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The $1B Lower Middle Market Holdco Built Around Customer Concentration, Diversity, and a Life of Purpose



My guest today is Tarrus Richardson, Founder And CEO of IMB Partners. Tarrus has 25 years of private equity experience, has invested over $500 million of capital, and completed over 20 lower middle market acquisitions.  

In this episode, you’ll hear why Tarrus and IMB decided to acquire companies with unusually high levels of customer concentration in the utility services sector, why diversity is a proven source of outperformance and competitive advantage in all their companies, and advice for anyone thinking of starting down a similar path in the lower middle market M & A space. 

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 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 the proven and the emerging owners, operators, investors, and advisors whose strategies and methods are being put to the test. 

If you enjoy the podcast, let us know by giving 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 start using Axial for free at

Discussion points:

  • LaFata and the Mid-Atlantic utility sector
  • IMB looks at outliers that others are not interested in
  • A Certified MBE business
  • Exelon Corp
  • Prioritizing diversity – the philosophy
  • Looking into the future – what changes, what remains
  • Lingering issues from supply chain and covid disruptions
  • Dreams of a $1B Holdco started at age 17
  • Staying within the lower middle market
  • Advice for someone starting today – narrow your focus, be at scale
  • Founders – selling should mean a change in responsibilities
  • The Q of E (Quality of Earnings) – sell-side vs. buy-side
  • Compliments on what Axial has built
  • Your first purchase may be difficult, but gets easier every time


IMB Partners

Tarrus Richardson LinkedIn

LaFata Website

Exelon Website

Peter Lehrman LinkedIn

Axial Website

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