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Leaving mid-market PE to become an independent PE sponsor


My guest today is Nathan Chandrasekaran, Co-Founder and Partner at Columbia River Partners (CRP). We start by discussing the impetus that pushed Nathan to leave behind a comfortable and prestigious career path in NYC at middle market private equity firm TZP Group. From there, we hear all about the entrepreneurial risks, opportunities and considerations associated with building an independent private equity sponsor.

You’ll hear about the point at which Nathan decided to start his own firm, advice for others considering this type of career move, and hear Nathan’s very detailed answers to some questions around the processes his team has established for deal sourcing, raising LP capital, and generally defining priorities at CRP. Discussion points include:

  • Nathan’s background and decision to leave
  • Nathan’s thoughts on how to go out on your own
  • Developing investment themes and criteria at CRP
  • Deal-by-deal structure vs. fund model considerations
  • Prioritizing new deals vs add-ons in 2023
  • Raising LP capital and the terms that matter – economics, governance, reference
  • Previous and current approaches to winning deals
  • Seller financing, avoiding long difficult earnouts, creating a larger incentive pool
  • Talent and building the team at CRP

CRP now has multiple companies under its umbrella including Sagetech Avionics, Tinifiber, and Business Solution Partners. The firm focuses on industries like Hardware Components/Manufacturing, Hardware/Software Distribution, Industrial Technology, and IT Services – all in North America. CRP is passionate about people and introducing technology to traditional business models.

This podcast is produced by the team at Axial ( Axial is an online platform that makes it easy for small business owners to confidentially research and connect with top-ranked M&A advisors and vetted capital partners. I am your host, Peter Lehrman, Founder and CEO of Axial. In every episode, we explore the vast world of small business M&A, interviewing both proven and emerging owners, operators, investors, and advisors whose strategies and methods are being put to the test.

If you enjoy the podcast, give us a review on Apple or Spotify. If you’d like to go deeper, head to, where there are dozens of recorded Axial member roundtables, downloadable tools for dealmakers, quarterly league-table rankings, and lots of other useful information. If you’re a business owner, professional acquirer, or M&A advisor, you can get started using Axial for free at

Click the link below to join the podcast newsletter list, where we’ll notify you each time a new episode gets published.

Subscribe to the Masters in Small Business M&A Podcast


Nathan Chandrasekaran LinkedIn

Columbia River Partners

Peter Lehrman LinkedIn

Axial Website

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