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Aerospace

Charleston equity firm invests in digital aerospace company

Aerospace
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Liberty Hall Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests in businesses that serve the aerospace and defense industries, is growing with its seventh acquisition.

Headquartered at 200 Meeting St. in downtown Charleston, Liberty Hall was founded in New York City in 2011 and opened a Lowcountry office three years ago. Soon after, the company shifted its home base and 2/3 of its workforce to South Carolina.

The company recently acquired Comply365 Holdings Inc., a Beloit, Wis., company that focuses on using digital tools to get rid of bulky, paper flight manuals for pilots, among other aerospace and rail related solutions.

Rowan Taylor, Liberty Hall’s founding and managing partner, said there were three key components to the relocation, including a better quality of life for employees and a desire to get out of the New York City mindset.

The most important lure was Charleston’s accessibility.

“As you look at locations in the Southeast where you can find an optimal combination of a business-friendly environment, airport access and a general business community, Charleston has it all,” Taylor said. “Also given our focus of aerospace and the defense industry, you have Boeing and Joint Base Charleston.”

Through its work, Liberty Hall identifies middle and lower-middle market aerospace businesses that could serve segments or sub-segments within the industry, Taylor said. The firm has a research-driven process to identify individual segments and the businesses that serve them.

With companies that build parts for the planes, assemble the planes, finance them and more, Taylor added that Liberty Hall invests in the businesses that do everything but fly the planes — in other words, the airlines.

“What we’re seeking to do is ultimately provide those businesses, once we acquire them, the human, financial and intellectual capital to be able to grow in size, but more importantly, to add capabilities and diversify their customer and platform mix,” Taylor said.

With its recent investment in Comply365, Liberty Hall has upped its acquisition tally to seven platforms. Of those seven, three completed a total of nine more add-on acquisitions.

“Ongoing digitalization in the aviation and rail markets is driving demand for tailored, efficiency-centric software solutions, and Comply365 is a leading solution provider solving core pain points across the entire operational content and compliance management process,” Taylor said.

Following the acquisition, Comply365’s management team, including CEO Tom Samuel, will continue in their roles.

“We are excited to partner with Liberty Hall in order to accelerate implementation of our strategic product vision and execute on our key go-to-market growth plans,” Samuel said in a news release. “We look forward to leveraging Liberty Hall’s resources, relationships and global reach within the aerospace industry to continue to bring critical operational content and compliance management solutions to our customers.”

During 2020, Liberty Hall’s team of investment professionals and operating advisors has grown to 30 members, and Taylor said he is in the process of growing the employee base even further next year.

Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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