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Business Observer Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021 1 week ago

Hurricane protection firm, after passing $70M in sales, finds buyer

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Brian Rist founded Storm Smart in 1996.

FORT MYERS  — Maryland private equity firm Rotunda Capital Partners has acquired a controlling interest in Storm Smart, one of the largest hurricane, storm and home protection companies in Florida.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Storm Smart, according to a statement, has worked with more than 80,000 homeowners since it was founded in 1996. The company, partially due to a new line of Storm Catcher wind abatement screens, in addition to other innovations, hit record sales of some $73 million in 2020, founder Brian Rist said in an interview with the Business Observer late last year. That’s up from $49 million in 2019. The company currently has 250 employees.

In the interview, looking back at 2020 and how the company was preparing for 2021, Rist said “To say 2020 was the craziest year of all time is putting it lightly."

“Early on we thought the phones were going to stop ringing. All of us thought there would be no business in March,” he said. “Then, all of the sudden the phones went on fire. Everyone was staying home and they wanted to do work in their house.”

“The problem was no longer how would we how would we stay in business,” Rist added, “but how would we be able to keep up with all the business.”

Rist will retain a significant equity interest in the company and continue to serve on its board of directors, the release states. John Boland, named CEO in 2018, will remain in that role.

“Storm Smart has been the leader in their category for the past 25 years,” Rotunda Partner Bob Wickham says in a statement. “They have revolutionized the storm protection industry through the development of innovative products and a history of consistently providing outstanding service. We are excited to partner with them in their next stage of growth.”

“This is a tremendous outcome for Storm Smart’s more than 250 employees who have been the real success of the business,” Rist says in a separate statement. “I believe with Rotunda’s partnership, we will be able to accelerate our expansion into new markets while retaining the strong, customer-focused culture Storm Smart is known for.”

Founded in 2009, Rotunda Capital Partners invests equity capital in established, lower middle market companies.  

 

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