from the sale of their companies. We use traditional investment banking techniques, typically not available to owners of closely-held businesses to create a competitive environment that delivers multiple options and the best prices for our clients.”  Visit Osage Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Business Services, Distribution, Industrials, Health Care, Technology


“FourBridges Capital is an investment banking firm that serves business owners across the Southeast. We act as the interface between our clients and the capital markets, helping them to identify potential investors or acquisition targets and successfully complete transactions. Our senior professionals draw on both expertise in investment banking and experience as C-level executives, and they have spent most of their careers serving the middle market.” Visit FourBridges Capital’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing & Industrial Services, Consumer Goods & Services, Media, Healthcare, Technology, Financial Services, Real Estate, Business Services, Business Services, Distribution, Industrials, Health Care, Technology


“Tully & Holland is a boutique investment banking firm founded in 1992 that provides financial advisory services to the consumer sector. Tully & Holland consistently ranks among the nation’s most active investment banks in the Food & Beverage, Direct Marketing and Retail sectors. The firm offers merger and acquisition advisory, management buyouts, private placements and valuation services. The firm focuses on the middle market and typically handles transactions between $10 million and $200 million.” Visit Tully & Hollands’ Profile


Industries: Manufacturing & Industrial Services, Consumer Goods & Services, Media, Healthcare, Technology, Financial Services, Real Estate, Business Services, Business Services, Distribution, Industrials, Health Care, Technology


“SDR Ventures is a Denver-based investment banking firm serving private business owners in the lower middle market, including companies with values up to $300 million. The SDR Ventures approach of THINKING LIKE OWNERS helps businesses maximize their value. Whether owners are looking to sell a business, buy a business or raise debt or equity, SDR is committed to helping them succeed.” Visit SDR Venture’s Profile


Industries: Consumer Products, Agriculture, Health & Wellness, Food & Beverage, Distribution, Manufacturing, Business Services, Healthcare, Technology


“RLS Associates is a middle market private investment banking firm specializing in Mergers, Acquisitions, Divestitures and Strategic Management Consulting services to middle market companies with sales of $1M to $100M.RLS serves a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, service and technology. The common theme to most assignments is that at least one of the parties to each transaction will be closely-held business.” Visit RLS Associates’ Profile


Industries: Industrials, Manufacturing, Business Services, Technology, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Materials


“We are an independent investment bank and M&A advisory firm founded in 2009 that specializes in the Technology and Digital Media industry sectors. Our professionals have completed over $20 billion in transactions to date and have experience in investment banking, private equity and capital markets from leading firms. We are experts in completing complex mergers and acquisitions transactions of most shapes and sizes including strategic mergers, private equity, and majority sale transactions.” Visit Solganick and Co.’s Profile


Industries: Software, IT Services, Tech-enabled Services, Healthcare IT, Digital Media, eCommerce, Financial Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Infrastructure, Cybersecurity


“FirePower Capital advises and invests in Canada’s entrepreneurs. We guide promising mid-market companies to complete mission-critical transactions such as acquiring a competitor or selling to a strategic buyer. Typical deal size is between $5m and $250m. We also lend between $1-20m in the form of venture debt, to fast-growing companies with >$2m of revenues. Venture debt is beneficial to them because it avoids the dilution hit of an equity round; or, if bank debt is unavailable or insufficient, venture debt plugs that gap.” Visit Firepower Capital’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Consumer Goods, Industrials, Materials, Energy, Technology, Financial Services, Retail, Business Services, Distribution, Healthcare, Consumer Services, Media, Life Sciences, Telecommunications



“We are a U.S. based boutique Investment Bank with a global reach, that specializes in providing tailored financial solutions to North America and Asia-Pacific based organizations. Founder Venkat Krishnan is a US based Investment Banker, Management Consultant & Finance Executive, with over 25+ years of experience in the Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Life Sciences and Technology sectors, with an international consulting background.” Visit Spektrum Capital Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Financial Services, Technology, Business Services, Life Sciences


“Our mission, simply stated, is to help talented management teams leading companies with strong fundamentals to best meet their needs for capital and strategic growth. To this end, we incorporate the following philosophy into our daily activities: We customize financing solutions without “pushing” products or services to fulfill each client’s unique needs within the context of its strategic plan. We are fierce advocates for our clients and structure transactions to maximize their valuations and best interests.” Visit Capello Global’s Profile


Industries: Business Services, Consumer Products & Services, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Real Estate, Gaming, Hospitality, Technology, Media & Telecommunications


“Strategic Finance is a team of senior investment bankers dedicated to guiding expansion stage and middle market companies in their growth and exit plans. We offer private placement of debt and equity, negotiate mergers and acquisitions and arrange strategic partnerships for clients in a wide range of industries. We also offer the attention and focus of a boutique firm, with experienced professionals handling every transaction.” Visit Strategic Finance’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Business Services, Industrial Automation, Transportation, Enterprise Software, IT Services & Consulting, Cloud Hosting, Digital Media


“Baker Tilly Capital, LLC is a boutique investment bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions, capital sourcing, project finance, and corporate finance advisory services. The Baker Tilly Capital team is led by investment bankers and corporate finance specialists that have meaningful experience advising clients in evaluating strategic and financial alternatives, creating and executing sell side and buy side M&A strategies, and identifying cost-effective financing alternatives and sources. Backed by Baker Tilly Virchow Kause, LLP, a national accounting and advisory firm with significant industry expertise, Baker Tilly Capital offers value added insights before, during and after the transaction.” Visit Baker Tilly Capital’s Profile


