The Year in Review

As the door closes on a strange and unpredictable 2020 and the cramped hands of historians get a few moments rest – the world collectively breathes a sigh of relief and is cautiously hopeful. Now, in the quiet of the holiday season, which both eases the strain of the year and magnifies just how different our zoom-infused, socially distanced, sanitized world has become, we reflect.

We know things don’t always go to plan – this is a saying we as a firm live by when approaching a new portfolio company. It is fitting that Stage launched its first committed capital fund in a year that certainly no one planned for.  After all, who plans for murder hornets?  (Which surprisingly were the shortest-lived disaster of 2020.)  

Much like in 2009, when he founded Stage, Dan Frydenlund anticipated a market correction in 2020 that would drive increased demand for Stage’s services. Before the shelter in place orders, the restaurant closures and mask requirements, he directed his focus to launching Stage Fund I.  With more than 20-years of restructuring experience and the addition of two seasoned founders, Krista Morgan and Ingrid Alongi as General Partners, Stage Fund II was underway.  A fund where we act as partners to our portfolio companies, empowering leadership to learn from their mistakes and find the strength to rebuild their businesses.  As the year progressed into chaos, we pushed forward, growing Stage from one founder, to three partners, to a team of twelve, each new member an embodiment of our core values; to be fearless, candid and adaptable, and most importantly to lead our portfolio companies with empathy as they face challenges. 

Our dedicated team made incredible strides towards our goal of helping orphaned companies who have lost their equity sponsor and need a fresh start. This year Stage acquired Needle and ThirdChannel, which we are actively working with to build a better and stronger future.  In a year ruled by fear of the unknown, we are heartened to know that Stage has made a positive impact.  Looking into the new year, we are eager to continue the work we have started.

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