Industries: Agriculture, Automotive, Construction, Education, Energy, Financial Services, Food & Beverage, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Distribution, Technology, Real Estate, Retail


“Located in Silicon Valley, martinwolf is a leading M&A Advisory firm focusing exclusively on the mid-market IT industry. With our diverse staff of principals and senior bankers, many of whom are themselves experienced owner-operators and technology executives from around the globe, we are uniquely poised to advise our clients on their many opportunities to create value and drive continued success. Throughout our 21 years as a firm, we have completed more than 160 middle-market IT transactions and sold eight divisions of Fortune 500 companies across over 20 different countries, demonstrating unparalleled experience in the IT Services, IT Supply Chain, IT-Enabled Business Process Outsourcing and Software as a Service (SaaS) space.” Visit martinwolf M&A Advisors’ Profile


Industries:IT Services, IT Supply Chain, IT-Enabled Business Process Outsourcing, Software as a Service (SaaS)


“​League Park is a boutique investment bank that professionally and ethically advises clients on strategies aimed to maximize shareholder value. We assist middle market companies with transactions that generate value through mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, capital raising, structured finance, and outsourced corporate development. With a unique blend of investment banking, corporate development, private equity, corporate finance, and operational experience, our professionals have executed more than 500 transactions across this broad spectrum of industries.” Visit League Park’s Profile


Industries: Business Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer Products, Specialty Distribution, Technology, Transportation & Logistics


“Roadmap Advisors is a boutique investment banking firm providing acquisition search, sell-side and advisory services. For sellers, we leverage our intimate understanding of the buy-side perspective to extract full value in the sale of our clients’ companies. Our corporate advisory service helps clients identify pockets of opportunity and create significant value within their operations.” Visit Roadmap Advisor’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Consumer Goods, Industrials, Materials, Technology, Financial Services, Retail, Business Services, Distribution, Healthcare, Consumer Services, Media, Life Sciences, Telecommunications


“Loop Capital is a full-service investment bank, brokerage, asset manager and advisory firm that provides creative capital solutions for corporate, governmental and institutional entities across the globe. Our reputation for integrity and service, coupled with our track record of success, has allowed us to serve an expanding number of clients from coast to coast. With 23 retail offices, a rapidly growing asset management business, 15 top-ranked research analysts, a global institutional distribution network, and a strong partnership with Bank of China and its immense balance sheet, it has allowed Loop Capital to create a powerful and growing global financial services firm.” Visit Loop Capital’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Consumer Goods, Industrials, Materials, Energy, Technology, Financial Services, Retail, Business Services, Distribution, Healthcare, Consumer Services, Media, Life Sciences, Telecommunications, Real Estate


“Allied Millennial Partners is an independent financial services company headquartered at Three World Financial Center in New York City. In 2016, we made rigorous advancements in technology, training, and compliance in order to deliver an elite client experience. Our services range from individual equity investments, total portfolio solutions, insurance, and investment banking. Our dedicated professionals utilize their financial expertise to provide clients with the utmost service that aligns with their needs. Partnered with Millennial Advisers, we are the next generation of independent advisors.” Visit Allied Millennial’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Consumer Goods, Industrials, Technology, Business Services, Distribution, Healthcare, Consumer Services.


“Insight Advisory Partners advises companies in the food industry across all aspects of corporate and financial strategy. We leverage our broad base of experience to provide actionable insights to strategic growth initiatives, capital raising strategies, acquisitions and divestitures, retained search, due diligence, pre-and post-merger integration, turnarounds and financial restructuring.” Visit Insight Advisory Partner’s Profile


Industries: Consumer Goods, Consumer Services, Food Distribution, Food Retail, Food Technology, Agriculture

League Table Methodology


Unlike traditional league table structures that have remained the same for years, with firms being assessed against deal volume and deal dollar volume, Axial league tables surface data on investment banks that reveal their selectivity, the relative attractiveness of their client’s businesses, and their overall sell-side process efficacy.

The investment banks at the top of the Axial League Table are leaders across the following three categories:

  • Client Quality: Buy-side demand for engagements represented by the advisor
  • Buy-Side Targeting: The advisor’s ability to balance selectivity, accuracy, and breadth when identifying potential buyers
  • Process Effectiveness: The advisor’s ability to generate positive outcomes for their client

Axial League Table data incorporates and includes:

  • Overall Deal Relevance: How many buy-side mandates (financial and strategic) align with the advisor’s engagements.
  • Process Selectivity: How broad or narrow are the advisors’ sell-side processes relative to their peers?
  • Signed NDAs: How many buyers indicate interest in each of the advisor’s engagements, measured by the number of signed NDAs.
  • Buyer Referrals: Feedback we receive from buyers regarding the manner in which the advisor manages their processes.
  • Closed Deals: How many deals has the advisor closed where they involved one or more Axial buyers in the process?


Together, the Top 20 investment banks are those who work with the most in-demand clients; balance breadth, selectivity, and accuracy in the buyers they engage; and generate the largest number of positive outcomes for their clients.


About Axial

Axial is the trusted deal platform serving the lower middle market ($5-$250M TEV).

Over 3,400 advisory firms and 1,500 corporate and financial buyers have joined Axial to efficiently connect with relevant capital partners, source actionable deals, and build out new relationships.

Visit the Member Closed Deals page to see selected transactions that have been sourced and closed via Axial.

Learn More      Request a Demo

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